Morning Ed: Life & Society {2017.08.03.Th}


Will Truman

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

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110 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    LS7: We’ve always suspected this to be true, but its good that there are studies about this.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Victimhood as a positional good?Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        Yes and the attendant victimhood olympics that tends to dominate SJW discourse.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        Of course. That’s the most coveted good of our time. It grants moral superiority – not moral rightness, which is absolute, but moral superiority, which is relative. Once you give up on the idea of true right and wrong, all you need to do is find a way to be righter than the other guy. If society values strength, or money, or victimhood, you just have to have more of it.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          It grants moral rightness. Having the right victimhood status gives you freedom from judgment but allows you to judge others as strictly, harshly, and fiercely as you want.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            You really don’t see this as propaganda, do you?
            It’s poison, pure and simple, designed to destroy the left by hobbling their ability to think critically.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          That’s what I was confirming. I was trying to read the paper early this morning, with only a few mg of caffeine in my system, and too many distractions around me for that early in the morning, so I didn’t feel like I was parsing the thesis.Report

  2. Avatar InMD says:

    At least [LS1] sort of acknowledges that the shallowness of pop culture is an outgrowth of capitalist consumer economics. Thats a bit better than another meditation on why the latest Marvel movie is in some way #problematic.

    Nevertheless I still wanted to ask the author what exactly she expects from art produced by billion dollar industries. Expecting Carly Rae Jepson or Taylor Swift to do a song about the complexities of adult womanhood is like expecting Captain America to trade in CGI ass kicking for the daily humiliations of a desk job in corporate America.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      InMD embraces his inner Frankfurtian.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The attempt to create a modern version of traditional pop for the Baby Boomers, adult contemporary music, generally failed hard despite some success.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      But Joni Mitchell exists and found success.

      The question I didn’t see asked (& maybe I missed it, I’m still on my first cup of coffee) is what other art are these women consuming? There seems to be this idea that people who enjoy simple, pop-art don’t enjoy\consume more complex art; and vice versa.

      It’s a horribly myopic view, and it’s wrong, people are complex, and what a person enjoys can be highly dependent on mood & mental exhaustion. If simple art is popular, it doesn’t have to be because people aren’t growing up, but because they are, and they are mentally exhausted, and they want art that doesn’t require much of them.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        I’m not criticizing the individuals, I’m criticizing the expectation that entertainment produced for mass audiences at high expense is going to have artistic or moral depth. The target audience of this music is intentionally broad. The fact that it includes pre-teens and adolescents inherently precludes certain subjects and complexity.

        You don’t go into McDonalds expecting a world class dining experience. Doesn’t mean McDonalds is fundamentally bad or that people who eat it are bad.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          My point exactly. Just because a person is a gourmand, doesn’t mean they won’t swing through the Golden Arches Supper Club from time to time.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        Yeah, this. I profess great love for “Shake it Off” as a song, though my musical taste is generally pretty different from that style. One of the beauties of life today is that you can have kaleidoscopic interests.

        We probably have a wider range of art and entertainment available to us now than at any other time in history. (Right now, I have a Pandora station going that is playing Chopin for me in my office). And we’re free to take advantage of what we want.

        I have problems with the people who simplify it to “people can’t grow up now, LOL.” I’m a grown-up woman with lots of responsibilities and a full-time job. I take care of my own house – shoot, I own my own house – and so who is this person to criticize me because once in a while I would like to watch “We Bare Bears” and laugh a little instead of some depressing news-commentary show that reinforces my fear that we’re all screwed?

        The problem comes, I think, if people can’t shoulder their responsibilities or whatever, if they routinely flake on stuff – not what kind of music they like.

        I’m willing to bet in the 1800s there were aristocrats who rolled their eyes over the “stupid simple drinking songs” the peasants sang instead of liederReport

      • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

        I think you have a good point. However, I think it’s significant that Joni Mitchell got her start in the 70’s. (Big Yellow Taxi was released in 1970.).

        The more I look at what was happening in the recording industry, the more I recognize the Seventies as the decade that the artists held the most power, and the industry the least. Music video changed everything (along with the collapse of prog rock), and the industry regained the upper hand.

