He likes to post clippings from newspapers on the wall. He gets the second paper because sometimes two interesting articles are printed back-to-back.
I came up with a lateral thinking puzzle. It’s basically a riddle with an impossibly hard answer, but when you hear it, there’s really no other solution. If you can come up with a solution that’s more plausible/clever than mine, then you “beat” me. Here goes:
A man lives alone. He has two subscriptions to the New York Times. In other words, every morning, two copies of the newspaper get delivered to his front door at the same time. They are identical in every way. He never gives or sells his newspapers to anybody else, and nobody but himself reads it. Why does he do this?
I’ll post the answer in a few days.
So my friend is subtly but surely a little handsoffish about technology. Since I installed ubuntu, she’s been calling it “Ubontu” in this funny way, like “your cute geeky pet” or something. I mean it’s harmless and cute, but I get the impression that if she went home and started spouting technical talk about operating systems, her extended family would almost certainly make fun of her. If she said, “Mom, I’m taking computer science, and I installed Ubuntu on my computer,” there’s more spoken between the cracks about what she has chosen to do with her identity and orientation to her family than just taking CS. It’s a break from an old way of life, almost. I sense that she feels an obligation to break down and unpack everything related to technology, to make it clear and not frightening, and her hesitance to embrace technology is somewhat of a bridging gesture between the super-fast modern world and her family. Also if you actually happen to be reading this blog, person-who-i-am-speculating-about, sorry for speculating about you. Let me know if any of this sounds bad or wrong.
It’s just interesting how much that applies to my attitude on far-left cultural studies, and my hesitance to embrace the cutting edge lingo of diversity. It’s like… my parents wouldn’t understand this, or they’d think it was a bad idea. My parents are conservative in a very subtle way. They’re pretty liberal as far as most things go, especially compared to other Asian parents, but they have a sense of steadiness and reluctance to embrace cultural change that is too explicit and self-aware. Maybe it’s a legacy of surviving far-left super-linguistically-focused communist reforms in China. To them, cultural change should occur gradually, vetted through the experience of families and lifetimes. “Would I want my kid to do this?” is the million dollar question.
But we’ve had to embrace technology in this hardcore way, partly out of survival, partly because why not? Though I’ve deleted my facebook and resisted getting a smart phone until last year, I think the fact that technology is in my blood is really undeniable now that I have other people to compare myself to.
My parents can almost certainly handle it if I decided to go “full liberal”. But the big question is whether their experience in China is somehow applicable to my experience at Swarthmore, and whether their reluctance should be mine too.
I attended two sexual misconduct team workshops this week, on 1) consent and dating life, and 2) disrupting damaging gender stereotypes in classrooms.
When the gender stereotypes workshop began, the facilitator let us know that it was “workshop time” right off the bat by saying, “Please go around and share any aspects of your identity that are important to you. My name is ____ and I identify as a cis-gender female, and I prefer the pronouns she/her.” If you’re not used to the language, which you very well may not be, then you’re suddenly taken aback with how you’re expected to have to append a prefix to your gender for the first time in your life. The facilitator made it clear through her attitude that this wasn’t a convention that was to be challenged, and if you asked about it, it was going to be at the expense of you looking like a noob. (but if you’re really good at being respectfully inquisitive, then ask all the questions you can). The important point is that things that aren’t required—you don’t have to say your gender with a prefix, or even say your gender at all—often feel ambiguously so, because you attend these things to learn something, not to disrespect anybody, and you don’t want to do something offensive in the process.
As far as this specific examples go, labeling your gender with “cis” means that you aren’t “trans”, or trans-gendered, so basically you are biologically of the same sex as your gender. It’s fairly harmless once you understand it, and using it is a sign of respect for the other participants, since it puts being transgendered on the same plane as being cisgendered.
A corollary to this in “real life” might be that the first time I went to therapy, my doctor asked, deadly seriously, “Do you have parents?” I was surprised, because I had never been asked that before. But it’s important, or at least respectful, in a therapeutic context to assume as little as possible. Likewise with the cis/trans thing. You don’t want to make someone have to venture information outside of the flow of the workshop, because then you make them feel like they don’t belong there.
With that said, a basic pre-workshop introduction of these different conventions should be standard. As it is, you are thrown into this bizarre alter-world where people are both spontaneous and scripted, and identities are both political and personal, and you have to figure out the rules yourself. The reason why it isn’t done, I think, is that facilitators want to try to make their workshop interrupt reality as much as possible, and to form a bridge between the two is kowtowing to the sexist and transphobic forces that be.
It’s a matter of discretion and context, I think. Not every workshop has to be balls-to-the-wall. In fact, if it’s open to the public, it probably shouldn’t be, because many participants might not understand the intensity or depth of what they were getting into. You can still get into extremely sensitive and therapeutic territory even if you preface your workshop with a little breakdown of why things are the way they are.
