Morning Ed: Business {2017.07.24.Su}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    1. I have never been tempted to spend money on a fermium product. I don’t play fermium games and when I used dating apps, I stuck on the free stuff and did not purchase the bells and whistles.

    2. The Apple-Spotify thing is an interesting antitrust case. On the one hand, Apple is denying consumers a choice and this is the stuff antitrust is meant to combat. On the other hand, the IPhone is an Apple product and companies should have a right to control what goes on their product.

    3. The Diversity article brings across my quip on economics being the study of humans finding ways to be the shits they want to be so you might as well let them.

    4. I wonder if audiobooks are popular because there is a bias against reading. To sit down and read a book takes dedicated time and effort. An audiobook can be put on while driving or working or otherwise in the background. It is almost like background noise to keep loneliness at bay. I love being able to sit down with a book because it shows free time. One of the reasons I might somewhat struggle with my weight and career is I have defiance about working long days and then using my little free time to jock it up at the gym.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Ugh, really dude?

      What is wrong with “jocking it up” at the gym?

      I’m a single dad with primary custody of two young kids who spends his working hours caring for 30 other young kids. I *love* all of that but it is a mental, physical, and emotional drain. Add in 2 hours of round trip commute and it also eats up almost all my waking hours. I’m wired such that the SINGLE BEST WAY to reasonably recharge my batteries is a good workout. I love to read and often will on my commute (if I’m not working on the train). But I need my “jock” time. And while working out I do often listen to podcasts and audiobooks. As I do while washing dishes and folding laundry and cleaning up apple sauce and yogurt spills after the boys are in bed. I’m not anti-reading or anything. But I’m a person whose life situation and inherent wiring makes working out and listening to audiocasts preferable to reading and not working out. So get off the high horse, put down the smug juice, and quit acting like there is some inherent superiority to your preferences, okay? You’ll probably be alot happier — and may even have MORE free time — if you extended less energy trying to figure out why the world so wrongly refuses to adopt your way of being.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy
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        Why are you so perplexed and offended by the idea that there are just some guys who don’t like sports very much, Kazzy?

        I try and it right including eating more salad and veggies. I try and get to the gym as much as possible.

        Yet there is seemingly no obligation in society for intellectual endevour. We rah rah the people training for marathons or 100k runs or weight lifting completions and are indifferent to hostile to someone who devotes time and energy to wrestling with Finnegan’s Wake or Uylsses or Gravity’s Rainbow or The Tale of Genji because you can’t turn those into an HBO series like Game of Thrones.

        Why am I obligated to spending less time doing what refreshes and recharges me for the cult of gym but gym rats are not obligated to sit and wrestle and engage with text?

        I rebel against the notion that reading and actively engaging in art and thought are secondary pursuits.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
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          says:

          Because most people do not like abstract thought and getting anything let alone fun from Finnegan’s Wake or Gravity’s Rainbow is difficult for most people. Even the very non-athletic like hot bodies and seeing them in action though. They can understand vigorous training for sports and athletics more than they can high culture. Thats before you get into the entire dead white men social justice arguments that come about with high culture a lot. Maybe it shouldn’t be so but it is.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to LeeEsq
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            says:

            @leeesq @saul-degraw You guys get that people can be smart and athletic, right? That people can be physically fit and understand “abstract thought?”

            For guys who (rightfully) praise highbrow intellectual pursuits, it’s weird that your understanding of the world in this instance seems to come from Saved By the Bell reruns.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly
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              says:

              But they’d be smarter if they spent less time working out and more time eating ice cream. Fact.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly
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              says:

              I’m not un-athletic. I’m just observing that you get more social capital for being athletic than smart, particularly if you are smart in the wrong way.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to LeeEsq
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                “smart in the wrong way” ???

                Social capital will always be distributed unequally. Can’t fix that even when it feels unfair.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                (We’ve secretly replaced Greginak with an FYIGM Libertarian. Let’s see if anybody notices.)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I think the people that notice that will notice you are playing at the SJW or progressive line. But your thing works better when you are more subtle. Just trying to help out.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                I’m on the last day of induction.

                This losing weight thing totally sucks.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Oh yeah losing weight can be a pita. Induction sounds like something i learned, and forgot about, in high school but i’ve never used an formal weight loss plan.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                My response here was confusion, because the word “induction” means something way different in the Himmelreich-Truman household.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                Yes, in the wilds of Catada, induction means “NO FREAKING CARBS NOT EVEN TOMATOES”.