        Now, I’m not sure why the industry would have such a death grip these days, since the revenue from recordings has shrunk so much. But I think probably the reason is that all the new Joni Mitchells have no way to find their audience. Maybe Pandora is what they need, I could be wrong. Maybe what they don’t have is that recording revenue to power their engine once they seem promising.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          The audience from the mid-1960s to around 1980 was big enough to support a number of different artists doing different things but not so big as to prohibit artists from finding an audience. This remained more or less true in the 1980s and 1990s but certain changes like MTV gave industry more control over who got promoted. Streaming fragmented the music audience so much that its hard for most artists to really develop big audiences these days unless they are very accessible and have the weight of the entertainment industry to promote them.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      I agree with the thesis of the article, but you’d have to be made of stone not to get caught up in “Call Me Maybe”.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

      Expecting Carly Rae Jepson or Taylor Swift to do a song about the complexities of adult womanhood is like expecting Captain America to trade in CGI ass kicking for the daily humiliations of a desk job in corporate America.

      A superhero movie where the hero had to save the world by doing something he’s not magically good at would be a fun twist. Maybe the Hulk has to step up and fix a fine Swiss watch because it must be done and there’s nobody else there to do it.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Isn’t that the plot of the Incredibles? (Which was produced by a company which fetched 7.4 billion dollars in the corporate M&A market a couple years later)Report

    • Avatar InMD says:

      Thats still a movie about cartoon ass kicking. It would only count if instead of super hero redemption and celebration of power it chronicled Mr. Incredible’s slow decline into cynicism, alcohol abuse, and baldness. The wife leaves him. The children resent him. He starts to get his life back on track, goes 6 weeks without a drink. Then a long day at the office followed by a bureacratic snafu at the MVA sends him back to the bottle. He’s beaten and robbed by vagrants while pissing in an alley behind a dive bar. Hardly the stuff of childrens entertainment.Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    [LS1] Of dear lord. So glad I don’t know much about instagram or listen to much pop music. What a wasteland. Who wants an “teenage” adult woman? I want a woman who can stand on her own and make her own decisions.

    [LS3] I shower after I work out in the afternoon/evenings or in the am is I sweated sleeping or both, which can happen when it gets really hot and humid.

    [LS4 Lawful Neutral. Generally correct, but I played Neutral Good and Chaotic Neutral characters, and I doubt I’m super ALL that lawful.

    [LS8] Not sure about guilt, I’ve never had a problem doing the missions on GTA, ramming cop cars, etc, but I stopped playing it at Vice City. I will say that I’ve played witcher and other games where I wanted a specific game outcome, but guilt hasn’t been a factor. Nor has it been in Falllout 4. I was going to do the nuka cola quest to kill all the raiders, but I’m having a harder time surviving, so I may just do the raider quests, get some achievements, and “be bad”.

    [LS9] When I first started reading this I was like “A woman’s writing this”. Bingo!Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    LS1: Saul bait.

    We need to define what growing up means though. Does it just mean doing your job, paying taxes, raising children, taking care of aging parents while spending your leisure time how you legally want or does it mean something more? The Baby Boomers kept on to the tastes of their youth longer than previous generations. Western culture also had a cult of youth, meaning people in late teens to mid-twenties, since Antiquity. Women got hit harder by this cult than men but more than a few men loved the concept of eternal youth to. There is also the element that for some people, generally attractive, wealthy, high status people, being a grown up and endless indulgence went hand in hand while for others it meant constant sacrifice.

    LS4: I got Lawful Neutral when I first took the test. This was surprising because I thought I’d be Lawful Good or Neutral Good.

    LS5: Fashion is more separated from class now than it was at any other time in history. The affluent usually just wear more expensive versions of what the non-affluent wear but nearly everybody wears jeans, sneakers, and other causal clothing more often than not. There was a time within living memory where no adult, let alone an affluent adult, would be caught dead in jeans. Things like when to wear different types of formal dress were also a thing within living memory. These days you also wear morning dress or white tie if your a character in a period drama, are accepting the Noble Prize, or are at a really fancy and formal function. One thing that struck me in Vienna was that there were stores that still sold men’s formal clothing. I wonder when anybody would wear it these days.

