Morning Ed: Society {2016.09.12.M}


Will Truman

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

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277 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    The guy who adds bacon to a veggie burger should be shot. When you see a veggie burger on the menu, you assume that your only worry other than allergies is whether it has got cheese (if you’re vegan). You assume that the bacon is mock bacon. Lots of restaurants which use mock bacon just call it bacon. So, calling something a veggie burger and adding bacon to the patty (by default) is if not fraud, douchebaggery of the highest order.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Affordable housing in Seattle: The American political system with its multiple layer of veto-points is very favorable to the NIMBYs because it gives them multiple ways to stop development that could ruin their property values. On a Facebook group I belong to called Market Urbanism, somebody posted an article that you can’t have housing be affordable and a source of wealth at the same time. I argued that land was a source of wealth for humans for most of our history and this wasn’t going to change soon. The best way to defeat NIMBYs is to place land use decisions at a political level that NIMBYs will have the hardest time influencing and to take away their other veto points.

    Visuals of overdosed adults: Has there ever been ever evidence that this sort of behavior works? People likely to engage in drugs are too addicted or shameless to care. The people who might care about public shamming are disinclined to use drugs or will just do them in the privacy of the home rather than in public. This sort of public exposure seems to violate the right to privacy.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      What right to privacy? A right to privacy when you are in public?Report

    • Avatar Francis says:

      It remains unclear to me why the people living in a community should have less say about the density of a community than outside capital. Fee simple absolute is actually a relatively rare concept. Most other countries and communities understand that neighbors want to have a vote on turning a 2-story community into a 20-story community.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Actual, in most other countries communities have less of a say in these matters than they do in the United States. Allowing communities excessive control over land use keeps away actual people who want to move in and it protects the wealthy more than the poor.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        My take away from the comments on the Seattle article, and some of the articles it links to, is that the existing residents want affordable housing, but they want it to be just like all the other housing in the area, or they want it to be somewhere else. If it’s going to meet the (highly subjective) aesthetic fit of any given neighborhood, they it’s going to have to be highly subsidized, because there is no way to construct something that can be affordable at market rates while meeting all those criteria.

        Thus you get such affordable housing in places people don’t really want to live, or you get the option of demanding such housing in new large scale developments, which severely limits how many new units you can bring on line, because new large scale developments have longer time horizons than something smaller, like apodments or micro-housing.

        As for the voices of the community, perhaps we should require that if a community wants a strong voice, they can organize into an HOA, draw up a charter and all that, file it with the city, and live by it. That way, developers who wish to explore options can just look up the current charter for a given neighborhood and see if it’s somewhere they want to develop. If there is no charter, then the city codes apply and the community that can’t be bothered to organize doesn’t get to let a handful of squeaky wheels make those decisions arbitrarily.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          “[T]he existing residents want affordable housing, but they want it to be just like all the other housing in the area…”

          See, that’s an important point. What people mean when they say “affordable housing” is not “houses that cost less than $200,000 to build in this place”. They mean “houses that are the same as any other house only they don’t cost a million dollars”.Report

        • Avatar Francis says:

          “perhaps we should require that if a community wants a strong voice,” … they can direct their politicians to adopt a planning and zoning code, a general plan, specific plans, a process for the public agency to analyze and publish the environmental impacts of the project, etc.

          That way, developers who wish to explore options can go meet with the democratically appointed planning officials familiar with the existing plans for a given neighborhood.

          wow, so much of this thread is about people, even the liberals, asserting that they know best how other people should live. It’s really surprising to me how undemocratic people get when it comes to urban planning.

          There is no such thing as a natural market for urban housing. Land use planning — and even the absence thereof — is inherently political.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            This was my view for the longest time, and on an abstract level, I still think it’s true. In practice, though, it goes in the “why we can’t have nice things.” Too often I’ve seen this sort of thing used as a tool by the inside to keep the outside out. Not just to prevent certain kinds of housing, but to prevent the type of people who would live in that housing from moving in.

            Which makes it advantageous to have decisions made at a higher level, by people who report not just to people “inside” the community but also those outside. This is not ideal, either, but it’s the lesser of evils, in my view. Especially when we’re talking about the hyperlocal. Like the small municipality in which I was raised and its deeply held political belief that apartment buildings should not exist there.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              I’m with Will. It’s called exclusionary zoning and it is used as a cudgel to keep people of color and lower income earners out of affluent neighborhoods, suburbs, and towns.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              Land use decisions are made at all levels- local, state, even federal- because there are legitimate stakeholders and interests at each level.

              In the same way that individual buildings are intimately connected to the neighborhood, cities are connected to each other, and states to the nation.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


            All of which happens at the city level. These people want to control just their neighborhood, so you seem to be saying that the desires of a single neighborhood should be reflected in the codes of the entire city?Report

            • Avatar Francis says:


              California law requires cities and counties to have general plans. California law also permits cities and counties to have specific plans that govern the land use planning within a sub-set of the political boundary. Adoption of a specific plan is the tool used by most large-scale developments and redevelopments to set development standards within that area, so they are frequently the tool of developers. However, activist communities can also get specific plans adopted for an already-developed community, to set the development baseline against which new projects get measured.

              Also, all of these planning documents can be amended by the vote of the appropriate political body.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                So a community can get a city to set aside a separate set of rules for their community to govern future development? How is that different from what I said?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Here’s an honest question: If it is taken as perfectly acceptable by most for a city to demand that a new luxury residential high rise contain X number of affordable units or the developer has to pay $Y into an affordable housing fund, why can’t the same be demanded of neighborhoods?

            The city wants Z number of affordable units to come online every 2-5 years, and if a neighborhood wants to refuse to allow some percentage of those units to come online in that neighborhood, then every household has to pay a fee to the city. In a similar vein, if neighborhood aesthetic demands price the affordable housing project(s) too high, the neighborhood has to cover the excess.

            Make the NIMBYs put their money on the line.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              The People’s Republic of California is way ahead of you
              California’s General Plan requires that every city must provide a land use plan that includes affordable housing.

              But as you can imagine, this rule has been copiously gamed and circumvented and overtaken by facts on the ground to where the original purpose is a shadow of itself.

              One of the ways it has been gamed is that cities can pay a fee in lieu of actually building affordable housing.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                See, this is the problem with the anonymous ballot…

                Oh, you want government to provide X? You voted for it? OK, let’s do that! Oh, wait, you don’t really want X if it impacts you in any significant way? Let’s check the record. Yep, you voted for it. Suck it up, buttercup.Report

            • Avatar Francis says:

              HOAs bind neighbors. General and specific plans bind (somewhat) politicians.

              How do “neighborhoods” do anything? I voted for a moderately pro-growth candidate in the last municipal election. I know that the people a couple houses down voted for the no-growth guy. There were other candidates who were even more pro-growth who didn’t get past the first round. Who gets taxed?

              And, more seriously, who would ever vote for such an insane tax structure?

              Will and Lee: Why would a county or a regional coalition of governments do better than a city as a planning agency? Around the Bay Area, counties are way too small, but that’s not a problem that can be generalized. And while certain issues – like transportation and water — need a regional approach, neither of you have shown that a more regional approach would work any better for the approval of individual developments. I think that what’s far more likely to happen is what goes on currently in LA County — each Supervisor is given great deference as to the development issues inside their region (ie, a ward system).

              At-large supervisors are no solution either. Those systems give even less power to poor and minority communities.

              The primary source of the problem with exclusionary zoning is that certain communities lack the political power to obtain the results that some people perceive as fair. The solution to that problem is not to dilute their power even further by empowering an ever-more-distant political body. The solution is to make the issue justiciable. It already is, but those cases tend to be complicated and unsatisfactory.

              One final point — managing in-fill growth well is extremely challenging. Addressing the impacts to traffic, water, sewer, fire, police, schools, parks (and more) will require taxes, and it ain’t always the case that the increase in populace will cover the increase in the demand for government services.

              So now you’re telling nimbys (who are by definition politically sophisticated middle class voters) (a) you have to live with urban density determinations set by politicians who are remote from you and (b) you get to pay for the privilege.

              Is there any wonder why anti-nimby legislation lacks rousing success at the legislature?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Actually, what I want to tell people is that you don’t get to vote for X, and then decide that you don’t want X to impact you. If you don’t want affordable housing in your neighborhood, don’t vote to impose it on other neighborhoods because it makes you feel good. Otherwise, those “politically sophisticated middle class voters” are no better than the remote politicians.

                As for insane tax structures, there are plenty of such things that nobody voted for, that were approved by legislative bodies, because the affected populations are not politically sophisticated or influential.Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC says:

                Actually, what I want to tell people is that you don’t get to vote for X, and then decide that you don’t want X to impact you.

                So I guess we can’t have a graduated income tax with the highest rates falling on a small percentage of the population?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I lean libertarian, so I’m not completely sold on progressive tax rates to begin with (I understand the reasons & the efficacy, but they strike me as more symbolic than actually effective at revenue generation).

                However, I’m mostly ranting here, because I see the social value in affordable housing in expensive urban centers, and yet the bulk of our solutions to the issue are overly expensive (subsidies or excessive housing requirements), or focused on a small subset of the population (land owners/developers), or marginalizing (projects), or a combination thereof, and it’s all driven largely by people who want affordable housing, but don’t want to see it, or know about it, or really pay for it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I lean libertarian, so I’m not completely sold on progressive tax rates to begin with

                Not at the first order level, of course. But most libertarianism is very closely aligned with (scare quotes) “free markets”, which includes, as we all know, automation and so on, which in turn entails that a GBI of some sort might just be the best way to deal with underemployment, which in turn requires that those who make the most pay the most (perhaps all!) of the taxes.

                So being a libertarian cuts a bunch of different directions on the “progressive tax issue”, seems to me,

                That’s not to say we’re at that point right now, of course. (How would we know, when certain strains of “free market” economics imply that as the economic water from freedom settles the median boat will in fact experience a relative (or is it objective? I can never remember..) rise.) It’s just that the premise that those who benefit most from our institutional structures ought to pay more than those who benefit less strikes me as a pretty compelling principle to justify progressive taxes.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


                No disagreement.

                I find how we do progressive rates right now to be mostly symbolic because they don’t impact the wealthy the most, but rather the middle & upper middle class (those who make enough to feel the pinch of higher rates, but don’t make enough to be able to find ways to significantly reduce their rate).

                If the wealthy did not have such an expansive array of ways to reduce their tax rates, progressive rates would be less symbolic and more effective.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Good point! The claim that our tax code is oppressive because the Nominal Rate is higher on the wealthy!! cuts very little ice, since real wealth is very well insulated from the depredations of taxation. The whole thing is really a joke, to be honest (cue Warren Buffet music).

                But now we’re talking about two different things: progressive taxes (on the one hand) and how the real wealth isn’t paying their nominal rate in any event (and whether that’s justified, or not, job creators and all that…).

                Jesus, I’m depressing myself talking about this stuff. My apologies if you’re feelin it too.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                “Actually, what I want to tell people is that you don’t get to vote for X, and then decide that you don’t want X to impact you.”

                Actually, that happens all the time. The flip side, too, where people vote against X and decide to keep the benefits.