                FOR TWO FREAKING WEEKS.

                Seriously, I went to Chipotle and got a bowl of meat and lettuce with cheese sprinkled on it. Three ingredients.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq
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                @leeesq — I dunno. I think I have significantly more social capital than your average boorish jockbro.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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                Depends on the social circles you run I guess.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq
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                I just saw a study cited that says women were more attracted to
                Images of men that conveyed “braininess” than athleticism.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Kazzy
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                One wonders whether the study was mostly conducted by men who convey braininess.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to KenB
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                They’d put their thumbs on the scale if they were strong enough to press it down.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Win!Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to KenB
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                says:

                “Rock critics like Elvis Costello because rock critics look like Elvis Costello.” David Lee RothReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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                I’m just observing that you get more social capital for being athletic than smart, particularly if you are smart in the wrong way.

                I think the mistake is to think the two types of capital are transferable rather than restricted to their own domains. Ie, why view the “fitness as capital” domain as in competition with the “smarts as capital” domain?

                There are other domains as well, right: social-graces capital; right-family-background capital; right-education capital; beauty-capital; race-capital; humor-capital; basic-intelligence capital; etc etc etc.

                Why think one can or should be comparable to another?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Stillwater
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                @stillwater — Well, you either get the date or you don’t get the date. You either get kisses or you don’t get kisses.

                Less popular people know they are less popular. Often popular people don’t quite get that they have it easier, just as you don’t always notice that you’re not in pain, but dammit you notice when you are.

                Anyway, there is no question that things “status” and “social capital” and “prestige” exist. Of course, they’re complicated. On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time on the wrong side of the spectrum, you’re gonna try to find simple, satisfying explanations as to why.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Stillwater
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                And a deficit in fitness-capital is not the sort of deficit that gets much sympathy, generally speaking. It’s properly approached with a heaping spoonful of self-deprecation – see Dave Barry.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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                I saw an awesome diagram describing “impostor syndrome” and it clarified a very, very big thing for me.

                Check it out:
                http://i.imgur.com/6cDkQWi.jpg

                I think that something similar is going on here. There are a lot of little things that society awards for a lot of different kinds of gifts and all day, every day, it’s easy to see all kinds of people get all kinds of rewards for the things that they do (or, more frustratingly, things that they are).

                Now, for any given person (who isn’t a huge celebrity, anyway), it may look like society is throwing things around all wily-nily and only the tiniest rewards are falling on you while everybody else is getting the rewards you’d much rather have.

                For what it’s worth, a huge chunk of them are thinking the same things about themselves and you are part of the huge mass of people getting rewarded for stuff and helping confirm their own theories of life being unfair.

                It’s not much help, but, at least, it’s true.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                So should we be more, less, or equally judgey to what Saul offered above?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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                As someone who once hated the way that he hates, I remember the amount of consolation that being that judgey gave me.

                So to answer your question, I’ll ask another: is your judgeyness helping you get through the night?

                If it ain’t, I’d suggest something else.
                If it is, hey. Whatever gets you through the night. Just don’t hurt anybody.

                Now we can discuss whether someone not only not validating your life choices but actively scorning them counts as “hurting anybody”.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                I am trying really hard not to judge. And to limit my judgement to thoughts in my head and not statements to others.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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                I do wish that more people could be like you in that but they aren’t.

                Edit: This isn’t intended to be read sarcastically.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                We should probably judge them.

                ETA: i didn’t take it that way. And OT inspired me be better.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Kazzy
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                But when you keep it in your head, that’s when you’re truly being judgmental.

                Sorry, couldn’t resist. Please don’t judge me.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to KenB
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                Refraining from expressing judgments is an issue of critical importance.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                @jaybird — I’m not sure how much scorn hurts people. I mean, it depends. In some cases it might drive someone to suicide. So yeah. But those are rare cases.

                Anyway, I can say this much: if you scorn someone, you probably shouldn’t be too surprised if they return your scorn in equal measure. So round and round it goes.

                Of course, if they’re gonna hate you anyway, well whatever. I don’t waste too much time worrying about how Evangelical Christians feel about the fact that I kinda hate them. They’d hate me no matter what I do.

                But that one attractive dude at your work, who likes to talk about his running — just like anyone might talk about any hobby. You can scorn him. Fine. Scorn away. He’ll probably kinda figure you’re a bitter jerk and not invite you to his cool parties. Or whatever.