    LS6: I’m always surprised about how wrong these future predictions were. I always wonder what people in the 1890s would really think of how people in the 1990s dressed. What would they think of the great informalization of clothing and how everybody wears jeans.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      LS6 speculates that the artist might be doing this with tongue firmly planted in cheek. I.e it was meant to be a satirical look at 1890s fashions more than a sincere attempt to predict future fashion. The designs are so absurd that I can’t imagine that the artist was being serious.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        That’s how these things usually work. I have seen similar fictional accounts from the 1870s and ’80s of what baseball would be like a hundred years later. Pitch speed was rising at that time with overhand pitching, with the metaphor of a cannon often used. So in the future accounts depict an actual cannon used. Cather’s equipment was developing, so in the future accounts the catcher is armored like a medieval knight. And so on. This is commentary on the trends of the day, not a serious projection of future developments. Nowadays with professional futurists the intent is more serious, but the result is still more often commentary on the time the prediction is made than any realistic prediction.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          As regards baseball, the pundits still do it, only the current concerns are overuse of statistics and performance-enhancing drugs (both concerns are now in their fourth decade).Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      LS6: I recall seeing an article a decade or so ago with pictures of men’s conservative business suits from ~1905 to the then-present in ten year jumps, cropped at the neckline (so you couldn’t see hair styles) and ankles (so you couldn’t see shoes). Other than collar styles, there was remarkably little change. Mostly ties and lapels getting a bit wider or narrower at times, but not by much.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        That is how a lot of fashion changes. Leg trousers can get very narrow though. Stuff in the 1990s was very boxy. Stuff now is much more narrow and slim.

        Suits are a special case though. Lee is right that the great changes are about the wide-spread use of casual wear. We don’t have detachable collars or shirt-fronts anymore (yay!!) but Lee is right that within living or nearly living memory, you would not see adults wearing jeans for the most part. It was really the Boomers who changed this attitude.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          Detachable collars were very practical. The collar both needs more serious laundering and receives more wear. I have otherwise perfectly good shirts where the upper edge of the collar where the fabric is folded is frayed beyond use. It would be lively to be able to remove it and put on another.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

            The thing that always struck me about detachable collars and shirt-fronts is that they look extremely stiff and uncomfortable. I don’t start my dress shirts.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            Hmm. I notice that too, but if the collar is fraying to the point it’s noticeable, the cuffs aren’t long for this world, either.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Nowadays men wear a LOT more pink than I remember them doing.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Depends on the setting. You can have my pink shirts when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers. But find a picture of, say, the audience for the President’s State of the Union speech. White shirts as far as the eye can see.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            I remember when guys just wouldn’t wear a pink shirt (it would have been considered girly or gay, both of which were very unacceptable in a business environment).

            Am unsure now what the culture says about wearing pink for guys. Is it a sign that they’re gay? Is it a sign that they’re just okay with their masculinity? Are they trying to look ambisexual?Report

            • Avatar Murali says:

              Sometimes its just something that the girlfriend/wife/mother/female-in-your-life-who-makes-your-fashion-decisions-for-you picked out for you.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                I remember a time when women knew better than to do such things (I mean, we’re seriously talking guys losing face at the office, here). Have things changed?Report

            • Avatar El Muneco says:

              That was a temporary aberration. Pink has always been a conservative color in a business environment. There might have been a period where outside cultural influences interfered, but pink is actually “safer” than, say, robin’s egg blue.

              That said, my style at work involves button-down shirts, which is a step more formal than standard (there are some young-uns who wear full suits to stand out). But I temper that by salmon, lavender, silver – basically the least conservative things you’d find in, say, Men’s Wearhouse.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    LS9: Life is the most social and extroverted people forcing everybody else to go along with them.Report

  7. Avatar notme says:

    Affirmative Action Battle Has a New Focus: Asian-Americans

    I guess they got tired of not being the right color for AA. I know how they feel.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    LS1: One of the things you will notice in a lot of foreign countries is that their variants of popular culture are a lot more eclectic than ours. They have their own native cultures and stars, TV shows and movies. They have American pop culture (which is truly our greatest soft power influence and which the world largely still loves.*) But they also have a lot more culture borrowed from other countries as well. My girlfriend is Chinese from Singapore but she and her friends also know a lot of Korean pop culture, Japanese pop culture, and European pop culture. A lot of that stuff either never makes it to the United States or we just need to make our own versions like the Office.