                This just seems to me like plain old every day politics. People want all the benefits (both social and financial) that they can get out of government while foisting off the costs onto someone else.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      I argued that land was a source of wealth for humans for most of our history and this wasn’t going to change soon.

      I don’t understand what you mean by this.

      Land is not a source of wealth. Land cannot *make* anything.

      I mean, yes, it can. It can make apples, or deer, or whatever.

      And I suppose an argument can be made that land must exist for *all* wealth-producing things to exist. (At least until we put factories in space.) But by the same logic, *air* is a source of wealth, along with the literal passage of time. That’s just being silly.

      The way land *as housing* generates wealth, though, is that…it doesn’t.

      Housing works as a *money* making thing (Not ‘source of wealth’) in the modern day, or even well before that, is that one group of humans charges another group of humans to use it. That…is not generating wealth.

      And as a large part of our last economic crash was based on the delusional idea that somehow housing always becoming more and more expensive was a *good* thing (As opposed to a clearly insane thing.), perhaps we might not want to be going down that road again.Report

    • Avatar Dave Regio says:


      Does shaming work? Well, if you go to the right-wing position and take the culture of responsibility and put it on steroids, then shaming most certainly works. Breitbart has spoken.

      Of course it will work. Look at what fat shaming has done to bring the issues with weight and obesity under control. We’re as healthy and fit as we ever been thanks to fat hate.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        Sometimes we go overboard with the “does shaming work” thing. If shame is the appropriate response to personal failure then shaming can be aimed not at producing some change in behaviour, but at simply producing shame. The intuition is this: A world in which no one is ashamed of any personal failure ever is a world in which there is no such thing as personal failure. Not at least in the kind of substantive sense that implies the existence of standards that are genuinely worth striving for*.

        *as opposed to standards that you happen to want to strive for. Actually even then I’m not sure. To say that something is a standard for you is to say that you feel (or perhaps even ought to feel) shame when you fall short.Report

        • Avatar Dave Regio says:


          The intuition is this: A world in which no one is ashamed of any personal failure ever is a world in which there is no such thing as personal failure.

          Part of the fat shaming debate is over whether or not being overweight or obese is considered a moral failing. That’s a dangerous road to travel, and the shaming I see is not motivated by people failing personal goals but rather motivated by perceived moral failings.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Shaming doesn’t work when serious money is involved.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I feel like The Housing and Reductress article are related. There are many places in the world where multi-generational living is the norm rather than the exception. There is nothing wrong with young people living with their parents until they are married. Often it is the norm. It is also common for young people to live with a set of parents after marriage.

    For some reason, Anglo-American cultures developed in a way that thinks people should live away from their parents for a long time before marriage. We consider living with your parents post-college to be a form of loserdom and shame.

    When people “move out” is an interesting society split. I have seen people say that they moved out or their kids moved out of the house when the kid entered the freshman dorm at 18. I think that this is kind of absurd. Surely the kid stays with the parents during breaks between semesters. I have also had people tell me this happened to them at 18 when they were dropped off at college, “Congrats on getting into college!! Good luck!! Please give me the key to the house.” That seems absurd and cruel as well. Interestingly this often seems more likely to happen to first generation college students.

    On the other hand SRO type housing as often been associated with “undesirable” elements of society like habitual addicts. Twenty somethings are not “undesirable” in the same way that a Bowery Bum is but they are seen as too loud, too likely to party late into the night, too sloppy, etc. I live in walking distance to a university. My neighborhood is fairly diverse in terms of age range and income. The loudest residents by a long shot are between 19-24. The young residents seem to have no trouble blasting music really loud at 1 am on a weeknight without consideration to their neighbors.

    People decry NIMBYism as something to get over but we don’t seem to put any effort into changing other aspects of our society that make housing affordable. And because the US is so polarized and partisan, total ideological commitment is more important than changing things for the better.

    I think we need to find ways to reduce housing as a form of equity. One reason white families are wealthier than black families is housing equity. You also have situations where programs intended to help lower income people end up helping people who are income poor but asset and/or social capital rich.

    The NY Times has a real estate column called The Hunt. The Hunt is about people buying their first NYC property. A recent article featured a young woman with a low paying design job. She wanted out of roommates. Her parents directed her to a NYC lawyer who directed her to a real estate agent. The real estate agent figured out that the young woman qualified for a housing program meant to help low income people own property. The program was originally meant for working and minority familues. Now it seems to help artsy kids with rich parents. The young woman said something like “Owning property makes me feel so adultish.” The Internet groaned at the lack of awareness.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Just kicking your kid out of the house when they reach legal adulthood seems barely legal and very unethical. Your friends might come from different socio-economics than my friends but I don’t know anybody that experienced anything like this. My friends from similar socio-economic levels, of the first to go to college, tend to live with their parents longer.

      Houses are always going to be a source of equity because real estate was the first form of wealth humans developed. Good luck trying to get around that.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        My dad had a clock running in his head. From the time I was 13, he could tell you, on any given day, how long I had until he kicked me out or started charging rent.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          @oscar-gordon @leeesq

          I suspect that when some people say they moved out of their parents house at 18 or their kid moved out at 18, it is a matter of perception and hyperbole more than reality. A lot of kids say they moved out at 18 when it really means “I went to college and lived in a dorm but came back for breaks between semesters.” So this is not moving out.

          On the other hand, a friend’s son went to college in a big city out of state. He really did seem to move out (though his mom would have him back at anytime.) After a year in the dorms, he got an apartment off campus with some friends or he rents a house with some friends or something like that. This is more of a reality in big cities than it is in areas where I went to college because there is not much summer employment in Poughkeepsie or off-campus housing for students. Poughkeepsie was not a college town. The areas around the University of Washington in Seattle are really a college town with employment opportunities for students.

          Though I find it sociologically curious that the Anglo-American world developed this idea of automatic independence at year X instead of multi-generational living.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            So I left home the day after I turned 18. Lived on my own for 6 months (badly, I might add). Then I joined the Navy and was told I had to wait 4 months before i could leave for boot camp. My parents agreed to let me move home for the duration, and I wound up being back in my parents place for all of 10 days before a slot opened up for me under a different contract.

            Never moved back home after that.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

              @oscar-gordon @will-truman

              I get how it happens. I am just sociologically curious about why it happens.

              My girlfriend is from Singapore. She went abroad for college but then moved back to Singapore for her first job. She lived with her parents during this time (though it did involve a lot of travel). This was not a barista job but a professional job with a good salary. There is just simply no shame in a college educated adult living with their parents in Singapore. Even though it is a developed society, multi-generational living is perfectly acceptable in Singapore and it is common for people to live with their parents until they marry.

              Maybe @murali can help with why this is cool in Singapore. Multi-generational or close by living also seems common in Italy and Greece.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Singapore is a unique sort of place because it is geographically the size of the five boroughs of NYC. There might not be enough places for young people to live on their own or with others.Report

              • Avatar Murali says:

                Also, it was not too long ago that most people were so poor that you had 3-4 generations in the same house. 8 kids would lie down on a pallet on the floor in the living room. Married people had their own room. The british packed us like sardines and shipped us over and we just continued living like that.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                This is why I’ve always cringe when people refer to pay-as-you-go programs for the elderly as “Ponzi schemes” just because the money comes from current workers. Current workers have been taking care of people too old to work since society was a thing. We’ve only recently gotten just wealthy enough that a working stiff might be able to set aside enough for a solo retirement. The question isn’t whether a pay as you go arrangement is a Ponzi scheme so much as whether we’re being too ambitious too early about what those benefits are.Report

              • Avatar Murali says:

                1. One of the expectations is that you are required to look after your parents in their old age. Leaving your parents at some home for the elderly is frowned upon.

                2. Housing is sufficiently expensive that you kind of need to save up for a few years (often together with your spouse) to afford the down-payment even for public housing.

                3. There is not much of a renting culture in Singapore. People who rent are largely expats.

                4. There really isn’t much of an away to move to. Singapore is smaller than NYC.

                5. IIRC, married couples and families have an easier time getting a housing loan.

                These things interact in weird ways. Add into the mix that Singapore is really socially conservative. So, you’re not really abandoning your parents if you are in the army or staying in a dorm in the university. That’s temporary. People also don’t generally regard it as abandoning your parents when you move out after you get married; you need your privacy for stuff that married couples gotta do right? One of the things is that prior to marriage (and often after that too) people don’t regard a person as being entitled to privacy with regards to his or her own parents. Also, since pre-marital sex is still frowned upon, you are regarded as a bad son/daughter for leaving your parents’ house for no “acceptable” reason. You can’t do it so that you can shack up with your girl/boyfriend because that’s not a reason that they will accept. Its not that you can’t have a girlfriend (for a really conservative family you’re not even supposed to have that), you’re just not supposed to get past first base or even go there until you get married. You can’t just say privacy because they would want to know what it is you are doing that you don’t want them to find out about. etc etc. And, if the difference in age is large enough and you marry late enough, you get married just as they’re about to retire. So, now you can’t move out because that would be abandoning them too. It helps if you are not the only child. If the parents rotate between staying with one of the siblings, then you get your privacy for maybe half or 2/3 of the year.Report

            • Avatar Damon says:

              Yep. I worked with a guy who set the following expectation for his kids.

              On your 18th birthday I expect you to move out.

              They grew up with that expectation, and there were lots of conversations about what that meant and that the date was coming up. He moved out.

              Setting expectations and enforcing them. OMG parenting!Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                That is a bit of an odd one. I had friends who turned 18 during their senior year of high school. Expecting them to move out on that day seems unreasonable. Setting an expectation that they move out by the end of the summer after their senior year of high school might make sense.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                I’m sure the dad would have allowed him to stay until graduation. As it turned out, his 18th birthday was shortly AFTER he graduated.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Most of the non-college bound people I knew back home didn’t leave the house at 18, but were out by 20. Affordable housing helps (and a good local economy!).

            Thats not a representative sample, though.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          I can’t imagine any Jewish parent doing this to their kids.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:


            For lots of USwhiteAmericans, kicking your kids outa the house after HS is an act of love and compassion, one that teaches ’em important ruggedly individualistic, bootstrappy life lessons …Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              Ding! Ding! Ding!

              For the record, when he turns 18, I will encourage my son to strike forth on his own, but I’m aware of the housing & financial realities, and I won’t force him out.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                So it is basically teaching someone to swim by throwing them out into the deep end? Which is a horrible method that fails more often than it succeeds.

                I wonder how true it really is. Hypothetically, instead of signing up for boot camp, say you were diagnosed with cancer. Would your parents still have said you can’t come home?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                So it is basically teaching someone to swim by throwing them out into the deep end?

                Outa love, tho. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Ideally, the parents will have prepared the child for the rigors of independent living, and for the most part I did fine (I knew how to write checks and pay bills and shop for food and cook and get an apartment and get a loan and get a job…

                Well, that last part was the clincher. I knew how to get a job, and during that 6 months I worked pretty steady, but a kid straight out of HS with no marketable skills except farm work and cleaning a slaughterhouse can’t really make enough to focus on classes and take care of everything else. It was a rough 6 months.