My hunch is that nobody’s really hiding anything, and that the facilitators would prefer to make things as accessible as possible, there is just a genuine cultural gap. So I thought about how I would explain it, and I came up with the following (wordy) explanation:
Business culture can be really different than real life. I took a class called Sociology of the Economy that had readings on corporate culture, and some of these sociologists described in excoriating detail the ways that middle managers would “shmooze”, how everybody knew that networking was “fake” but did it anyway, and how this sort of double-speak permeated the entire structure of the corporation. But if I walked into Goldman-Sachs and approached a random manager in the lobby and asked, “Hey, middle managers form factions and always watch out for their team above all else, right?” they would likely say, “No, of course not, we have the corporation’s interests at heart. Who are you?” Or if I asked them, “So when you say streamline your production, you really mean fire a bunch of people, especially among the overlook/regulation staff, right?” They would say, “No, who let you in here?”. They might even be offended. You might be able to get some truth from a GS employee who is also your friend, when you’re at a bar together, but you’re definitely not getting anything out of a manager who is on the job, sitting at his desk, with his boss standing behind him.
With gender issues, it’s the same way, except there is no escaping the dominant culture. You can’t just walk out of sexist culture the way you can out of Goldman-Sachs. The entire world is Goldman Sachs. It’s incredibly hard to start a dialogue from within a system about the system, since 1) systems naturally embrace language that protects its weaknesses, and 2) systems use cultural forces to enforce its own language as standard and required.
That’s why when you walk into this workshop, you might hear some things that sound weird if you’re not used to them, and feel like this entire experience is useless and sad.
Click on it twice. These are your two super powers. -
I don’t usually do these but I just had a conversation with you about “what superpowers would you want” and I gave a cop-out answer, so here goes:
One: Clown Physiology — “Ability to use the abilities of all types of clowns.” For example, card manipulation, fear/insanity/laughter inducement, and miming.
Two: Eye Color Manipulation — “The power to change eye colors of oneself or others.” An interesting application is I may be able to change the eye color of others.
Combining these two, it seems like I am destined to wander the world, changing peoples’ eye colors in secret for no reason other than to sow mischief. I mean, that’s fucking hilarious. I would totally do it. Professor is lecturing, suddenly her eyes are changing colors like she’s fucking hypnotoad. I can easily destroy the shit out of epileptics, but then again, so can anyone. If I were interested in being chaotic good, I could go to the local Neo-Nazi club and make their eyes all brown. Suck it, Aryans.
The clown thing seems the best because I can squirt acid out of lapel flowers and make balloon animal bombs and do all sorts of Joker-y stuff.
This didn’t come up randomly but this is the worst superpower I have ever seen: http://powerlisting.wikia.com/wiki/Unlovability%C2%AD
“I’m going to kill you now.”
“Yeah, well you can’t love me.”
“Okay. /punches you to death”
Sale at the used bookstore today. 35% off for their 35th anniversary— cute, but I didn’t notice the connection until late coming home. I saw Keryl for the first time in years, and I nearly missed her out of forgetfulness. We said 1 PM and I remembered at 1:40 and fucked myself to the town center in record time. Drove the manual for the first time in a while too, which roared nicely in accompaniment to my swearing and speeding. She was waiting a good hour before I arrived, which was when Jesus descended from heaven and gave me the Douchebag of the Year award.
(Source: tripleplusgood, via withdoubt)
At the end of the day, I’m writing for you. Sorry for the long bouts of selfishness. I dont know what the fuck I write either, or why I try so hard. This is, and has always been, a poem dedicated to you, and to the extent I forget that and splay myself all over the keyboard, I am embarrassed. I think art is just people breathing together. I am breathing here, into the ether.
clam chowder: Self respect -
I read an article today. It was written in 1922. Why I Quit Being So Accommodating. The article inspired the following thoughts and anecdotes.
My words to a friend-acquaintance:
“…so that’s why I’ve chosen to back away from physics and academia and become more of a hybrid…
I was actually thinking about sending this to you earlier!
I saw this linked to on reddit and one of the comments said something like, ‘his problem wasn’t that he was too accommodating, it was that he never asked for favors back.’
The sheer emotional debt that everyone owes this family! If nothing else, it’s a solid reputation for life.
There’s something awesome about being a nexus of activity, and it’s too bad that he didn’t want to be there. He shouldn’t stay if he doesn’t want to, but I wish there was somebody to give him a bit of appreciation. Like hey, it’s fucking AWESOME that you know everybody and that they come to you for favors. Of course, it’s always an option to shutter the drug store, or stop being a salesman, and move on. But he can also keep doing those things, just more assertively. He could be like the Godfather.
A car - is a vehicle that is an open question, just as a train is a statement.
(a car is to answer a question, a train is to ask. Ie a question is the act of answering a question and a statement is the act of creating one)
A lovers quarrel is to deprive her of my own dignity