                I dunno. Sometimes it seems like high school never ends.

                #####

                The other day Saul-or-Lee (I forget which) suggested that playing Pokemon was “childish.” Which, whatevs. I think getting trapped in a high school mentality is definitionally childish. (You can argue “teen-ish” or something. Fine.)

                To my view, trying to see past cliquishness and petty resentments, etc., seems like the opposite of childish, and this includes being totally chill with a bunch of folks having fun playing a goofy game.

                Or running 5k each morning or something weird like that. My response, awesome!

                (But I might not wanna hear about it all the time, cuz the topic doesn’t really interest me. But that’s not scorn. That’s just normal, “Hey can we talk about a topic that interests both of us?”, which seems a completely normal social thing.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                There are things that make that easier to do.

                There are things that make that harder to do.

                Are you in a place where doing that is easy?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                @jaybird — I don’t know what to tell you. It’s one thing to be sitting at a bar with your trusted friends, kinda ranting about people you hate. Which, whatevs. Resentment can be unhealthy, but no one is guilt-free.

                However, it’s a different thing to be posting little stink-bombs on public forums. Honestly, it’s pretty insulting.

                Which, I’m a big girl. I’ll get over someone calling my tastes “childish” or unintelligent or whatever. What I mean is, when someone says something like that to me, I’m not going to fail to notice they’re digging at me, even if they don’t mean it personally. It’s still coming at me. It’s still unpleasant. So then I gotta figure out how to receive such a comment. I can get all butthurt and cry and shit. But why do that? The other thing I can do is consider the source. I can look at this person and ask, “Why does this person need to keep saying unpleasant and insulting shit to me?”

                I’m a pretty smart girl, so I think I can figure out what makes someone keep saying shitty, insulting things to me. Usually it has something to do with baggage they carry. Which fine, I got baggage also. However, if they keep insulting me, I feel pretty justified in telling them to fuck off sideways.

                My baggage, my problem. Your baggage, your problem.

                #####

                Anyway, do as you will. You haven’t shown me any good reason I should scorn exercise, nor the folks I used to train with, nor any of the gorgeous in-shape people I saw at the club last night, nor really anyone. Nor have you shown any reason I should regard such scorn by others as anything more than sour grapes. Which whatevs. I got some sour grapes of my own. I’m not gonna judge people for having feelings. I feel shit too. However, when you start slinging those feelings with a wide net, well, you’re gonna hit the wrong targets, which means you’re gonna insult people who didn’t do anything wrong, who then have the chance to show to you the wisdom and compassion that you have failed to show to them.

                On the other hand, maybe they’re in the mood to drop a truth bomb. If you literally called them “simple-minded” or “childish” or “dumb jock” or something similar — honestly, whatever they say, you probably have it coming.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                Anyway, do as you will. You haven’t shown me any good reason I should scorn exercise, nor the folks I used to train with, nor any of the gorgeous in-shape people I saw at the club last night, nor really anyone.

                You think this argument was about whether you should scorn exercise?

                Huh.

                Nor have you shown any reason I should regard such scorn by others as anything more than sour grapes.

                Fair enough.

                I’m not gonna judge people for having feelings. I feel shit too. However, when you start slinging those feelings with a wide net, well, you’re gonna hit the wrong targets, which means you’re gonna insult people who didn’t do anything wrong, who then have the chance to show to you the wisdom and compassion that you have failed to show to them.

                I thought we already hashtagged #NotAllExercisers.

                On the other hand, maybe they’re in the mood to drop a truth bomb. If you literally called them “simple-minded” or “childish” or “dumb jock” or something similar — honestly, whatever they say, you probably have it coming.

                We all have it coming. Though the “it” is as special a snowflake as we are.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly
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              says:

              I read books at the gym… I’m a monster, I know.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw
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          Who said you have any obligation to do anything?

          Where did I even comment on your preferences? I said I love reading myself. I commented on your attitude. That you still struggle to see that — that you take other people expressing different preferences as an attack on you and your own — is the issue.

          I didn’t call the arts a secondary pursuit. You are the one using phrases like “jocking out at the gym”. Did I say anything about “dorking out at the museum”? No! Why? Because I go to museums, too. And even if I didn’t — even when discussing something like NASCAR — I’d never say anything like “hicking out at the track.”

          You have this persecution complex about the fact that your personal preferences are non-universal. And you express it by demeaning others. Just stop.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw
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          Oh, we’re gonna have this conversation again.