                I did much, much better when I left the Navy. Better skill set, a lot more confidence and practice with life’s responsibilities, etc. Thing was, I left the Navy after only 30 months (thanks to the motorcycle wreck), but that 30 months was more than enough.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


                I always knew I could come home if needs be. It was a point of pride to at least try to make it on my own.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                That seems like the key thing for me. If the kid has trouble right off the bat, that’s not the end of the world. The important thing is that you raised a person who wants to be self sufficient and isn’t satisfied living off of the work their parents do.

                I’ve known people who were perfectly happy to take food off of their parents’ plates for their entire lives. That’s something I just can’t get my head around.Report

              • Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they say “Go the hell away!”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’ve known people who were perfectly happy to take food off of their parents’ plates for their entire lives. That’s something I just can’t get my head around.

                Why tho? Why can’t you get you’re head around it? One of my nephews is 28, still lives at home, doesn’t have a job, drinks all dad’s beer and eats all mom’s cooking. He’s sometimes a pain in the ass (well, who isn’t, I guess) and sometimes the parents get pissed, but he’s their kid and they’re doing the best they can with him and at the end of the day it works.

                The thing I can’t get my head around is that you can’t get your head around it, to be honest. Not confrontationally, mind. Just as an expression of honesty. So what if someone wants to live their life that way? (It’s not like he’s a drain on tax dollars…) Life and people is complicated.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                @saul-degraw @oscar-gordon @damon

                The problem with these kinds of conversations is that they assume no variations in humans.

                For example, most parents who tell their kids they have to move out after high school (or pay rent) don’t actually enforce that if times/situations are hard — it’s more a thing that is set up as a general expectation. I know a lot of people who want their kids to learn to be self-sufficient, Oscar and Damon, but I don’t know of any that would allow their kids to be homeless to drive that lesson home.

                But to take another end of that stick, there are also kids who graduate from high school who don’t go to school, don’t work, don’t look for work, and don’t pitch out around the house. The instinct to do this isn’t actually all that uncommon in kids (epically young men) whose brain is still 7 years away from truly maturing. If you are arguing, Saul and Lee, that in these cases a parent should be required to support that kid in that lifestyle, then we’re probably going to disagree.

                But what I expect is going on here is that everyone is looking at their own personal past or present situation and assuming everyone else at 18 is exactly like they/their kids were in an identical situation, and extrapolating from there.

                Bottom line: different kids need different things, and it’s every parent’s job to try to put together what your kid needs to help them be successful in life. And whatever that is might well not be what some other kid needs — even another kid of your own.

                And past that, I think the only thing I would add here is advice from an actual parent to guys who have never gone down that road: Saul and Lee, you guys really need to stop publicly talking about anyone who raises their kids at all differently than your dad raised you as perpetrators of child abuse. And I say that not from a “you are not allowed to say that here” POV so much as I am from a general friendly advice POV. It’s an incredibly bad look, and the overall effect that line gives off isn’t someone who knows how to parent kids so much as someone who has no clue and has never had to learn.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:


                I don’t understand the point you’re making about parents who compel freeloading loafers “whose brain is still 7 years away from truly maturing” to act as if they were maturely (bootstrappingly) self-sufficient. Maybe I’m just reading it wrong…

                Also: I’m not sure criticizing non-parents from offering parenting advice is a fruitful path to go down, since each and every one of us has been a (parented) child. And that’s not nothing.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                Lee and I are brothers. We are twins even! We believe in a lot of the same things but not everything we believe is the same. I never said child abuse and I would prefer you not extrapolate my brother’s beliefs to me. We are still individuals.

                I don’t think parents need to support loafers. I do think that definitions of loaf vary and some people might be overly strict.

                I also said I was curious into the history and sociology of why Anglo-American culture emerged with stronger ideas of “Independence begins at age X” than other societies and cultures which are more forgiving (or uncaring) on concepts of multi-generational living. I don’t see that as a horrible or cruel line of inquiry. Concepts and ideas don’t come out of thin air.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Massive wealth allows for stuff like people living on their own. Post WWII, we had massive wealth and a huge need for labor. If you got your high school degree and a job at the canning factory, why would you still live at home if you could get your own place? Hell, marry your high school sweetheart. You could make enough money to support you, her, and the 2.3 kids.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Massive poverty can also compel to leave their home and strike it out on their own and even leave for entirely different country. They might have to board with many other people in their new city, state, or country but they have left the parental abode.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, but that sort of thing doesn’t really lend itself to a “I can’t believe you’re 19 and still being fed by us!” conversation.

                Or, for every “when I was your age, I struck out on my own to protect my parents from my voracious hunger!”, you’re likely to get a “I am pleased to provide a house that never wants for a bowl of apples on the kitchen counter.”

                The moving out and becoming an adult romanticism doesn’t come from some weird idea of poverty. It comes from some weird idea of “that’s what you do because the goal is to have a child who can take care of herself”.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                This might be because I’m Jewish, but I really don’t get this. There is an oldish, meaning mid-20th century, Jewish joke that a “Jewish man with both parents alive is a fifteen year old boy and remains so until both are dead.” The Jewish ideal is that the parent-child relationship is life-long and that is that, no exceptions.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I think what you’re not getting is that we (USwhiteAmericans) are different than you, Lee.

                The other thing you’re not getting is that Jewish culture might derive its strength and resiliency, at least in part, precisely because of the things you “aren’t getting” about us.

                Just saying…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I still have a parent-child relationship with my mother.

                But let’s look at pop culture.

                What shows have mid-20’s people still living at home with their parents?

                I don’t watch a whole lot of shows, so I seriously don’t know the answer to this, but I can’t think of any television shows that do… Everybody Loves Raymond had the parents across the street or next door or something. The movie “Failure to Launch” showed not moving out as something that should have been shameful rather than something that was considered normal (it was also awful).

                What shows are about people who still live at home with their parents even though they’re out of college? I can’t think of one (but my knowledge is far from encyclopedic).

                Internet? Can you help?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Well, to be clear, I was only relating my experience. I make zero judgement on what others choose to do, since, as you say, it will vary.

                For me, as I look back, had I not been kicked out of the nest, I would have had a much harder time leaving because I was heavily dependant upon a social circle that was not good for me, long term. Leaving home kinda broke that dependency, as evidenced by the fact that 6 months later, as I left for basic, I told none of my friends what I was doing until after I had long since shaved my head and started living with 79 other men. I had already realized how dependant I was upon them, and I was honestly worried that if they knew, they would try to talk me out of it.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I find the child abuse allegation directly unfair. I said I thought it might be unwise to kick you kid’s out at a certain age but I never said it was abusive or that parents who did such should be treated as abusers.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                I was simply relaying an anecdote about a guy I worked with back in 1992. That’s not how I’d choose to raise my kids, but this guy was late 50s or 60s at the time and was very “old school”. Ultimately, it’s his call on how he wants to raise his own kids and none of my business.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                My kid had a particular deal — once he graduated HS, he got the summer off and the deal was as follows:

                1. If he’s in college full time, and has a good GPA, no rent.
                1a. GPA is based solely on the previous semester, not cumulative. 3.0 or higher? No rent. 2.0 to 3.0? Half rent. Under 2.0? Full rent.
                2. Not in college full time? Rent.

                Rewarded school and good grades, and also let him start taking financial responsibility (he was already covering his car insurance and cell phone plan) and get an idea of what sort of income he really needs if he wants to move out.

                And of course, being someone who has to learn the hard way, he’s recently started paying rent due to a really awful year at college where, as best as I can tell, he never actually attended being too busy with his friends. (It was his sophomore year, so I was a bit sandbagged. I thought he had it under control…usually it’s freshman year where you screw up like that)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                That’s what I’ll offer my kid if he chooses to go to school nearby. It’s perfectly reasonable.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I thought so. And it really is a good transition to him inevitably moving out, which he REALLY wants to. We do tend to cramp his style, existing in the house and all. 🙂

                I’m happy to subsidize his education by offering free room and board, but I’m not gonna waste money either. He ain’t cheap.

                If he moves out, the subsidies drop down to solely medical insurance (which is still a sweet deal for him) until he’s graduated or quit college completely, but that’s his choice and he’ll eventually go for that because he’s almost 20 and really wants to live on his own. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                That’s what I’ll offer my kid if he chooses to go to school nearby. It’s perfectly reasonable.

                Well, maybe. We have two kids and both of em have come back home/stayed home after HS. Fact is, we like having both of em around, and they like us, so teaching them “independence” wasn’t at the fore-front of my wife’s mind (certainly) or mine (it was located in back-front). Turned out well on all levels, since they both are the proud holders of certified genuine bonafide US bootstraps. (Well, they don’t have the “kicked out!” stamp on em, which maybe is an issue down at their local bar.)

                (BTW, both my wife and I were members of the “can’t kick em out fast enough” club, and that mighta influenced why we de-valued some the thinking behind doing so.)

                Adding: part of my perspective on this, I should add, is that I’m continually perplexed and saddened by the lack of familial connectivity apparent in American culture, especially in a relative sense. Why do so many of us think that getting away from our parents (or, alternatively, “living on yer own”) is such a high ideal?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                BTW, just to make it crystal clear (because it’s the internet and I’m prone to lack-of-clarity in my writing): no judgment is contained in the above comment, just an expression of our choices given the situation we were in.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                When I was a kid, my (youngest) aunt still lived with my grandparents and my mom (the oldest), expressed disdain that my aunt still lived at home even though she was 23 or 24.

                I lived at home until I was 25.

                I joked about that once and my mom explained that this was different. The 90’s were seriously different from the early 80’s.

                This might even have been true.

                I still look back and wince, a little.

                Edit: in my defense, I was going to college for the majority of that.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I lived at home until I was in my mid-twenties as well. I’m happy for my kid to.

                But the only reason I could live that way rent free (even if the rent is nominal) is because I was a full time student. I paid for my basic bills (car insurance and a phone line, back in the day) and stayed in school.

                My kid now? I’m not pushing him out the door, and the only reason he pays a nominal amount of rent (not even his ‘full share’, and he doesn’t pay anything for utilities, internet, cable, etc) is because I’d rather him be in school, and frankly his grades sucked last semester and he’s not even taking a full load this semester, college is clearly not a priority for him at this point. (I do suspect that will change, as he’s more than bright enough, it literally is a “I don’t consider college important” issue).

                But at nearly 20, I think he should be contributing a bit towards the house he lives in if he’s not going to be a student.

                (And for that matter, I’m using his rent money primarily for household repairs. His first two months rent are buying us a new dishwasher, which considering his one household chore — besides his own laundry — is dishes, is actually a net win for him. Yeah, he pays rent, but it’ll make his own life a bit easier too…)Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Despite rhetoric about family values from certain political cultures, American culture and society was always based around the individual. Adults who can’t function as individuals aren’t really given that much honor or status in American society but might find a place in some sub-sections.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Oh I know. Believe me, bro. That’s actually the deeper issue I’m gettin at. The topic extends to other issues too.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              That seems really dumb and more likely to cause problems than solve them. It’s generally best to ease people into things rather than make them take the plunge. It’s not always possible for a variety of reasons but it is the better system.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There’s a period where the newly-in-their-own-apartment kiddos do things like come over for dinner two or three nights a week and spend Saturday night at mom’s house doing laundry and watching a movie.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Depends on how it’s done.

