Open Thread: Objective and Subjective

Content Note: Rape, Child Abuse, Trigger Jokes, Fat Shaming, Preference Shaming

Re-posted from Shakesville:

One of these things that astonishes me about these comedians is that they seem to have gone through life without realizing that humor is Subjective, not Objective. IOW, they don't seem to know the most basic thing about their craft.

I'm reminded (as I am with all things) of Twilight. We talk a lot about Subjective Beauty in my Twilight deconstruction, because the author S. Meyer seems to believe that beauty is Objective: she states on more than one occasion that Bella is objectively more beautiful than (most) of the girls in her high school. Personal preference does not apply; ALL the "human males" lust after her on her first day of school.

I personally believe that some people absorb cultural standards of beauty so thoroughly that they don't realize those standards are subjective and may vary according to personal taste. You see this particularly strongly with people who insist that current American standards of beauty are universal and timeless. (Research fail!)

I wonder if something similar is going on with these comedians. They think that the Dudebro comedy that they've shared together, watch on television, been immersed in at college, etc. is UNIVERSAL and don't consider a need to tailor their act for a larger audience.

And yet, a part of me rebels that anyone would be so foolish as to NOT realize that humor is subjective. Do we not all of us have "in jokes" with family and friends that outsiders wouldn't get? Do we not, here at Shakesville, have things like "maybe a vestment!!" which will ensure laughter on the boards and incomprehension from a new lurker? Is it not therefore OBVIOUS that this "joke" about a fictional "game" might be funny to Bob-who-knows-you but not to a larger audience who doesn't? (And who collectively probably have more children than Bob and more experience with abuse than Bob?)

But, then, I would have thought "beauty is subjective, people" would be self-evident, too and apparently it's not.

Lately it's been apparent to me that there are subjective preferences in our society (beauty, humor, hetereosexual attraction, etc.) that are treated as objectively valuable, often in a very timeless and universal way. Preferences that go against the grain -- like, for example, being attracted to Fat People or not caring for X food -- are treated as serious deviancies to be to be "corrected" rather than just, you know, preferences.

What else have you noticed that is treated as Objective and yet you think is more Subjective?

Open Threads are meant to be chatty, end-of-week fun times. Please refrain from negatively auditing other people's responses as that discourages participation. Thank you.


Thousand said...

I occasionally read various literature and books boards, and one of the big ones I've noticed is people's opinions of the quality of literature - they seem to feel that there are totally objective criteria by which literature can be judged as being superb or terrible without at any point involving the preferences of the reader. I'm pretty sure, myself, that it's a mixture of a few objective and a much larger number of subjective criteria - the objective one being really simple stuff like language infelicities or plot inconsistencies or similar mistakes. You see this implicitly with the (really large) number of people who post things like "recommend me something good to read" (sometimes specifying a genre) without at any point defining what they like or dislike.

I pretty much subscribe to Steven Brust's Cool Stuff theory of Literature, which runs as follows:
''The Cool Stuff Theory of Literature is as follows: All literature consists of whatever the writer thinks is cool. The reader will like the book to the degree that he agrees with the writer about what's cool. And that works all the way from the external trappings to the level of metaphor, subtext, and the way one uses words. In other words, I happen not to think that full-plate armor and great big honking greatswords are cool. I don't like 'em. I like cloaks and rapiers. So I write stories with a lot of cloaks and rapiers in 'em, 'cause that's cool. Guys who like military hardware, who think advanced military hardware is cool, are not gonna jump all over my books, because they have other ideas about what's cool.
The novel should be understood as a structure built to accommodate the greatest possible amount of cool stuff."
(This showed up in an afterword in one of his books in the Viscount of Adrilankha series, but in this case rather than finding the book and transcribing it I just copy-and-pasted from the Rule of Cool Quotes page on TVTropes). Incidentally, I think that Brust's stuff is quite cool.

Pqw, who used to be Laiima said...

Possibly of limited interest to others, but ... why are birds named for the coloration of the males? A beautiful grey hummingbird with a green back has been visiting our balcony flowers. I finally got around to Googling it, and apparently it's an adult female Black-chinned Hummingbird. It's only the adult male who has an entirely black head, on a grey body.

For that matter, how often have I read stuff about the 'brilliant and colorful' plumage of mallard ducks, or cardinals, or any other songbird, when they're only talking about the males, and then about the 'drab' plumage of the females? Shades of brown are just as pretty, but more subtle, than bright red or teal.

With this, and many other issues, you can't help but notice that the scientists who developed the systems of naming or taxonomy or whatever were all male. Science isn't nearly as Objective as scientists act like it is.

cjmr said...