    You can see this in Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. The characters seem to have a wide-ranging stuff they read, watch, and listen to. In one scene, a guitar player goes from Classical to the Beatles to Bossa Nova. The narrator reads classic American novelists, his dormmates like to read contemporary French fiction like Boris Vian. Whether this is true or a idealized version of the 1960s chic for being high-culture is hard to say. But there is a lot of insularity in American culture except for specific examples (anime) or if you live in a large metro area with good arthouse cinemas.

    That being said, something I’ve notice about our cohort is a strong attempt to redefine adulthood. I’ve seen more than one person my age declare that being an adult is about fiscal responsibility (holding down a job, paying those bills) and nothing else. My generation seems to scoff at the notion that there is such a thing as cultural vegetables and maybe putting the stuff you liked as a kid down.

    LS5: I agree with your basic sentence but I think it is a lot more complicated than the article suggests (though the article is true). I’ve declared my seemingly genetically inherited love of clothing here more times than I can count. There are plenty of people from my socio-economic class of college-educated professionals who don’t give a rat’s ass about clothing. Part of the whole techie status thing is to be the opposite of the New York Wall Street guy who wears expensive suits, shirts, and shoes and just wear hoodies and t-shirts and sneakers (though this is changing somewhat but I doubt you will see techies embrace Brioni suits anytime soon.) A few years ago there was an essay written by an African-American woman who wrote how her mom was criticized by strangers for “wasting” money on nice-looking clothing; the woman disagreed and said that the clothing helped her single mom navigate the system and gain respect from middle class and above admins including social workers, education officials, etc.

    I think we make too many assumptions that only rich people buy expensive clothing. It might be true enough though.

    I don’t know what the solution is. A lot of expensive fashion/clothing does nothing to me but there is also a lot that I think is visually interesting and unique. Maybe it is a bit dandyish but I don’t think of a world where everyone just wears t-shirts and jeans as being more equal and free and less judgey. I think of it as
    a world that is more aesthetically boring.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      In one scene, a guitar player goes from Classical to the Beatles to Bossa Nova.

      I would find this unsurprising of an American guitarist, once we stipulate that he plays classical guitar. The image of the classical musician who turns up his nose at popular music may or may not have been true at one time, but would be an eccentric outlier today. Check out the playlists of those kids studying at Julliard and it will turn up lots of popular music–perhaps not the bubblegum stuff, but the Beatles and Bossa Nova would be unremarkable.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      You can really do stylin’ while wearing tshirts. Or you can wear the Michael Kors devil shirt, and that’s stylin’ too. (yes, it was designed for a play).Report

    • Avatar aaron david says:

      I am not too sure about the insularity of American culture. In the post war era, it was not at all uncommon for people to read much more heavy fiction, as TV was as big a thing. And foreign novels were quite common at the time, at least as what has come through used book stores as I was buying. From Thomas Mann to Albert Camus, The Little Prince to The Sea of Fertility, all are quite common and are a big part of the reading world, even in small town America.

      Remember, we had just fought a major international war, had troops stationed all over and many more people were involved as soldiers, both as enlisted and officers.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Our pornography does not reference Cinema Paradisio.
        (Yes, this is what happens when you take award winning writers and let them draw.)Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        You grew up in a college town. Maybe a small one.

        I think you are right that it could have been the spirit of the age and their was more cultural cache (even if only to pick up girls) for knowing about Bergman, Kurosawa, the French New Wave, etc.Report

        • Avatar aaron david says:

          A VERY small one.

          But I moved to a non-college, non-hip city (Fresno) and had the same luck finding, along with buying and selling, that literature there. And the same pattern held the years work took me to Merced. The more I think about it, Book-of-the-Month and other such groups were very common during that period, allowing the spread of different literatures to people who might not have come across it otherwise.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I’m not exactly sure about your theory of American insularity either. There are subcultures in America that are very into aspects of other countries. You have the people really into manga and anime, fans of foreign art films and literature, etc. There is a long standing fascination with at least some British pop culture in the United States thanks to PBS and even some networks airing British television shows. The Avengers was network television during the 1960s.