                Tossing a kid into the water is kinda mean. Spending some time talking about the mechanics of swimming, maybe floating in the shallow end, then tossing them in the deep end just to force them past that hesitation/fear isn’t a bad idea, as long as you are also ready to dive in after them if they get into trouble.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                The latter is kind of how my parents raised Saul and I but it wasn’t exactly pushing us into the deep end. I’m just wondering how many parents of the 18 and out variety do some prep work or are willing to dive in and help. There seem to be many people that expect humans to magically become fully functioning adults at 18 even though that is stupid.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I suppose it varies. My wife teaches senior HS English, so she’s had students who basically support their own parents, she’s had students tossed out after graduation (or given the summer to move out), and even a few tossed out at 18.

                Seems to revolve around a lot of things, ranging from how well the parents and kids get along to local cultural stuff.

                Most parents around here, it seems, have a similar college policy to me (if you’re in college, no rent. Whether it’s summers at home, or going locally, etc).

                I have noticed that there’s a big exception called “If you move out, and then back in, rent happens regardless”.

                But I’ve been prepping my kid since he was 17. Started with a job to cover his cell phone bill, car insurance, and gas. Helping him do taxes, frank talks about how much medical insurance actually costs, the trade-offs on car insurance (he’s currently really annoyed that I won’t let him drop down to just liability, but if he wrecks his car I can’t and won’t buy him a replacement, so he needs SOME cash to either repair it or replace it, even as a downgrade), and even worked through the actual costs of renting — utilities, cable, internet, groceries, and where he can and can’t really cut costs — and what the trade-offs are.

                He’ll still screw it up, but I think I’ve put the fear of credit card debt into him at least. 🙂Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                My parents coddled Saul and I more than other people seemed to have been raised. I didn’t have my first real job until I graduated from law school and was completely economically dependent on my parents till than. They still managed to convince me why paying your bills in full is important.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Executive functioning skills generally don’t fully mature until 25… If they do at all. They can be developed but our schools aren’t particularly focused on them.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Semi-related to housing.

    There are a lot of articles on education along the lines of “Why can’t America have an educational system like Country X.” Depending on your ideology these articles go for s hyper-focused system or something like Finland. The Atlantic had an article on the joyous and illiterate kindergarteners of Finland that lamented American kindergarten has become too much like regular school.

    There was another article somewhere titled “What Americans don’t understand about Finnish schools.” IIRC the spoiler is that Finnish schools and society value equality over excellence.

    So much of American society and the ills like unaffordable housing seem to come because we value excellence over equality. The underlying rules and assumptions are that it is fine to have millions feel like they are barely treading water as long as we produce unstoppable superstars like Zuckerberg, Jobs, Birn, Larry Page, the Private Equity guys, etc.

    Housing feels connected to this. It almost feels like Americans want unaffordable housing as just another way to punish people for not being total excellers.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        “Ferengi workers don’t want to stop the exploitation, we want to find a way to become the exploiters.”Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Ha. The writers of Star Trek did compare the Ferengi to Yankee traders in their first appearence on the TNG. This was probably to avoid the comparison that would occur to most people first and get them in a lot of trouble.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    Micro housing: *shivers* If forced to live in something like that, the news report would end “and then took his own life”.

    Seattle diversity: ” It’s one thing to be diverse, it’s another thing for the city’s inhabitants to coexist.” Everyone wants diversity, they just don’t want to live in it.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I’m surprised your taking a stance against micro-housing. It might not be what you want but it is a market rather than government based solution to the affordable housing crisis.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        As such, you’re probably not surprised that “Seattle Killed Micro-Housing”, because Seattle isn’t a hugely “CAPITALISM UBER ALLES” place.

        Golly! It even talks about hot the government suppressed it in the article!

        Well, you know, capitalism isn’t the solution to everything.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          From my perspective, supporting or going against micro-housing has to do with market economics. Seattle went against micro-housing because NIMBYs played the game of politics to protect their wealth. Protecting wealth is a market activity.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Using the government to prevent things is a market activity.
            Self-defense is a market activity.
            Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn is a market activity.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              Markets are composed of business people and ordinary people acting in their self-interest. Using anything possible to create or preserve your wealth is a popular action.

              Your viewing markets as a pure force in the same way that many leftists don’t see government as consisting of individuals filled with virtues and flaws. You need market actors to have a market and those actors come with the usual human follies, vices, and virtues.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          In the same way that there is no such thing as a “fiscal conservative”, the broad altruistic ideas of diversity and equality are honored more in the breach.

          Like fiscal conservatism, diversity and equality are usually presented as cost-free and easily attainable unmitigated good things. Its not surprising that when the reality turns out to have a real cost, people recoil.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Its not surprising that when the reality turns out to have a real cost, people recoil.

            If we can’t pull it off in Seattle, why in the hell do we think we can pull it off anywhere else?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              People struggled to achieve what they considered to be justice in Seattle, and fell short.

              What is the alternative?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Attempting the possible?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Everything is possible, given time.

                Seriously, look at your own comments about animal ethics, about how things change over time.

                I’m not fond of the “arc of history bends towards justice” line like many leftists use, because it assumes an inevitable sweep of history towards a predetermined end.

                Instead, I see social change as a continual battle of shifting ideas and alliances and stakes. And this means that change can be negative, going from a time of relative peace and cooperation to outright war and hostility.

                Everything is impossible, until it becomes possible.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                You’d think that one of the most progressive cities in one of the most progressive states would be able to achieve something self-evidently Good.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I know you are using Good sort of tongue in cheek, but the article illustrates very well how Good is anything but self-evident.

                Although the writer is openly a champion of microhousing (and I agree with him) he also illustrates how housing market is inseparably intertwined with governmental control and subsidy and the interests of outside stakeholders.

                And it also illustrates how there are different conceptions of the Good.

                Yes, small affordable spaces are one form of Good; but light, air, and dignity are also conceptions of the Good.

                Further, buildings aren’t not isolated entities; they can’t exist without a complex web of connections to the larger community and the willing contribution and involvement of outside stakeholders.

                Physical connections like sewer, water, gas and electric; Legal connections like police and fire protection, schools and hospitals.

                Although I would want to tear my hair out over NIMBYs, I also have to admit that a building I favor also depends on the contributions and participation by those very same NIMBYs for all those connections;

                Its not unreasonable to say that 100 units of microhousing will have a different cost to me as a neighbor, than 50 units of standard 1 bedrooms. Shouldn’t I have some sort of say in my own participation?

                The point here is that the “battle” for microhousing isn’t over; it never is. Instead what we are witnessing is a slow back and forth dialog between the various interests and stakeholders over the various ways of providing housing.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                It’s interesting that you’re presenting all sorts of practical objections to something that is unquestionably Good.

                Try to imagine how it looks from the other end, when you propose something unquestionably Good and people reply with all this nitpicky ticky-tacky derail gaslighting trolling BS that is just an attempt to distract everything from the unquestionable Good.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                When have I presented something as unquestionably Good?
                Just because I favor something and believe it to be right and possible and good, doesn’t mean its unquestionably so.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            What irks me about the Seattle thing is that the city government leaders like to talk about how much of a need there is for affordable housing, and how little money there is for subsidies, and they campaign on it, and get elected on it, and the moment some small group of voters complains, those leaders abandon that line like they were getting shelled (instead of just yelled at).Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        I’m not “taking a stand”. I shiver at the thought of having to live in such a place. I can’t stand small spaces. I grew up in the country and “need” space, inside and out. If other folks want to live in a sardine can, by all means, but I won’t. That’s all I was saying. Additional, I don’t like large densely packed areas to live in, which is why I’ll never live in NYC or DC or such places.Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC says:

      Re: Seattle diversity.

      Seattle is 8% black, so more even distribution really means community dissolution. People or all races don’t want to live somewhere over 9 in 10 neighbors don’t look like them. How could you support a neighborhood barbershop? Or a church?

      There was a study recently that said white people don’t want more than 20% of their neighborhood to be black (the USA is ~13% black), whereas black respondents would prefer to live in a neighborhood that is closer to 50/50. This makes it hard to satisfy everyone. And even if you decided that it was OK to satisfy only black residents, you would still have mostly all-white neighborhoods. Any minority group, if spread evenly across residential neighborhoods in proportion with their percent of the population, will feel isolated, and rightly so. Any majority group in a minority neighborhood will feel like either gentrifiers (in which case minority status is a temporary thing) or interlopers on someone else’s territory.

      It’s tricky, because personal preference is one thing, but there is still discrimination in the real estate market. More black people would like to live in white neighborhoods than currently do so for reasons that have nothing to do with what they themselves want, and that’s a big problem. But these supposedly damning maps don’t tell the whole story, or even most of it.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        There was a discussion about this last week (I think?). People who care a lot about population segregation have to acknowledge that people will self-segregate, because they want to, and if there is no obvious external influence pushing people unfairly into certain areas, we need to be OK with it.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          People who care a lot about population segregation have to acknowledge that people will self-segregate, because they want to, and if there is no obvious external influence pushing people unfairly into certain areas, we need to be OK with it.

          Self-segregation is, in my book, theoretically fine at the neighborhood level.

          The problem is, it quickly gets to the point where it’s possible for the government to provide different level of services…and it almost immediately does so. The first to change is almost always the policing.

          Black people get treated differently in policing anyway, but black *neighborhoods* are a whole nother level…and also a whole lot easier to *justify* treating differently.

          At this point, it seems clear that the only way to stop society from being shitty to certain groups of people is, honestly, to distribute those people even throughout society so if that if society aims at them, it hits some people it doesn’t intend, people with actual political power who can go to newspapers.

          You know, white people.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


            Oh, yeah, I can totally see that. And I will reply with the same question I asked last week:

            How are you going to decide which family to pull from the neighborhood and where to stick them (and are you going to financially support them if they can’t make it work in that neighborhood)? What penalties will you levy if they decide to move back?

            That is nasty, sticky, messy can of social engineering. Perhaps it’s just easier to smack the police back in line, after all, theoretically, they work for you, and not for themselves.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC says:

            The first to change is almost always the policing.

            Yeah, that would have nothing to do with actual crime rates. You can overpolice to get a lot more citations and possession charges. But dead bodies are hard to ignore and any crime map will show you where to find those.

            There’s a reason I hardly ever see cops on my (quite racially mixed, actually) block. They’re not charging all and sundry with quality of life crimes. They’re also not doing community policing. That’s because they’re not getting pressure to cut crime by any means necessary because it’s negligible where I live. No little old ladies are calling in shots fired. No businesses are getting held up. Nobody has to step over a junkie passed out on their stoop.

            That’s part of why people don’t like when Move to Opportunity or a similar program is proposed for their neighborhood. You can agree theoretically that people who want to leave chaos and danger should do so, but there’s chaos and danger because people are causing it, and a group of people you don’t know and can’t really vet are coming from there. It’s a collective action problem.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC says:

              If you think the problem in minority communities is merely ‘overpolicing’, you are not paying attention.

              Minority communities are both over and *under* policed in various ways.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC says:

          People who care a lot about population segregation take a view of the world in which the decisions of individuals don’t count for much. When seeing a “segregated” neighborhood, their first intuition is to see it as social engineering done incorrectly by well-meaning people or done effectively by the bad guys. There’s undoubtedly an awful lot of that in our history (and not going on about that ad infinitum should not be read as diminishing it), but that doesn’t mean that in its absence the outcomes would be the opposite.Report

  6. Avatar notme says:

    While the league won’t punish Kaepernick for his disrespect of our country they will threaten to fine these guys for wearing cleats with a 9/11 theme. Only the right kind of speech is okay these days.