          @saul-degraw — Honestly, to me your schtick comes across as an unattractive mix of snobbishness and sour grapes. What I mean is, no one here is against reading. Likewise, book clubs exist (I attend one), libraries exist, and while they are “multimedia” these day, you’ll find plenty of book lovers there. The icon of the professorial type, strolling across the grassy quad with a book, betweeded and bepatched, remains a lovely archetype.

          I’m a math nerd. I literally go out to pubs and restaurants and sit back and read my math books. I do this cuz I love math. Here’s the thing, I don’t get butthurt that people around me are not like, “OMG! It’s so totes cool that you’re studying subgradient methods for non-smooth optimization.” I don’t care what folks think. I ain’t here for them. I’m doing what I do for me.

          I never, never, never look down on anyone cuz they ain’t into math. Why would I? OMG.

          So that’s the big thing. You can read what you want. You can be the person you wanna be. No one is gonna stop you. Your complaint seems to be that they ain’t giving you props, that they ain’t lining up to pat your back for your super-duper mega sophistication. You paid up your erudite-dues, but discovered that the pretty people are passing you by to go catch Pokemons or watch Game of Thrones or whatever.

          Too fucking bad. If you’re doing what you do, for you, you ain’t gonna spend your time worrying about what folks do for themselves. On the other hand, if you’re all super insecure about your “culture status,” well folks can pick up insecurity a mile away. It’s unattractive. Likewise snobbishness. No one likes that shit.

          Short version: I think you ain’t getting your props cuz no one like a snob. A lot of folks might admire “cool bookish guy,” but who will despise “insecure ninny who talks down to me.”

          I like Game of Thrones. You can talk down to me if you want. Whatevs.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d
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            @veronica-d

            I think its totes cool that you’re studying non-smoothing gradienting optimethods. Mad props!

            And I say that non-sarcastically! I actually think there is something uniquely enjoyable about watching someone do something they love and/or are great at. Even if I don’t get it. What could be better than someone excelling in some way? Props all around! I mean, unless your hobby is like mass murder or something.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw
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          Here’s the thing: You reading Joyce doesn’t do anything for anyone else. We like looking at people who are in shape. Athletes entertain us (well, I don’t really get it, but most people do). But reading isn’t a spectator sport. As much as you might enjoy reading Finnegan’s Wake, for all the good it does the people around you, you might as well be reading comic books.

          If you have a good voice, some people might like to listen to you reading poetry. If you can write good literature, that’s something that creates value for some people. Or if you can write new and interesting commentary on literature. But of course that’s going to be limited to people who are interested in the same thing. Just reading it, though? That doesn’t do anything for anyone but you.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw
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          I rebel against the notion that reading and actively engaging in art and thought are secondary pursuits.

          And you are free to tilt at windmills all you like.

          You should write a book about it. I might read that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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        What is wrong with “jocking it up” at the gym?

        Not everybody has a genetic predisposition to working out.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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          I can work out. I’ve just never enjoyed it. It seems like a obligation because being healthy is importantReport

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          @jaybird — That would justify saying, “I choose not to work out.” It does not justify scorn toward those who do.

          Fitness is admirable. Athletics is admirable. We should admire admirable things, even if we do not want to do them ourselves.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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            Not everybody has the privilege of working out, then?Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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              Then just go for a good walk regularly.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                How many cultural assumptions are being made here?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                Just as many as in every conversation i would think. Walking is a sort of universal human activity. Do you live in a dangerous neighborhood? Do you have a car to go to good places to walk? Is thus taking progressive ideas are arguing with them for fun or are you buying into these concepts?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to greginak
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                Many transgender women choose to drive, even when mass transit/walking is available. They do this because we get harassed a lot, and getting harassed sucks, and everyone has their own level of tolerance for abuse. So it goes.

                I know folks who live up in the “Camberville” area, who don’t own cars — since driving and parking in the city is expensive — but also really kind of stay in their neighborhoods. Their social lives mostly involved online stuff, plus occasionally heading over to a friend’s house.