      What I think is the real story is that since American pop culture is globally dominant and has a very big population, its harder for foreign pop culture to make an entry into the general American market. This was especially true in the pre-television era. Network and latter cable channels did not need to air foreign shows unless they were starved for content or wanted dubbed Japanese cartoon shows because it was more affordable than producing your own American ones. You had different aspects of foreign pop culture shaping different subcultures though. This really took on after the Internet made access easier.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I mentioned anime and manga and there were always exceptions.

        But you see a really wide variety of stuff in many countries that never makes it to the United States even in the niche form. Though this is changing because of the Internet.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        I’m more on the Lee side of thought than the Saul side. I would also posit that American pop culture is already premixed with worldwide influences, including most famously, but not limited to, African and Jewish cultures (as experienced in the Western Hemisphere)Report

  9. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    LS4: My D&D days were in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The RPG wars of that era are largely forgotten today, but ran furiously in the tiny pond that was role playing games at that time. The gist of it was that TSR in general and Gary Gygax in particular wanted very much to leverage their first mover advantage for all it was worth. This involved a lot of “D&D is the One True” argument. At the same time other designers were putting out RPGs. Some of them were tacky knockoffs (Tunnels & Trolls) but some were imaginative developments of the basic concept (Runequest) or extensions into other genres (Traveler).

    Character alignment, which Gygax adapted/ripped off from the fiction of Michael Moorcock, was a feature that was generally dropped in other systems. Like many features of D&D that Gygax adapted/ripped off from fantasy fiction, it made sense in its original context but not really in the Rube Goldberg world development that was D&D. Among its flaws was the tension between whether it was a description of personality characteristics, a prescription of permitted actions, or an identifier of which team you were on.

    Also, when I meet some kid, usually teens or early twenties, who announces a self-identification of “chaotic” I roll my eyes (mentally, at least) and move on. This kid may well develop into an interesting person whose company I would enjoy. But not now. Give it five to ten years.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      I kind of like what Shadow World did with “alignment”…
      “You really don’t want to be aligned evil. The DM will take your character sheet”
      (You could, however, be as selfish as you wanted, and still be good. Like, we had an assassin in our party (hence the desire to play ‘evil’)).

      You, I take it, have never met someone who is actually chaotic in nature. Meeting a 25 year old who hasn’t had one legit job, and has done significant cutting edge work in multiple fields while pretending to be from all around the world (and significantly older than he actually was)… Yeah, it’s an experience.
      Of course, saying that “I’m chaotic” is pretentious and … *yawn*.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      “At the same time other designers were putting out RPGs. Some of them were tacky knockoffs (Tunnels & Trolls)”

      Was it about Donald Trump?Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      I got started with the Palladium system – which I think was pretty D&D ish in its general mechanics (from the small amount of D&D I half remember playing).

      For all that White Wolf has gone all edgelord-y now, I quite like their simpler mechanics, and I think their archetype based character description system is really good.

      Also the quiz thingy said I’m “chaotic good” which is probably not true.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        WhiteWolf’s mechanics were dreck.
        When a fire hurts a werewolf worse than a NUCLEAR Weapon?
        Dreck, Dreck, Dreck.

        Rolemaster had nice mechanics. d100, parse as you will. And look, a 66. DM, have some fucking fun.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          I have to say, the topic of nuclear combat never did come up in our gaming sessions.
          (we were playing tabletop changeling and a bit of larp vampire. I guess if anything nuclear combat fits the stereotype of werewolf players better).

          I liked the simplicity of the thing – across the board: how good are you at X? That’s how many D10 you get. How hard of an instance of X is this? That’s the threshold for success for each die. Roll. The number of ‘success’ dice indicates how well you did. One principle to get comfortable with and you’re done.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            Our campaign was set in Washington DC.
            Quayle came up, along with a photo op with one of our characters at the Zoo. (Apparently he misunderstood “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolfe?”)Report

  10. Avatar aaron david says:

    Well, cut to the chase, like @damon Lawful Neutral.