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      One of those two things is expressly against the rules. I personally think the uniform rules for players are way too tight, but they are what they are.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        They once limited a coach’s ability to wear a suit on the sidelines. Because suits don’t have sponsor logos. Making this about anything other than dollars and cents is silly.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos says:

          I’d slightly modify this, as the NFL could undoubtedly license the hell out of a lot of things they don’t let people wear. It’s about ensuring the fall’s styles don’t show up in the catalog before they’re ready for sale.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            I’m not sure I follow. Yes, the NFL could put logos on suits. I think that was actually a condition of the suit they did let him wear a few times, that the liner be logoed (but I could be wrong). But they don’t currently have those arrangements. Had the players approached the league in the offseason about their plans for teh shoes… or if the shoe company itself did… I bet you’d have had damn near everyone wearing them with all the proper swooshes or stripes or whatever. But you can’t show up day off and say you want to wear something because sponsors pay money to see their logos in certain places and if they don’t see those logos or see other logos instead, they’re going to be angry.

            We can argue whether this is how it should or shouldn’t be, but we can’t argue that it is how it is.

            I also wonder wear all the people upset about this issue were when things like doorags and bandanas and non-team hats got banned for similar reasons. Who stood up for Marshawn Lynch wearing his BeastMode brand stuff during media week?Report

            • Avatar Autolukos says:

              I think we’re on the same page; all I was saying is that the NFL is happy to prioritize control over money when the two come into conflict (though in the long run, they don’t conflict all that much).Report

    • disrespect

      You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.Report

    • It does’t matter what the menage is: uniforms have to be uniform. The Post writer knew that perfectly well, he just thought he could troll people who don’t.

      Anyway, the player’s union is paying the fine. Can we have a cheer for unions now?Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      The World According to @notme:

      Punishing athletes for not being participating in patriotic rituals is good, but punishing athletes for committing sexual assault is bad.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If you’ve been wondering “Hey, when are we going to start seeing articles about whether having pets is ethical”, I found this one.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I think it’s uncontroversial to say that pets raise ethical issues. “No pets ever” may be an extreme position, but it’d be nice if we talked about some of the issues more, and more openly.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        When I was a kid, “animal abuse” was an ethical question, but the question of having pets at all was not even close to being on the radar.

        What’s going to be an ethical question tomorrow?Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          I don’t know, but I bet some important ones will arise and we’ll think to ourselves, “How the hell did we not realize there were issues related to that?” Sort of like what happens with most social progress.

          (Also, I suspect when you were a kid there were plenty of people talking about the environmental ethics of domestic cats, for example.)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            When I was a kid, we had conversations about the ethics of declawing between the people who said “if it’s allowed inside, OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO DECLAW” and the hippie-dippy people who used words like “disfigure”.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Yeah, I bet there were also discussions about caging birds, about certain aspects of breeding (particularly with dogs, where over-breeding and breeding features that cause pain/disorders/likely illnesses is common). You might not have heard about them, of course, but I bet they were there.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                They manifested in “don’t buy pets from breeders or from the pet store… get your pet from the pound!” rather than “pets are unethical”, though.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                My sister-in-law was talking about the unethicality of owning pets 15-20 years ago. Presumably she got the idea from somewhere or someone.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                PETA has been saying pets are unethical since…always.

                It’s why they kill so many of them.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Much of philosophy, particularly ethics (though see, e.g.), in analytic philosophy involves taking premises to their (possibly absurd but) logical conclusions and then figuring out what sorts of conceptual or behavioral changes you would need to make to avoid the extreme position. I don’t see this as any different. There are times when I’ve wondered whether pet ownership is at all ethical, because the premises that take you there are fairly straightforward. Then I wonder how we can to a more ethical form of pet ownership/breeding/etc. based on some of what those premises reveal. That seems like a good thing to me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Every single cat in our house right now is a cat that we did not go out of our way to get. Two of them are hobos from the back yard who fought their way indoors, another two were cats that were pets that had to be abandoned by others (one pet came from a house of a guy who got sick, another came from a young couple who found themselves pregnant and freaked out googling toxoplasmosis).

                I’m 100% down with the whole ethical breeding thing.

                I’m finding myself wondering “do these people know what they’re talking about? Like, at all?!?” when it comes to pet ownership.

                The closest thing would be like me writing an essay about ethical parenting and lecturing you (and Will and Kazzy and everybody) about how they’re parenting unethically.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                I’m not sure we’ve even begun to engage the argument, merely to work our way around it wondering whether it’s too out there to engage.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I have some suspicions that it’ll be the CW in some corners… specifically because of the sheer number of people who don’t have pets. They’ll be able to argue “Oh, my not having pets is a moral choice that I have made!” rather than some default state of inaction.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Perhaps that’s true, but I’m more interested in the actual arguments.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I have actively resisted getting pets because I hate having pets. I’m both ethical AND not a jerk about it!Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Nah. Pet ownership spans economic, social, and racial lines. People who don’t have pets know people who do. Approved people who do.

                It’s only when it’s concentrated among the undesirables that there is likely to be a problem.

                So general pets are safe. Pitbulls less so.Report

              • I suspect it’ll be like childless people who claim that’s a moral choice, even though they obviously grew up in a non-childfree household.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Oh, sure. People may make that claim. But it won’t become CW.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There are corners of feminism that are exceptionally cat-positive. I rather expect that the “ethics of pet ownership!” argument will not succeed, like, AT ALL in this particular corner.

                Though I could see the argument about pet ownership making traction if it were limited to dogs.

                “Domestication is slavery. Cats aren’t domesticated.” Something like that.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            I believe Tod once did a “barfight” post about current behaviors that we will look back on and see as monstrous. Much conversation about animals was had, if I recall.

            I know personally that my stance on animals is almost surely going to make me look like a monster to future generations. It is why I’m considering changing it. Not because of the animals. But because it might still be ethical to treat monsters like monsters in the future. And I don’t want to be treated like a monster.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          I suspect people talked about a lot of things when you were a kid but you were not exposed to them because they were published in small magazines with smaller circulations.

          Now with the Internet, the small magazines and Time can reach an equal number of people theoretically.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          What’s going to be an ethical question tomorrow?

          Why does this trouble us? I guess its troubling to think that what we regard as unshakable truth is actually shifting sand, and what is sacred today becomes profane tomorrow.
          I would be lying to say I am any different, but I’ve also seen how refreshing and positive it is to grow and change and re-evaluate ourselves and behavior.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Troubled? I’m fascinated. I love watching what everybody knows morph into something else entirely, and watching matters of taste evolve into matters of morality and devolve back.

            I guess its troubling to think that what we regard as unshakable truth is actually shifting sand, and what is sacred today becomes profane tomorrow.

            My old assumptions were that “sacred” and “profane” should not be interchangeable with “fashionable” and “unfashionable”.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          What’s going to be an ethical question tomorrow?

          If we knew that, wouldn’t it be an ethical question today?

          That being said, the argument they’re making doesn’t even look particularly novel. The observation that very few people believe animals have rights in any way resembling the way humans have rights is closer to banal than outrageous.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            The observation that very few people believe animals have rights in any way resembling the way humans have rights is closer to banal than outrageous.

            That observation is banal.
            The whole “but they’re wrong!” is what makes it interesting.

            If we knew that, wouldn’t it be an ethical question today?

            When you look back at the ethical lapses of our ancestors, do you ever get the feeling that they should have known that this or that or this other thing was wrong?Report

        • Owning slaves. Which is ridiculous: it’s in the Bible!Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I agree with this. Human civilization only exists as we know it because of domestication and the first thing we domesticated or it domesticated itself is the ur-pet, the dog. A lot of people get pets without really understanding what is involved with them though like the fact that birds like parrots could live just as long as a human and get really emotionally attached or that dogs can’t take care of themselves and do get lonely.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          With animals like parrots, I wonder if it’s possible to keep them ethically at all. It’s a highly intelligent social animal that can fly, so keeping it boxed up with minimal stimulation in a place where it walks or stands around all day seems cruel. Even the best parrot owners who spend a lot of time with them and keep them highly stimulated are still stuck with the “wide ranging smart animal with wings” problem.

          Dogs have basically been remade to live in a hybrid “pack” with humans as part of it, so as long as they’re physically comfortable and live their lives in a pack with healthy social interaction, it seems like they’re living the good life. I work from home, so my dog rarely has much time when she’s not resting at the feet of a human, playing, or going for a walk.

          As an avid fish keeper, I’m often disturbed by how fish work out as pets for most people.

          I have no idea what cats want.Report

          • I have no idea what cats want.

            To be king of the world.

            And cat food.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            I think your post really illustrates that any analysis (assuming the question is taken seriously) needs to be done on a species by species basis. I’ve read articles suggesting that anywhere you have humans and wolves in the same general geographic area you will inevitably end up with dogs. I’m not sure that it qualifies as the scientific definition of symbiosis but you can see how each species benefits in primitive conditions, assuming reasonably humane treatment of the dogs (we get hunting help and burglar alarms, they get food and shelter).

            It might be different with other animals, though I also think anyone arguing that pet ownership is in itself unethical needs to have ‘what’s next’ pretty thoroughly outlined. Even if I were to be convinced that was true it doesn’t resolve the next problem, that being is it ethical to alter animals over generations to make them dependent on humans then release them defenseless into the wild, or even more extreme, euthanize them?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Periodically catch wild/feral ones and spay/neuter them, then release them back into the wild.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                Sounds kind of like alien abduction.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                One summer, Maribou and I caught 16 cats in the back yard, spayed/neutered them, then put them back.

                This struck me as something that my ancestors would not understand.

                I wrote a short dialog between one of my viking ancestors and myself here.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                I like that thought experiment. I was about to say I might start trying it on my own but I’m worried it would only make me depressed in a very cosmic sort of way.

                Instead I’ll anthropomorph-ize those cats in my mind, and assume at least one put up a ‘the truth is out there’ poster.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            What cats want: Opposable thumbs.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

              This cannot be allowed to happen. Whatever they want after they get opposable thumbs cannot possibly be in our best interests.

              Dogs with opposable thumbs would just get into the pantry and open the cans.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:


                About 6 months ago one of my dogs (the precocious, intelligent one who compelled me to change all our exterior door knobs) jumped onto a counter below some upper kitchen cabinets, opened the cupboard door, and pulled down (I imagine he did this with his teeth but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did so with his front paw) a 5 lb. bag of Hershey’s Kisses that we use to make chocolate treats. He, and the other dog, proceeded to eat about 2 lbs of said kisses (and shat foil wrappers for almost a week).

                He is also, perhaps fortunately, a bit of a small-mammal killer. So if cats ever get opposable thumbs his talents might become very useful.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                All that glitters is not gold!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The … stuff .. was easier to find on nighttime walks, enough so that I briefly thought about making those wrappers a part of his regular diet.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      I’m of the opinion we allow a lot of animals as pets that we really should not.

      I would like to see some evidence that birds can live happy lives in a cage, for example.