                So yeah. This stuff can be harder for some people. So it goes.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to veronica d
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                I completely agree. There are all sorts of reasons why some people might not want to walk: other people, harsh weather, very valid fears. And yet walking is a fine exercise that people overlook because it doesn’t have the cachet of going to the gym, wearing fancy gear and such. Go take a walk is perfectly reasonable advice for someone who wants exercise but doesn’t want to go to a gym. Will it work for a particular individual? That is up to the person and their tastes, needs, etc. Poor people all over this country and world use walking as exercise because they don’t’ have gyms or the money for anything more expensive.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to greginak
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                I lost 5 pounds in 6 weeks walking 5 miles (with a stroller!) every weekday this summer.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to greginak
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                says:

                You guys know he’s trolling you, right?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                Jay’s been trolling here for years. So yeah of course.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I don’t think everyone should work out or even strive to. If you want to, do it. If not, don’t. I don’t think it is inherently admirable but I see nothing mockable about the general practice.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @jaybird — Stop playing Socrates. You don’t have the chops.

                Are you typing on a phone or something, and therefore unable to take the time to construct an argument? If so, fine. Please post an argument when you are at a keyboard. Or whatever.

                Also, don’t try to strawman social justice with me. It’s not gonna work. It makes you look dickish.

                So far as I understand, there is a measurable negative correlation between income/social-class (and can we not unpack the difference today) and general fitness level. I’m pretty sure we can easily find stats that show a negative correlation between income/class and obesity. There are all kinds of obvious reasons for this.

                So, draw a line between these facts and the idea that one should scorn exercise. Go ahead. The ball is in your court.

                I think you’re trolling, in the sense you are saying transparently stupid things to try to get a response. Why would you do that?

                That is a behavior we should scorn, particularly on this forum.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                So, draw a line between these facts and the idea that one should scorn exercise.

                I believe that you will always find people who say something to the effect of “the stuff that I am good at should be valued by society and the stuff that I am not good at should be valued by society less”.

                If you are lucky, the stuff that you are good at is already valued by society enough for you to monetize it.

                And, if not monetize it, turn it to your advantage in other arenas and get others of your hierarchy needs met. Hang out with like-minded folks and think “it’s cool that we’re cool” even as you disdain the folks outside of your group who think it’s a little sad that you have to hang with dorks just like you in order to experience companionship (of surely a less high quality than that of those on the outside get to experience).

                And there are folks out there who use exercise as one of their signaling mechanisms. (It’s not *ONLY* that. Goodness no! It also helps with your heart rate and your BMI and your cosmetic appearance! But it’s also a signaling mechanism.)

                I think you’ll find that the scorn is not directed toward the whole “I take a walk after dinner to help with my general health level and, you know, keep the old bowels moving!” attitudes but the attitudes that say that exercise is somehow in itself a moral act (analogous to, say, vegetarianism).

                It’s not the “I do this for me” that gets the scorn.
                It’s the “I do this for the rewards I get from society” that gets the scorn. And the scorn spikes whenever those rewards are handed out in oh-so-very visible ways.

                You know the Ted Talk with the monkeys getting rewarded with the cucumbers and the grapes?

                You remember the monkey scorning the cucumber?

                I think it’s that dynamic.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @jaybird

                You said it better than I did. Probably because I was cranky.

                Excercise is good. I like walking. But there is a whole signalling that turns me off from super gym culture. People who talk about starting their days with 10 mile runs.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                “How was your day?”
                “Great! I had a good run, crushed it at work, and met friends for dinner.”
                “Ugh… Enough about your run!”

                Remember, you made a link about audiobooks into an anti-jock screed.Report

              • Avatar dexter in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                @saul-degraw, Reading and high art is fine, but there is a whole signaling that turns me off from the super arty farty folk who talk about starting their days with a hundred pages of Gravity’s Rainbow’ and three Goddard’s and a Trauffaut.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dexter
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                says:

                Dexter, I just tried to google some knockout gifs but I couldn’t find one that was just right in the time I allotted myself to look.

                So, let me just say this: that was a knockout punch.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @jaybird — Did you notice I used the word “should”?

                I mean, not to go all Hume on you, but a lengthy explanation of why some random people might scorn exercise doesn’t bridge the gap to “should.” After all, “sour grapes” is a well understood phenomena, so you didn’t really need to type that. My first post to Saul pointed out the sour grapes aspect. You could have just said, “Sour grapes” and I’d have gotten the point.

                Believe me, I spend enough time around young, skinny girls with great skin to understand these feelings. But I don’t scorn them, cuz it doesn’t help.

                Let them be happy. Let them have their shine. It’s my job to figure out my own shine using the tools I got.

                Anyway, do you scorn exercise? If so, why? Do you think the targets of your scorn are going to be pleased? Does this seem like a good life strategy?