    As far as #1, the obsession with teen singers and such seems to come from the same spot that the love of YA fiction comes from, and I think someone above picked up on it. At the end of a long day, most people want to relax. They don’t want really challenging fiction, movies, etc. My wife is a good example. She has a degree in German, speaks and reads it fluently, but when she was making an hour and a half commute each way to work, at the end of the day she wanted to simply relax. She was spending 9+ hours on work, and she wanted to read some fashion blogs or gardening books. Contrast that with me, who spent 2-3 years recovering from a work accident and had quite a bit of intellectual space for long, challenging fiction, writing, art movies. The wife would love to reread Buddenbrooks or dive into the latest Gunter Grass novel, but is just not there.

    And speaking of fashion, it is still a marker of class. And if you can’t read that marker, then you are not in the right class. Wearing a cowboy hat unironically, class marker. The perfect jewelry to go with a dress, another.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I think of Cowboy hat as being more of a geographical/culture class marker because in certain parts of the country everyone wears cowboy hats and boots. I have more respect for a rancher from a small-town in Oklahoma doing so than a rich guy from Dallas who pairs it with a 3000 dollar Italian suit honestly. The small-towner feels real and authentic. The guy from Dallas feels like he is trying to be harder/tougher than he really is.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Yeah, the Dallas folks are pretty much all mopes and dopes.
        Don’t pretend unless you can pull it off, and if your cowboy boots ain’t never touched road apples, well, you ain’t foolin anyone.

        I remember hearing about a bar up in PA, where folks with cowboy hats would mingle with the Amish, and black folks too… Just a little slice of country livin’.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        “The guy from Dallas feels like he is trying to be harder/tougher than he really is.”

        The say is All hat, no cattle.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        My dad did field audits and safety inspections across the width of Nebraska for an insurance company. When he was spending a week west of about Kearney, he wore his hat and boots, both what he called “owner’s version” meaning what a successful ranch/business owner would wear to the bank. (Distinct from the working versions and yeah, working cowboy hats and boots are shaped like they are for real reasons.) He said that it made things go more smoothly when he came in dressed that way. For similar reasons, I had a beat-up straw hat and boots (sans the pointy toes) for weekends that I spent outstate with friends in college. Less so for the actual time out there, but when you were a stranger at the restaurant/bar in a tiny town for lunch things went more smoothly.

        I assume things are different these days, but I don’t get out in the empty parts of the high plains much any more.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Spending some time in Texas, I learned that cowboy hats are sort of a localized male version of designer handbags. You can get a cheap one off the rack or a custom designed one. There was even some sort of grading system, if I recall… 10X, 30X, onwards. People in the know could tell what was what and it mattered.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Handbag is the perfect analogy here. Some are designer, some aren’t. Most aren’t strictly necessary in the same way that baseball or trucker hats aren’t strictly necessary. It’s not really posing, exactly. But the existence of a hat is not a class marker in any sense.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            While visiting an ex whose family lived in San Antonio, I wanted to get one. I thought, ‘Hey, I went to Texas… I should come back with a big silly hat!’ Which I could have done going to any chinzy souvenir store in the mall or airport. But her dad… not a Texan himself but someone who grew to understand and respect the local culture… wouldn’t have that. We went to a real outfitter where I learned the basics of the system and I ended up buying a decent hat that I actually got some good wear out of. Sure, I stuck out like a sore thumb wearing it in the mid-Atlantic, but when I got caught in a surprise rainstorm with it on, my friends were all jealous as I remained the dryest of the bunch.

            Like many other fashion items, there is both a form and a function aspect to it and it shouldn’t be trivialized… despite how easy that is to do for outsiders.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco says:

              Mmm. The function aspect is pretty similar to a real fedora, isn’t it (not a trilby, which is only form)? A few people have mistaken my Dick Tracy homage fedora (that I only wear when heavy rain is a guarantee) is some sort of “cowboy hat”.Report

  11. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    LS9: I find it comforting to know I am not the only one who fear-fantasizes being rejected by new friends:

    “They will say no and laugh at me for not having enough existing friends to get coffee with.” Or rather, in my mind: “They will say no and laugh and tell me they already have enough ‘coffee friends’ and don’t need me.”