      I think whether or not something can be a ‘pet’ should have a bit more requirements than ‘Not an illegal exotic animal’ and ‘not obviously dangerous’. That we, as society, should have to sign off on each type of animal, along with specific rules about how it can be contained and treated.

      I’m not sure there are *any* animals that could live ‘naturally’ as pets…except obviously we domesticated a bunch of animals thousands of years ago, so they’re fine *now*.

      But I want some sort of….well, ‘psychological evaluation’ of all species that we haven’t spent thousands of years evolving into human cohabitors. The ones we pull straight from the wild and say ‘Tada, you’re a pet!’Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        One advantage to being a type of animal that is domesticated is that you’re less likely to be an animal that is eaten. The difference between pigs and dogs, who are (from what I understand) otherwise pretty comparable. One has the fortune of being cuter, the other has the misfortune of tasting good.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Wolves seem to have self-domesticated themselves into dogs. This means that dogs are as natural as a pet as you can get because they decided to bond with humans on something close to their own volition.Report

        • My understanding, which could well be wrong, is that there isn’t really a consensus on how wolves became domesticated.

          But stipulating for the sake of discussion that they did, was this ethical behavior?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            You might be remembering the same theory I learned as a wee lad: that wolves gravitated towards increasing proximity to human groups because the eating opportunities improved, and slowly, over time, in a sorta symbiotic relationship, humans encouraged them to get closer (because they could alert humans to predators) and they wanted to (because the eatin was easier).

            Makes some sense, I guess. The alternative is that a three year old hunter-gatherer kid came across a wolf pup and pleadingly said to her parents “can we keep it?”Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            The current theory is that humans domesticated wolves into dogs twice. Once in Asia Minor and the other somewhere in what is now China. Dogs from the East migrated West with humans and mated with Western dogs to create current dogs.


        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          I recall reading somewhere recently that when compared to the gray wolves from which they are descended, dogs are able to extract lots more calories from cooked cereal grains. The hypothesis is that some of the selection that went on was for wolves who thrived — or at least did better — on all of the left-overs, not just meat.

          Note that this is part of the reason for not feeding dogs too much cat food or vice-versa. Cats are much closer to pure meat-eaters than modern dogs.Report

  8. Avatar notme says:

    Dropout by Dartmouth Raises Questions on Health Law Cost-Savings Effort

    Looks like O care is starting to fall apart.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I love a good blackbean burger. It isn’t beef but if you aren’t looking for beef, it can be great. I also find it more accepting of certain condiments, like guacamole and jalapenos, which I don’t always find work texture-wise with a beef burger.Report

    • The few black bean burgers I’ve had were pretty tasty. I tend to like veggie burgers when they don’t try to be meat. Faux meat is disgusting (to me). If I want meat, I’ll eat real meat. (#firstworldproblems).Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Agreed. That is my problem with many vegan restaurants: they’re trying to replicate an experience and simply deliver a subpar version. If I want beef with broccoli, I’m ordering beef with broccoli. Don’t give me “beef” with broccoli. Now, if you want to make me a vegetable stir-fry with a yummy sauce, fuck yea man!Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Yet another story that has a headline that makes me say WHAT THE HELL! and a story that makes me say “oh… that headline is not representative of the story… like… at all…”

    Here’s the headline (copied and pasted):

    Black caucus pledges to halt Maryland medical marijuana licensing

    So far, so good, right?

    Here’s the story:

    The Legislative Black Caucus plans to use any means necessary to stop Maryland’s medical marijuana commission from issuing final licenses until more are awarded to minority-owned businesses.


    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Do the people who write articles also write the headlines?

      I mean I know we write our own headlines here. But I see so much of this discrepancy I can’t help but think there are two different camps with two different agendas nowadays.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I’ve heard, over and over, that stories are written by the journalists and the headlines are written by the editors.

        I imagine that that is exactly how it worked in the 70’s.

        I can’t help but think there are two different camps with two different agendas nowadays.

        It makes sense if you imagine one of the camps being the “let’s cut off our nose to spite our face” camp.

        It’s difficult for me to see the misalignment between the headline and the story as anything but an attempt at advocacy (and I think I support what they’re advocating, maybe?) but I get to “you can’t trust the newspaper” rather than “you can’t trust the guy who wrote the headline for the story that was written by someone else entirely”.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          As I see it, the endgame in all of this is for a short article regurgitating whatever the White House Press Secretary said will be headlined, “Naked Pictures of Jennifer Aniston” or “Punch the Monkey and Win a Prize.” We’ve already decided that sensational headlines only need to be peripherally related to the article, so why not just go all the way?Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          I just assume the article writer is (usually) attempting to do real journalism and reporting while the headline writer (whoever that is) is (usually) attempting to generate clicks (i.e., make money).Report

  11. Avatar Dave Regio says:

    Gabriel Conroy:
    The few black bean burgers I’ve had were pretty tasty. I tend to like veggie burgers when they don’t try to be meat. Faux meat is disgusting (to me). If I want meat, I’ll eat real meat. (#firstworldproblems).

    Well, you’re just a cancer causing necrovore now aren’t you?

    I had a run-in with a hardcore vegan activist last week. Got called every name in the book, including the above.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      ‘Necrovore’ seems to be the winner of the contest of ‘What word can we invent that sound disturbing, but means something that is the *opposite* of disturbing?’Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          A necrovore is just someone who eats *dead things*. Which means, for animal eaters, it’s *less* disturbing than the alternative, which would be eating things that are still alive!

          And this vegan is almost certainly a necrovore, too.

          It is theoretically possible to eat living plants, but unless you’re literally picking and eating them right there, no you aren’t. As plants lack nervous systems, there’s some interesting questions about when they actually ‘die’, but it’s generally considered soon after harvest.

          But even if you want to assert that uncooked and unprepared fruits and vegetables are ‘still alive’ for some time…there’s not any source of *protein* I can think of that people eat unprepared.

          Beans (including soy) have to be cooked to be eaten, as do oats, and wheat, and rice. So unless the vegan is malnourished and not eating any protein, they’re eating dead things.Report

        • Avatar Dave Regio says:


          I guess so. This kid was completely off the rails. He was ripping into a vegan activist that I respect for not being the kind of militant vegan that shames people into veganism.

          If I wasn’t old enough to be his Dad, I probably would have been a bit harder on him. I’m not a fan of that kind of activism.Report

    • Evangelical vegans are pretty special. Ask one of them about why honey is evil.Report

        • The one that stuck with me was the very earnest young man who was convinced that the only reason beekeepers existed was to sell honey and if everyone would stop exploiting the soft cuddly bees then there would be no beekeepers anymore.

          This was in the middle of the freakout about colony collapse disorder, where you couldn’t turn around without knocking over an earthy-crunchy magazine that was flipping out about HOW ARE WE GOING TO GROW (x) IF ALL THE BEES ARE DEAD. It was the sort of disconnect from reality that would make the Trump campaign envious.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Vegans can get kind of special at times. I had a college professor who thought it was immoral to eat animals but apparently had no problem wearing them. Modern humans might eat too much meat and animal by-product but eating meat, fish, and their by-products is what made us human.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Honey soit qui mal y pense.Report

  12. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Man, I remember the outrage of the ending of HIMYM, and how I found myself, once again, agreeing with everyone that the end of a work of fiction was crap, but not in the way everyone else thought.

    The actual thing everyone had a problem with (The mother dying, Ted ending up with Robin.) I *liked*. I think people were upset because it violated the supposed premise of the show: a) Ted is searching for The One to marry, b) he meets and marries the mother, so c) The mother must be The One.

    Not only was (c) just sorta a conclusion people came up with themselves, but, uh, that entire premise was bullcrap. Ted is not a fairy-tale prince. HIMYM was, mostly, set in the real world. There is no magical perfect person to find. Ted was a delusion loon from the very start. Did you guys…not notice that?

    I think the story was trying to tell us that, but it did a *really bad job* of summing up.

    And it also was painful with: a) The idiotic wedding and horrific divorce of Barney and Robin, b) Barney’s character totally regressing until he has a kid with some random person, then he’s good, c) Ted apparently not realizing why he’s telling this story or that he still cares about Robin until his kids explain it.

    I want people to imagine the entire story happens as is, the last season is even the wedding, and it *crashes and burns* in every possible way, showing that Barney and Robin can’t work, and get called off.

    And Barney learns people who treat women like he does don’t get happy endings…and, as the narration tells us, he mostly took it to heart. Some backsliding, sure, but he changed. And now he’s in a happy and long term relationship with someone (Perhaps someone from previously.) and that Barney is almost totally unrecognizable to the Barney Ted is describing.

    And then, Ted explains, *as the kids know full well*, Ted has been dating Robin for the past year, and, well, he’s about to ask Robin to marry him. But, you know, not as a crazy person.

    And he wanted to make sure they understood that *everything he thought* about romance was wrong, literally *everything*, and that no one should spend their time trying to find The One. If you are happy in a relationship, be happy, if you are unhappy, weigh whether or not you want out. There is no such thing as perfection, and in the end, that doesn’t even *mean* anything.

    Instead, we got them doing a wedding for an *entire season*, then undoing it in narration and flash-forwards. Uh, really?Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko says:

      Man, I remember the outrage of the ending of HIMYM, and how I found myself, once again, agreeing with everyone that the end of a work of fiction was crap, but not in the way everyone else thought.

      Me too! We should start a really cranky podcast or something.Report

    • My general take on the show is that it was unusual in that the writers actually knew from the start where it was headed. Consider the clips with the kids. They are always the same age. I don’t see how you could fake that with actors that age over seven years. So they seem to have all been taped early in the process. I suppose that it is possible they taped a whole shitload of different material and only used the ones that fit how the show actually turned out, but I think rather that the ending was planned all along.

      The problem is that after six years of meandering aimlessly and/or developing the characters, the writers had no idea how to get from there to the ending. There clearly was a massive brain cramp as they were planning the final season. They ended up putting in the final episode all the material that should have been spread out over the entire season. In the meantime they persuaded the viewers to fall in love with The Mother, making the final quick kill-off that much worse.

      Oh, and Alyson Hannigan was criminally under-utilyzed throughout the entire series. She is the love of my life (sorry, woman I married…) and the reason I started watching the show in the first place.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        They filmed all the scenes with the kids pretty early on together, because obviously they didn’t want the kids aging. And they filmed two endings with an eye towards using either one but with a preference for the one they used.

        I agree with a lot of David’s criticism. My main criticism is for me Ted’s letting go of Robin was a huge, huge story arc that began very early and ended very late. And then was completely undone in the last episode. While I guess I was supposed to view it as a love story, to me it was an unlove story.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          And they filmed two endings with an eye towards using either one but with a preference for the one they used.

          Yeah, and, you know, if they were really stuck with that, I’d actually be okay with *that* part of the ending still, although I suspect it would have been possible to edit it into *Ted* being less stupid. I’d prefer ‘Going to propose’, but I could live with ‘wanted permission to start dating’, and that would even let them include that blue french horn thing.

          It was the whole Barney and Robin thing that actually derailed the ending.

          And the real joke is, when Barney and Robin dated earlier, and it quickly ended, the producers were surprised by how much the fans loved it, and *that* is why they got back together. Seriously, the producers said that.