                On this:

                I think you’ll find that the scorn is not directed toward the whole “I take a walk after dinner to help with my general health level and, you know, keep the old bowels moving!” attitudes but the attitudes that say that exercise is somehow in itself a moral act (analogous to, say, vegetarianism).

                It seem pretty common to dislike pushy, judgy people — but the contradiction here is immediately evident.

                There is a way out. One might say, “God I fucking hate exercise snobs. No, not just folks who like to stay in shape, but those who just seem jerky about it. You know what I mean?”

                Of course, if your sense of “exercise snob” is anyone whose gorgeous existence is an affront to you, cuz you cannot help but compare yourself to them — well whose brain is producing the nonsense here? Where is the actual fault?

                I try to keep a clear divide between “inside me” problems and “outside me” problems. If the existence of happy, attractive people is a problem for me, well that’s on me. It’s not an “outside me” problem, cuz they aren’t doing anything wrong. They get to have their shine. I gotta work out my own shit.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                You probably find the word “should” more interesting than I do.

                Saying that people who don’t fill their various levels of their various pyramid of needs the way that they “should” always reminds me of Gene Mark’s “If I Were A Poor Black Kid” column.

                Let them be happy. Let them have their shine. It’s my job to figure out my own shine using the tools I got.

                That’s a great place to have arrived.

                Anyway, do you scorn exercise? If so, why? Do you think the targets of your scorn are going to be pleased? Does this seem like a good life strategy?

                I’d like to think that I don’t actively, but the other day I was going through facebook and so-and-so posted pictures of his first triatholon and, for a moment, I felt a wave of “eff you, buddy” then I recognized it and tamped it back down.

                And given that my own personal exercise choices amount to “short walks”, I think that the revealed preference is “personally, yes”.

                I mean, once upon a time I threw weights around, did the kettlebell thing, but my personality changed and it scared me so I put the weight back on.

                It seem pretty common to dislike pushy, judgy people — but the contradiction here is immediately evident.

                I’d put a finer point on it. Pushy, judgy people who disagree The ones who agree? Well, you can assemble yourself your own little “Haters’ Ball” and make an evening of it.

                Of course, if your sense of “exercise snob” is anyone whose gorgeous existence is an affront to you, cuz you cannot help but compare yourself to them — well whose brain is producing the nonsense here? Where is the actual fault?

                Defense mechanisms gonna defend. What can you do?

                I mean, other than write a “If I were this person, I’d act in the following ways” column.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You probably find the word “should” more interesting than I do.

                I think one of the most pernicious words in the English language is the word “should”. It imposes. Usually indiscriminately.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Then you shouldn’t use it.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                “Should” is a pretty interestesting word. It’s originally the past tense of “shall”, though very rarely used that way anymore. Of course, “Shall’ is itself very rarely used; the convention that “shall” is the normal way of expressing the future tense in first-person and “will” in second and third person, with the reverse used for emphasis, is almost completely dead.

                The history of the usage of the modal verbs (will, shall, can, may, must) is actually fascinating. I once took a graduate seminar taught by this guy where that was the sole topic.Report

              • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Was the blank link a joke? If so, it was too subtle for me.Report

              • No, just pilot error. Fixed.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Modal verbs are pretty fucking awesome. BTW, your “this guy” link isn’t working, so I cannot determine who that guy is, which makes me sad.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                VD,

                Have you read any Kripke? He wrote his first paper on modal logic at age 19 (“A completeness theorem in modal logic”), provided a semantics for modal terms a few years later, then began some important work in philosophy of language and mind (Naming and Necessity, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, quite a few other really great papers). Stuff we were talking about the other day.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I read Naming and Necessity, but like forever years ago. I’m vaguely familiar with Kripke semantics, but more as a pure formal model, an example of using posets in semantics. I haven’t done a lot with them.

                Honestly, tho, I’m very underwhelmed by classical semantics, including the entire “possible worlds” model, and very much prefer the Mental Spaces model found in cognitive semantics.

                When I talk about modal verbs, I’m talking about how they work in English, which a rich and fascinating topic quite different in scope from the work in analytic philosophy.

                Did you know “need” can act as a sorta modal verb, but only in a negative sense, and more in UK English than US English.

                She need not come.

                vs.

                * She need come.

                Anyhow, English modal verbs are wacky.