    I haven’t had a “best friend” since I was 13. (Maybe that’s normal for women, I don’t know, it just seems a lot of the women I know have “best friends.”) I’m afraid to declare anyone a “best friend” out of fear she’ll look at me and go “That’s nice, but…..I didn’t really think we were that good of friends, and anyway, Amy is my real ‘best friend.'”

    I dunno. I’ve heard a few people talk about how the adult-friend thing is as fraught as dating is. I don’t necessarily think so (dating is really, really, really hard once you’re over 21 or so), but yeah, making and keeping friends as an adult is harder than I remember it being as a kid.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      My list of friends is pretty damn short, honestly.
      (and yes, I know, that’s fun when I start every comment with “a friend of mine”… )Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      My “Only Surviving Friend” is someone I’ve known since I was 13. Everyone I’ve known since then turned out to be just an acquaintance.Report

  12. Avatar Jason says:

    Chaotic good, which is weird because I’m just starting my sixteenth year at my current job, and generally don’t like change. The description said “you don’t like bureaucracy” which is true, but that’s about as chaotic as I get. Good? I’d like to think so, but prolly not.

    A family member bought me a six pack of the Choose Your Own Adventure books–it was a set of the first six. Man, they were brutal. I remember in By Balloon to the Sahara I only made a few choices and was dead. There was one about a haunted house, Escape from Chimney Rock maybe, that had some gruesome ends: you get turned into a mouse and are about to be killed by a cat.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

      I think the quiz is a little different from some others. Every other alignment quiz I’ve taken (yes, I take a lot of online quizzes) pegs me as “Lawful Good,” a/k/a “the most boring alignment.”

      this one gave me “Neutral Good” so I don’t know.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        I’m pleasantly surprised. I mean, of course a significant minority of the questions are shit, but it pegged me as (also) Neutral Good, which is how I see myself, so I can’t exactly be displeased.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Chaotic Good is the most difficult alignment. You *ALWAYS* have to do the right thing.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Chaotic Good always struck me as the perfect alignment for the denizens of France, Italy, and Greece. France might have some lawful good and lawful neutral types in their government though. Italy is more like Chaotic Good and Chaotic Neutral. Switzerland is definitely lawful neutral. Sweden is a lawful neutral country pretending to be lawful good. America is Chaotic Good with a Chaotic Evil subset, so on balance Chaotic Neutral. Australia is Chaotic Neutral. Canada Lawful Good. The United Kingdom Lawful Good or Evil depending.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          There should be a story that revolves around how a group of Chaotic Good people take over an area, then have to formalize things (Lawful Good), then time passes and people in power start liking being in power and that evolves into Lawful Evil and how that will be unsustainable and turn into Chaotic Evil (Venezuela!) and the only thing that can really save the day is the emergence of some Chaotic Good people.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Isn’t that called the American history from the American Revolution until the end of Reconstruction? Rince, wash, and repeat.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              With a little effort, I think we can go back farther than 250 years or so.

              (Further? Farther? Farther.)Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Huh, now I would like to see a Founding Fathers alignment chart.

                Washington – Lawful Good.
                Jefferson, Hamilton – Chaotic Good.
                Adams, Madison – Lawful Neutral
                Burr – Lawful Evil
                Patrick Henry – Chaotic Neutral
                Bennedict Arnold – Chaotic EvilReport

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Poor Benedict Arnold.

                There are arguments that his loyalty to the established order was rooted in Lawful (whatever) rather than Chaotic (whatever).

                (Put Thomas Paine right next to Patrick Henry.)Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                There are better arguments that the alignment model doesn’t match reality very well. Benedict Arnold was the Americans’ best tactician early on. He was passed over for promotion due to what he saw as political opponents. He thought he was getting a raw deal, so he switched sides. Suppose he had gotten that promotion. Then he would go down in American history as a hero. How would this be reflected in his character alignment? He might well be put down as Lawful Good, without in fact having any different character whatsoever.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And if the rebellion had successfully been put down and we were Canada South, Benedict Arnold could be the guy who helped put down a rebellion of slave owners.