          They said wrote Barney and Robin first dating arc basically to get it out of the way, (Because otherwise there’s no reason for Barney not to be trying to hook up with her the entire time.) and wrote as mutual a breakup as they could to keep the group from having issues. All on purpose. And the fans said ‘Hey, we love the idea of them together!’ and they said ‘Herp-derp, sounds great! That won’t collide with our master plan at all!’.

          Uh, guys? If Barney and Robin are the fan-preferred couple, you need to *either* go with it as an ending, *or* you need to shoot it down and hope the fans give up. Pick one. What you *exceptionally* don’t need to do is build the entire last season around them, and then destroy them in the last episode. Why, that sort of thing will get you rated as the third worse finale in TV history.

          . My main criticism is for me Ted’s letting go of Robin was a huge, huge story arc that began very early and ended very late. And then was completely undone in the last episode. While I guess I was supposed to view it as a love story, to me it was an unlove story.

          That should have been handled (and was) the first time Robin and Barney got together…until the producers decided to, hey, let’s make Ted and Barney’s background competition over Robin an arc over the rest of the series!

          Was the point that Ted’s expectations were unrealistic? As much as that is what *I* want the point to be, I can’t say for sure it was what was intended.

          Was the point that Ted needed to get over Robin to find The One? If that was the point, way to not make any sense, ending.

          Was the point that Ted and Robin belonged together? Uh, maybe?

          Was the point that there can be multiple The Ones? Huh?

          Was the point that Barney could only change from objectifying women as only sexual objects, to…uh…objectifying woman as only sexual objects *and he doesn’t like it*? (Seriously, what the hell sort of character development was that?!)

          What, even, was the damn hell point?Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            DavidTC: Why, that sort of thing will get you rated as the third worse finale in TV history.

            Who do people consider #1 and #2, because I consider HIMYM the absolute worst for all the reasons you say.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              “Saint Elsewhere” and “The Simpsons”.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco says:

              Star Trek: Enterprise would have to be right up there. Blackadder Goes Forth wouldn’t be.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                The list of great series finales is an easier task. That edition of Blackadder is definitely on the list, Newhart in on that list, Sopranos is on that list. A bit harder is making sure the merely very good don’t get on the great list – MASH and Star Trek TNG are at the top very good but not great list.Report

              • Justified. It did this weird thing of first wrapping up the season and using the last 15 minutes or so to wrap up the series as a whole, but that last bit was great.Report

              • And speaking of last bits, rather than last episodes, Six Feet Under and The Wire.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                You know, I may be overestimating the importance of last bits in my criteria for great series finales. Or maybe not – “Sorry, we’re closed” elevates Cheers from very good to great.

                (Agree on Shield above, for the same reason – ending on Vic Mackey in his own personal hell was pitch perfect.)Report

              • Avatar rexknobus says:

                Gotta throw in a “Buffy” cheer here. Seven seasons of “there is only two ways this can end — she dies or she is cursed with her task forever.” And Mr. W found a whole ‘nother way. And, by the way, added a twist that made the entire series an extended novel about Willow. Masterful work.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC says:

              I don’t actually know, the article I was reading just said ‘third worse finale’. I have no idea where that was rated.

              This is one of those questions that I feel is almost entirely determined by viewing audience size, though.

              And a lot of people confuse ‘bad ending’ with ‘bad finale’. The *finales* to Lost and Heroes, for example, were perfectly fine for shows that had completely gone off the rail and lost their plot. X-Files, too.

              The ending to Third Rock from the Sun was pretty horrible.

              The ending to Merlin was just stupid.

              The *ending* to Quantum Leap was fine. The last title card was *not*.

              Things I have not watched with supposed bad endings: Roseanne, True Blood, DexterReport

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Battlestar Galactica definitely deserves to be in this discussion.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                Ayup. I think they made at least half of those lead-up-to-the-finale episodes as they went along and then with the ghosts and… ugh.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                What made it truly offensive was the way it undermined the themes of the rest of the series so thoughtlessly. In a series that takes political conflict extremely seriously, Lee recommends that they become hunter gatherers (for no reason) and everyone immediately agrees off-screen. It reminded me of the end of Mass Effect 3 in that respect.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Battlestar Galactica fits in the same category as Lost and Heroes.

                And, to a lesser extend, X-Files, although that was still an prototype and different in various ways. (This didn’t really get refined until B5 showed us what the category was *pretending* to be.)

                It’s the genre of TV where the audience ignores inconsistencies and plot failures and (often) crappy characterization that is used solely to drive the plot and all sorts of things…because the audience has been tricked by a promise of it all making sense in the end. So all that crappy stuff, as they’re watching, has two possible states. It’s like a magic trick, a way to get the audience to accept nonsense.

                If I was a meme type person, and knew where to find a generator, I’d make one of Fry squinting: NOT SURE IF INCONSISTENCY IS IMPORTANT CLUE OR JUST CRAPPY WRITING

                And then it *doesn’t* make sense in the end, the box with Schrodinger’s cat opens and the cat is long dead, and the audience comes down, *hard*, on the series finale(1), often blaming *it* for all sorts of things, when the problem was actually that the entire series sucked and wasn’t well thought out at any point. The show was basically just *borrowing* from the future with ‘This will all eventually make sense’, and the future came up short, causing a huge expectations backlash.

                Mass Effect 3’s problems were…not quite that. Yes, the answers to some fundamental questions were dumb, but not *that* dumb, and that, by itself, would have been okay. It was that *plus* a bunch of broken promises and a total failure to understand how players thought about player choice in the Mass Effect universe that caused the backlash.

                1) Except with Heroes, which was such a cluster that it had fallen apart earlier, and they didn’t even bother to try to explain anything. Or maybe they did…who the hell was still watching Heroes at the end? That’s one way to avoid an expectations backlash…have no one have any expectations of you.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                Battlestar Galactica is a good example of one of those series finales that get lots of people worked up, but doesn’t bother me a bit. The show is ostensibly about a fleet full of people looking for a new home, but I guess I just view that as the set up for the various narratives and character arcs that make up the show. I enjoy those immensely.

                For me, the finale was more like a curtain call. The actors break character and you’re reminded that you’re watching a piece of theater that has to end.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                The *finales* to Lost and Heroes, for example, were perfectly fine for shows that had completely gone off the rail and lost their plot…

                Never watched more than a few episodes of Heroes, but Lost was never on the rails. It was always about a series of loosely connected mindfucks, so I agree that the ending was fitting.

                I’ve been in this conversation before, but I don’t understand the focus on endings. If you go to see a ninety-minute movie, you don’t make up your mind based on the last seven minutes; maybe you do, if it’s a thriller where the last-second plot twist adds something to the movie. But most movies aren’t powered by last-second plot twists.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Even more so with TV shows than with movies, I agree. I hear a lot of people say something to the effect that a bad ending ruined the whole show for them, and I don’t understand that at all. You had a good experience for the first five seasons or whatever, so how can your dissatisfaction with the ending somehow reach back in time and convert that pleasure into displeasure?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                I hear a lot of people say something to the effect that a bad ending ruined the whole show for them, and I don’t understand that at all. You had a good experience for the first five seasons or whatever, so how can your dissatisfaction with the ending somehow reach back in time and convert that pleasure into displeasure?

                This is something that seems logical, but a) is not how people think, and b) is not actually that logical anyway.

                Of course nothing actually goes back in time and alters their actual satisfaction, but, this shows no knowledge of how memory works. No one actually remembers how they felt watching 99% of TV. Those memories are just confabulated based on how much they like the show *now*. Disliking something in the present will, indeed, make them dislike it in the past.

                This is pretty basic human knowledge, and applies everywhere. After a bad breakup, memories of that person are not going to be as enjoyable.

                Meanwhile, it’s totally ruined *future* viewings of the show. A good deal of the enjoyment of watching fiction involves *where it is going*.

                The first time, that’s a bit of mystery, and there can be a lot of enjoyment in figuring it out.

                On repeated viewings, you already know where it’s going. If it’s going somewhere fun, or interesting, the show can be enjoyable. If it’s going somewhere crap, enjoyment is greatly decreased.

                Again, pretty basic knowledge of how fiction works.

                None of this is particularly complicated, and all this highfalutin above-it-all ‘Why do people care about fiction that much? Those losers!’ attitude is a bit silly.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                The landing is a very important part of the flying experience.

                Along these lines, too often shows try to make the landing an event unto itself. That’s often a mistake.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                If you go to see a ninety-minute movie, you don’t make up your mind based on the last seven minutes; maybe you do, if it’s a thriller where the last-second plot twist adds something to the movie. But most movies aren’t powered by last-second plot twists.

                Yeah, actually, you do.

                Well, I don’t know, maybe you’re some special snowflake, but the last ten minutes or so of a movie do actually determine more about how people feel about it than any other ten minutes. (The first ten minutes are pretty important also.)Report

              • Avatar j r says:


                The landing is a very important part of the flying experience.

                That analogy doesn’t work for me. I’m on a plane about once a month and the landing doesn’t hold any special place in the flight for me. Mostly, it’s just the time when I have to put my seat up and wait until we get to the gate, so I can stand up, get my stuff, and get to where I’m going. The only special significance that the landing has is a higher probability of accident than the middle of the flight. So, as long as my television doesn’t explode and kill me during the final episode, I’m good.


                Well, I don’t know, maybe you’re some special snowflake, but the last ten minutes or so of a movie do actually determine more about how people feel about it than any other ten minutes.

                Notice that you had to change what I said to try and make this point. I didn’t say the last ten minutes. I said the last seven minutes. And I used seven minutes, because it’s 1/13th of 90 minutes. Since, most TV seasons are more than 13 episodes – and when we are talking about series finales, we’re talking about many more episodes – seven minutes is the upper limit. Most of the time, we’re really talking about the last two or three minutes of a movie.

                Most movies and TV shows follow an arc. The beginning establishes the characters, the first two-thirds establish the narrative tension, and the last third resolves that tension. And most don’t wait until the closing scene or last episode to resolves that tension. Usually, those exist mostly as epilogue. If you care a great deal about epilogue, fine, but lots of people don’t.

                If you caeReport

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Notice that you had to change what I said to try and make this point. I didn’t say the last ten minutes. I said the last seven minutes. And I used seven minutes, because it’s 1/13th of 90 minutes. Since, most TV seasons are more than 13 episodes – and when we are talking about series finales, we’re talking about many more episodes – seven minutes is the upper limit. Most of the time, we’re really talking about the last two or three minutes of a movie.

                Most movies and TV shows follow an arc. The beginning establishes the characters, the first two-thirds establish the narrative tension, and the last third resolves that tension. And most don’t wait until the closing scene or last episode to resolves that tension. Usually, those exist mostly as epilogue. If you care a great deal about epilogue, fine, but lots of people don’t.

                So let me see if I follow this silliness.

                You are asserting that you picked seven minutes because you claim you were talking about *epilogues*, and proportionally, seven minutes is how long the last episode is, and as that is how long epilogues are in movies, the last episode must be an epilogue?

                First, WTF are you talking about? That is not how TV shows work. TV shows are not a single story stretched out over the entire runtime of the series.

                I can’t think of *single TV finale* that has ever been an epilogue. Why? Because that would have no damn story! (Note that wrapping up loose plot points is *not* an epilogue. That’s a denouement.)