                #####

                As a rule of thumb: any semantic model that tries to abstract meaning down to a simple system, one you could write down on a couple dozen sheets of paper, will substantially fail to capture the full intricacy of human language. The attempts of analytic philosophy to turn language into a neat logical system seem impoverished to me. When we speak, we have pretty much our full cognitive capacity, along with our encyclopedic knowledge, to help shape meaning. We have all of it, in all its rich subtlety. Studying that interests me. Analytic philosophy seemed to be trying to do the opposite of this.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                I read Mental Spaces a long time ago, back in grad school. The linguists loved it. I remember being not quite so impressed. 🙂

                Add: Which isn’t to say I didn’t like it! I did. He has some very good ideas in there.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I haven’t read his books, but I did see him in West Side Story.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                …once upon a time I threw weights around, did the kettlebell thing, but my personality changed and it scared me…

                This is interesting. Would you mind talking a bit more about this?

                I’ve always found that physical accomplishment gives me a bit more confidence and seeing gym results in the mirror makes me a tad more vain, but in neither case does it approach a personality shift.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to j r
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                says:

                Lifting will elevate T levels, which can (for some folks) elevate levels of aggression. It’s plausible.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r
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                says:

                I pretty much have always been a guy who stares at the ground six feet in front of him as he walks. I’m thinking about stuff. Important stuff. Or, sometimes, unimportant stuff. Depends. Anyway, I found that when I was lifting, I started looking around at all of the faces around me and I found myself staring people down as I walked.

                I made *THEM* go and look at the ground six feet ahead of them.

                I felt good when I made them do this.

                WHAT IN THE HELL WHAT ARE YOU DOING I asked myself. When I stopped lifting, I was able to go back to my more Buddha self and get back to looking at the ground when I walked.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Yep. Elevated T. More aggro. Hightened libido. Etc.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, and for what it’s worth, the effects aren’t necessarily permanent. With time folks usually adjust to their hormone balance. Like, trans dudes, when they start T, often go through a “macho douchebag” phase, but later they kinda learn to make peace with their new feelings. In a sense, it’s “second puberty.”

                I doubt it’s common for cis dudes to experience this in the full measure just from lifting, but I’m sure it happens.

                On the other hand, maybe you’re a “a little bit trans,” at least in a neurological sense. I know my anxiety levels dropped tons as I moved from T-person to E-person. It seems plausible that some “basically cis” folks could have minor versions of this. In other words, your brain might just be wired for less T. If so, keep your T levels down.

                After all, if your brain ain’t happy, then you ain’t happy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                I mostly found my solution by being fat.

                Unfortunately, my doctor is stuck in some regressive paradigm where she doesn’t recognize body positivity.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird — Yeah, that’s pretty common with doctors.

                I mean, even if were easy to lose weight, I would still expect doctors to offer non-judgmental advice and support, but in light of the incredible difficulty fat people have in losing weight, it’s completely unjustified.

                It’s almost as if people make unconscious and irrational judgments toward fat people instead of being compassionate and objective.

                Almost.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I understand the increased aggressiveness, but I’ve always thought it as a feature and not a bug.

                I’ve also never made the connection between being in my own head and walking around unaware of others, probably because I’ve always been in my own head but in a way that was hyper-aware of what’s going on around me. Interesting to have this other perspective.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d
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            says:

            This. Work out. Or don’t. But please grant me the same oppourunity to choose.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Saul, you picked this fight in an unappealing manner. Work outs and intellectual interests are not mutually incompatible. It’s even odder to poke that thing on place like this where we all spend time yakking about culture, current affairs and politics. I’ve listened to audio books on long runs, while training for marathons. And then i read books later. Personally the audio books i’d run with would be light stuff but i’ve known people who listened to and apparently gotten a out of serious lit. To each his own.

      If you don’t like people insulting your tastes going out of your way to insult others tastes won’t get you what you want.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak
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        says:

        Okay. I was being cranky and crabby.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak
        Ignored
        says:

        I do generally find it pretty unappealing to hear people talk about their workouts. I don’t know why.

        There is something about the endless confidence of the bro-dudes I know that grates on me. Don’t they experience any doubt? I consider the ability to publicly express doubt and insecurity to be a very important trait/virtue. Perhaps I just have too much doubt about nearly everything.

        Still I think there are messages in society that treat reading (whether a kindle or a book) as an indulgence. I get that you need to work long hours at jobs and that physical exercise is important. So you are supposed to get up really early and go to the gym and then work or you are suppose to work and then hit the gym at night.