                We could have Heritage Minutes!Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                In fairness, I’m pretty sure that Canada would have been the northern fringe of British America, not the other way around.

                See also: My quasi-serious argument that the Seven Years War (French and Indian War edition) was the last important war in American history. At that point North America was destined to be mostly Anglophone with a liberal democracy. It doesn’t really matter whether this means a President for the non-Canada bits or a Prime Minister plus a Governor General with no actual power. My major reservation about this theory is that it only works if we don’t assume that Britain would have taken Canada sooner or later. My hunch is that if it hadn’t been that war, it would have been the next, and there always was a next war.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Yeah the French got badly outnumbered. The writing was on the wall after the seven years war.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                1.5! Million British Americans fighting against 60,000 French Americans.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Though doesn’t his actions in the quest he was in, reveal his character? I mean, becoming a team killing f***face just because you didn’t level up is a rather dick move.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                It depends. Did he kill your team, or your opponents? That’s how history is written. Unless you are a Confederate general, of course. They get special rules. Robert E. Lee: what alignment is he? Nathan Bedford Forrest?Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                Also, how did George Washington get rated as Lawful anything? He ran a guerrilla operation against the legally constituted authority, just like Ho Chi Minh–a fact that was not lost on the Vietnamese.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                The trick with Paine is that he became a more radical revolutionary as he aged, while Henry became a reactionary – 1st in his desire to institute an official state church, and later as a more “Big National Central Government, Heck Yeah!” than any living Federalist.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Paine was chasing the dragon.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            I think that might be Tarquin’s story arc in “Order of the Stick”.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      The quiz said Neutral Good for me. I used to play paladins back in the day, and probably see Lawful Good as the ideal, but in the nature of alignment-quizzes it’s hard to come up consistently both lawful and good, and if I have to choose between them, I’m going with good.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        Morally speaking, it’s probably better to strive to always be Good than to always be Lawful.

        Unjust laws and dictatorships and all that…Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Lawfully speaking, it’s probably better to strive to always follow the process (including the processes to change the process) than to always be Good.

          Too many unintended consequences out there.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            Heh. If you’re Lawful, do your best, and get things horribly wrong, you’re probably still Lawful. That is not necessarily true for Good.Report

  13. Avatar notme says:

    NAACP issues first-ever travel advisory for a state: Missouri

    The short version is that the NAACP is angry b/c the governor wants to change the legal standard to prove discrimination in lawsuits. The funny part is that the state is proposing changing the legal standard of discrimination to the same standard that the federal government uses. Just another example of what folks on the left will do and say.

    Here is a link that explains it better than the first one.

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Video Games and Guilt: I remember a fascinating scene in the Telltale games: The Walking Dead.

    The protagonist is Lee (a grown adult male). He finds Clementine (an 8 year old girl) some time in the early part of the zombie apocalypse. At one point (was it chapter 2?), they find an idyllic farm. Well, without getting too deeply into spoilers, at the end of the chapter, there is a scene where Lee and one of the idyllic farmers have a confrontation.

    The farmer gives a speech to Lee about the way the world works.

    At the end of the speech, you are given a choice between killing the farmer and not killing the farmer.

    The first time I played, I chose to kill the farmer. Immediately, in the story, Clementine ran up next to my side, looked at what I had done and gasped.

    I wrenched my back jumping to the power on the 360. I played through the scene again and, this time, chose not to kill the farmer. Clem saw me not kill the farmer.

    I thought to myself: “Good.”Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      Robbing the Cradle was a limitations sort of mission, from way back in the day when it wasn’t Okay to have Video Games kill Children.

      … It came out of a drunken conversation on “What are the really bad ideas, and how can we pull them off…?”Report

  15. Avatar Murali says:

    I took the test twice. The first time was Lawful good. The second time was lawful neutral.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:

    To what extent does society have to protect its members?

    Like, if it turns out that a group wanted to build a synagogue in town, would it be the right thing to do to deny it because a synagogue would create a risk for nearby residents, motorists and pedestrians?Report