                TV finales, almost always, include the climatic battle for the entire series, if that makes sense for the show. (Or, at least, one of them. Often there are two problems and they wrap them up in two different episodes.) Various plots usually do end a bit early, with maybe a third of their runtime left to the epilogue, but they’re sure as hell not *all* epilogue.

                I, for completely random reasons, rewatched the last episode of Psych last night. Checking right now, the episode is ~47 minutes, the climax, a car chase, wraps up at ~32 minutes, leaving 14 minutes for the epilogue of the series itself (And one minute for ‘the wacky adventure continues’ at the very end.)

                That was a series, it must be noticed, that didn’t *have* any sort of arc it needed to wrap up. It introduced, and solved, a completely new crime in the last episode, and spent a good portion of its time doing so.

                This not to say there hasn’t been a finale TV episode that was pure epilogue, I can’t claim to have watched all TV ever, but that is simply not how TV works in general, and your idea that the runtime of an episode is *proportional* to the length of a epilogue in movies so must itself be entirely the epilogue is just…slightly insane. By that logic, the first episode wouldn’t be allowed to have a climax of any sort.

                Second, as your premise is based on the fact that a epilogue is seven minutes in a movie…do you have *any* evidence of that to start with? The Avengers, for example, has a epilogue of 3 minutes. 7 minutes would actually be pretty long for pure *epilogue*. Star Wars VII, I must admit, *did* have an ‘epilogue’ that long…and it was, in fact, *really long* watching it. (Although, technically, finding Luke was a *denouement*, in that it wrapped up a subplot, but I think maybe you’re confusing those two?)

                You do realize that some movies have no epilogue at all? They just solve the main plot and *end*. Or they solve the main plot, have a denouement to solve something else and end. You don’t actually need an epilogue if you set things up where fixing the plot problems leaves people in an obvious good place.

                Third…why the *hell* do you think screwing up the epilogue can’t ruin a story? That is so absurd I don’t even know how to respond. The epilogue is *literally how viewers are supposed to get closure on the story*.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                You know what, @davidtc? You’re right.

                You have proven that my opinions are silly and yours are unequivocally correct. Everyone should care deeply about series finales, even those of us don’t. Congrats!Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Amount of my post pointing out that series finales are not *actually* an epilogue (Which is, indeed, a factual assertion.) despite them being proportionally the length you proclaimed was how long epilogues lasted: Six paragraphs.

                Amount of my post pointing out that ninety minute films probably average a lot *less* than seven minutes for an epilogue, maybe films have no epilogue at all, and that seven minutes is an extreme outlier for epilogue length (Again, a factual assertions): Two paragraphs.

                Amount of my post pointing out that people do actually care about epilogues, so even if all your facts were right and series finales *were* epilogues, that’s a very strange justification to say they’re not important: One paragraph

                *That* last one was an opinion. The last paragraph.

                But instead, feel free to pretend my entire post was me saying ‘People do indeed care about series finales’ instead of me pointing out that your premise of ‘series finale==epilogue’ was completely, *factually*, incorrect.

                Series finales are not epilogues, under the definition of epilogue. They do not even serve the same purpose as an epilogue. If there is a series arc, they are almost always *climaxes*, if not, they are shorted normal episodes. This is then followed by a series denouement, if needed (Sometimes that takes place before the climax, so the climax can truly wrap *everything* up.), and then, finally, by a series epilogue, if needed. All in one episode.

                You are entitled to your own opinion about whether or not an epilogue is important to you. You’re not entitled to your own opinion about what part of a story is an epilogue, or how long epilogues generally last.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                tl;dr – JR: ‘I don’t see why people get upset about finale episodes. They’re just only the equivalent of the epilogue of the movie, and whoever got upset at one of *those*? I mean, people still have the *rest* of the movie they can watch, who really cares how it *ends*?’Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                Babylon Five, season five. Which is to say, networks F with the plot arc, and it’s gonna go south fast. See also Firefly, original broadcast schedule.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The writers might have planned everything out in advance but they forgot that American television shows tend to go on for as long as possible because of money.Report

  13. Avatar Stillwater says:

    DJ Trump and the Deplorables:

    “Hillary Clinton has not apologized to those she slandered. In fact, she hasn’t backed down at all,” Trump said. “If Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, I don’t see how she can credibly campaign any further.”

    Crazy? Absurd? Fact-free? Sure. But it’s an absolutely awesome display of (crazy, absurd, fact-free) power politics.

    She’s in trouble….Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      The irony is that her statement arguably has all three of the top defenses against a claim of defamation: truth, being an opinion, and not actually damaging the other party’s reputation…Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I agree. The (Machiavellian…) beauty of Trump’s whole … Trumpiness is that none of that matters. He can, and will, continue to pound on her until she capitulates or gets the upper hand (ie., enough retail political leverage) to turn the tide. And she’s just not good at the latter.

        {{Also, weren’t they friends not all that long ago…?}}Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      “I think that in retrospect we could have handled it better in terms of providing more information more quickly,” Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

      Another apology. Which just fosters the Culture of Secrecy that’s maligning that campaign, no? I just can’t figure out what the hell these (highly paid) folks are doing.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David says:

        Waging last years war.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Yeah….you would think the D’s could find one person on staff whose job is solely to stop these quarter assed apologies. They assuage nobody and make them look worse for it.

        It just makes the idiots in the press want to ask about it more like its actually an issue or something. CNN is going to start a How many glasses of water has Hillary been drinking chyron….updates 8 times per hour 24/7. What is the humidity in Hillary’s hotel room and how will it affect her views on NATO!!! Coming next hour presidential historians discuss the humidifiers of famous presidents how Herbert Hoover’s sort of dry flaky skin on the back of his hands in dry climates made the Great Depression worse.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          you would think the D’s could find one person on staff whose job is solely to stop these quarter assed apologies.

          I’m available. For, oh, half the current price.

          Oh hell, I’ll offer my advice for free: “Don’t fucking apologize anymore!!”Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            My suggestion is to anti-apologize, which is sorta what she did she said she didn’t mean half.

            What she actually should have done is say something like:

            I would like to apologize for lumping all Trump supporters into two baskets, one being full of deplorable, one of them not, and additionally implying in my most recent comment that those were the same size.

            In actuality, there are many different sort of horrible Trump supporters, often overlapping with each other. 76% support banning Muslims from the US, for example. Whereas 70% think Trump’s comments about Mexicans bringing crime and drugs were correct.

            Additionally, there is a third group of ‘Trump supporters’, of people who feel they have made a commitment to the Republican nominee regardless of how horrible he is. Along with the group I already mentioned, the people anxious about economic activity.

            In short, I feel I have vastly over-simplified both the ways, and extent, that Trump voters can be deplorable, and for that I apologize.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Last night on NPR they had a commentator relating a story from Stephanopolous about how both Clinton’s have a strong reflex toward privacy & secrecy & as often as not, it bites them in the ass.Report

            • Avatar Burt Likko says:

              Yup. Pneumoniagate. E-mailgate. Foundationghazi. The reality of what was actually done is nowhere near as bad as the speculation and accusations surrounding not saying anything about it.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              I think Kevin Drum summed it up best:

              So why did Clinton’s people try to hide her condition? That’s pretty easy: After months of baseless health speculation by Donald Trump’s rumor machine, she figured the press would go full National Enquirer over this. She didn’t trust them to handle it in a normal, level-headed way.

              So that’s that. There’s a gulf of distrust between Clinton and the media that appears unbridgeable. Clinton doesn’t trust the press to treat her fairly, so she adopts a hyper-guarded attitude toward everything she does. The press doesn’t trust her to honestly disclose anything, so they adopt a hyper-skeptical attitude toward everything she says. Rinse and repeat.

              It’s a feedback loop, and frankly having lived through the 90s I can’t really say the Clinton’s don’t have a darn good reason to think so.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Expanding a bit on what I heard, the story from Stephanapolous was about the Whitewater scandal. The WH staff had looked over the Whitewater files, knew there was nothing in there, and wanted to release them all to the media so the media would see there was nothing there, get bored, and find something new. The Clintons refused. Stephanapolous then said that the refusal led to investigations which led to the Clinton’s being forced to accept an independent counsel, which led to Ken Starr.

                So while Clintons may have a good reason to think the media won’t play nice, they are not without fault in the development of this dynamic. And let’s be honest, what is easier, having 2 people be more open & honest with the public & the media, or the herding of cats that would be required to get the majority of the media to play nice?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Per Matthew Dowd, who would absolutely relish saying otherwise, none of the normals he’s talked to think any of this is a big deal.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:



  15. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Stoking the inequality debate.

    For those who don’t know, global shipping is in a bit of a crisis right now (the Hanjin bankruptcy is a result of that crisis). The link is some comments from the outgoing head of a maritime bank regarding the harm global inequality is having. It echos comments from the likes of Nick Hanauer, in that there is no long term value in keeping money largely moving around in investment circles if it never really makes it’s way down to the wage earners who drive demand.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      This is the actual criticism of trickle-down economics, rather than the “but rich people will not pay taaaaaxesssss!” envy-based criticism.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko says:

        The actual criticism isn’t that if you reduce taxes on the rich, you will eventually have to reduce services or raise taxes on the rest?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          From what I remember, the problem with taxing the ever-loving out of the rich is that it doesn’t get you that much, because the wealthy are wealthy not because they have a lot of money, but because they control a lot of money. The criticism is that if the wealthy have no incentive to cause their money to flow down, they will just keep it circulating around in the rarified heights, where it grows thanks to finance, but doesn’t do much to increase demand. Certainly there is some increase in demand, because some of that money will make it down in the form of loans, etc., but not as much.

          The criticism of just forcibly redistributing all the money is that it puts all that money, and thus power, in the hands of politicians, who are, largely, other members of the wealth class, and are thus as likely to use the power that money brings to exert control in ways that are not always noble, or are likely to be captured by other members of the wealth class, and will just keep the money circulating at the rarified heights.

          Hanley’s rule applies – gotta structure the incentives.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      It’s not a new concept or critique. Lots of people have been talking about that for quite a while. It’s just nice to economists finally bringing it on board. 🙂Report

    • Avatar j r says:


      Reading that link, I’m not sure that anything the shipping exec says has to do with tax rates. He’s talking about global poverty rates. You may be able to find some plausible connection between income inequality and the stagnation of the middle class in the developed world, but his point is something else. He is saying that, if the global poor had more resources, they would add additional demand to the global economy. This is true, but it has nothing to do with national tax policies in the developed world, unless he’s advocating for a Piketty style global wealth tax.

      That article reads more like a business exec trying to work in a popular buzzword than any serious analysis of what’s driving global shipping rates down, which is really a combination of too many ships and too little Chinese demand for commodities and too little rest of the world demand for Chinese finished products. He could have just easily blamed global warming or the social development of women and girls and had just as much a point.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


        You are correct, he says nothing about taxes, that is a tangent discussion.

        My reason for posting the link is to act as a data point that there are people in the wealth class that recognize that if people don’t have enough money to drive demand for anything besides the basics, people in the wealth class will stop being wealthy. Hopefully the more such people recognize that significant inequality will eventually bite them in the ass[1] as well, the more effort they will put forth to find a solution to it.

        [1] EIther through wealth destruction, or severe taxation.Report