        Reading recharges me and I guess I can be pretty introverted. I also seem to have a different idea on the concept of enjoyment and whether enjoyable things need to be expressed in a universal language. Yet I find the musts and shoulds of the world conspire against it. Maybe this language is a bit too hyperbolic.

        I get that I often have minority tastes. That doesn’t mean I enjoy getting sneers about liking the kinds of books that people see as a school reading.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw
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          says:

          Nobody likes being looked down at. I used to be very shy, now i’m just mostly introverted, but reading was always great escape for me. I get that. Unfortunately reading has been turned in broccoli by many well meaning parents and teachers: its the stuff that is good for you and you’re supposed to do it but that does give in the tinge of something not done just for fun. (uggh some parents use reading as punishment!?)

          People treat exercise as something they are supposed to do but many people dislike. Most people with gym memberships never use them and avoid exercise. Bro dudes? well don’t’ listen to them. People who are really into something can either be really interesting or really annoying. Sometimes you get a flavor of their joy and passion. Sometimes they are just loud mouthed mono maniacs. Do people who are into exercise get doubts: hell frickin yes. Not only the normal ones about life, the universe and everything but doubts about workouts and races and injuries. Personally i’m running a marathon next weekend and the last couple weeks before a race is for almost everybody an anxious time with wondering if i trained hard enough, how the day will go and if anything last minute problems will come up.

          IMHO the better way to deal with the sneers is not to lash back but to ask people if they like their tastes criticized or ask how they got elected judge. Don’t react directly back.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            There is an interesting history behind this. Before television, many parents in the West didn’t want their kids reading so much because it was thought that reading too much would hurt people’s eyes. Jews were the biggest exception to the rule. I’m serious about this. If you watch pre-television movies than you will find more than a few parents telling their kids off-handily that reading will hurt their eyes. It was only after television that reading became an virtuous activity.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          I think we need to differentiate between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is a good thing. And often allows people to show doubt.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      I loved audiobooks when I was commuting two hours a day. It worked out to roughly one fairly thick book per month, or twelve fairly thick books per year, all making use of time that would otherwise have been entirely wasted.

      If somebody cold have sold me a way to exercise while I slept, I’d have bought that too.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      I have never been tempted to spend money on a fermium product.

      Me neither. They’re always falling apart, and I hear they can give you cancer.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      A bunch of the boys were jocking it up at the downtown JCC;
      The kid that washes the towels and rags was loading a cart or three;
      Kazzy was stretching and rolling his neck, next in line for the climbing wall;
      While ensconced in his chair with a book of Voltaire was the poster that’s known as Saul.
      Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      @saul-degraw

      3. The Diversity article brings across my quip on economics being the study of humans finding ways to be the shits they want to be so you might as well let them.

      In a lot of ways the job of economists is to be the party poopers of public policy. Our job is to tell people that their super awesome way of solving the world’s problems won’t work. However, you need people doing that because if you want to implement policy that actually work, you need people checking to see if it works, and pointing out when it doesn’t.

      The linked article was by sociologists, who at their best have a similar party-pooper role to economists. And in the case of the article, they weren’t just spreading nihilism, they were able to supply constructive criticism, identifying new things to do that are more likely to actually improve diversity.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    Not sure how the diversity article has anything to do with economics, it’s all about social science.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Apple is the new Microsoft. In the ’90’s way.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    I found the Google+ vs. Facebook piece really unsatisfying, in the way that it skips directly from “And now the battle was on!” to “And then, after Facebook won …”.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Mike Schilling
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      says:

      I don’t remember a battle at all. I remember facebook having all of the users and Google+ showing up and getting no users. Then Google tried to tie all sorts of other stuff to Google+ (Want maps? How about you use it through Google+? That makes sense, right? Want us to announce what you just searched to your friends on Google+?) That didn’t work, and Google+ died.

      A social network is a social network, so they had an uphill battle to begin with. But honestly, I never even considered the possibility of tying a company whose job is to know *everything about me and what I do* to a public information spigot that sends a constant feed of data about me to all of my friends and colleagues. That just seems like courting disaster.Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Mike Schilling
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      says:

      I got the same feeling. It looked really pretty there on the page, but there was no there there.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    Party A was Salesforce and the other potential suitors — Party B and Party D — were Google and Facebook, respectively. We do not yet know who Party C is.

    I’m thinking Colleen Fitzpatrick.Report

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