As a parent I find that just about anything and everything having to do with a time frame. Although there it is more like each 'expert' (y'know, anybody and everybody is an expert, too) has their own Objective time frame when 'x' or 'y' should be accomplished by. Everyone's is a DIFFERENT Objective time frame, but if you are not following theirs (even if you are following someone else's) you're doing it wrong.

Irina said...

See, that's why I don't review books. I blog about books, but always only say (a) what I've noticed --which may or may not be what other people have noticed-- and (b) what I like and dislike about it.

Arresi said...

History, sort of, like science. Ignoring debates over the nature of reality for a moment, there's an objective history - things happened in a certain order because of other things - but there's a lot of subjective thought involved in constructing the narrative. If there wasn't, histories would all be the size of the OED and be structured like the most boring journal ever. "On April 5, 1912, at approximately 6 in the morning, President WIlson ate two eggs and a side of bacon in the White House. (source: Wilson's diary, White House menu.) At 3 pm, he spoke to Congress about the income tax. (source: Congressional Journal.)" There's a lot of decisions about periodization, subject matter, relevance, causation, evidence, narrative structure, audience knowledge, and while it's not necessarily arbitrary, it's not precisely objective either. And then, of course, all the caveats and debates get ignored by most of the public, or called "revisionism."

Arresi said...

Ooh, I took classes in history and philosophy of science! Not boring at all! Only, minor issue - the names you're talking about are the common names, which are basically determined by the public and tend to be regional, not the scientific names. There's plenty of examples of both problems with taxonomy (chimps and bonobos should probably have been classified as part of the genus Homo - Linnaeus was just worried about public reaction) and sexism in science (take the belated realization that the egg is not a passive part of fertilization, or some of the research - not all! - on sexual selection).

Ice said...

I recently moved back to my home state after being away for a very long time. I am having a very difficult time adjusting to How Home State People Talk To Me, because yhe culture of this state is quite different from the previous three states I've lived in. My point is that, here in Home State, people talk to you as if EVERYTHING is objective, which can be frustrating for someone who doesn't agree.

Brother-in-law: Where did you get that couch?
Me: Bob's Store, isn't it nice?
BIL: no, you need to return it, everyone knows the only place to by furniture is from Joe's Furniture Depot

Everything is "you need to" and "that's the wrong way to do < thing that can be done eleventy hundred different ways >" and "you should make every decision as part of a committee with your family, friends and coworkers".

And here I just wanted a cool red leather couch.

TheDarkArtist said...

I mostly listen to a lot of noise- rock and pop, avante-garde rock and jazz music, and other generally "weird" forms of music. So, let me just tell you, people really sometimes barely seem to be able to comprehend that a person could enjoy music that doesn't follow typical pop or rock conventions. My favorite band is called Hella, and some of the people that I've shared their music with have seemed actually indignant and didn't really believe that I actually enjoy the music, because it's "weird."

Of course, I love pop-music, too. Almost nobody, even people like me who listen to mostly weird stuff that doesn't get played to a wide audience, can help but enjoy poppy music. It's basically engineered to blast your brain with dopamine and make you feel good.

But, people feel the same way about avante-garde music that they do about anything avante-garde: "you're just doing this to [be different, get back at x authority figure, irritate other people, etc]!"

But, I'll admit that I'm not immune to it. I find most performance art to be utterly dreadful, about as interesting and shocking as Howard Stern, and utterly ridiculous (and not in a good way!), and, honestly, I have a hard time believing that anyone actually enjoys it. But, I guess someone does, or people wouldn't do it.

Lonespark said...

Wow, Ice, that is really weird.

Lonespark said...

How do I write a cover letter to apply for a job at a place where I already have a job? (Specifically, I am applying to be a building substitute at the school where I am already a per-diem substitute treated as an independent contractor.)

Presumably they are already aware of my education and previous/not-them experience. Do I need to repeat it? Or is it important to specifically talk about what I've learned from working there? Or what?

Silver Adept said...

Lonespark demonstrates another thing seen as objective that is really more subjective - job applications and their components. (Also, college admission applications)

To answer the question, from what I've seen/read, the cover letter is an opportunity for you to make a (short) pitch to your prospective employer as to why you want the job and why they want you for the job. Personally, I would talk mostly about the experience at your employee and the Valuable Lessons it's teaching you, with a side of how they're so awesome you want to work there more. As truthfully as possible, though. If there's anything new, like coursework, that adds value to your pitch, it's worth mentioning.

That's my opinion, though - you may wasn't to see if you can finagle information out of coworkers or others that know the preferences of the people that will be reviewing your application.

On the main topic: we have covered the big ones - art, beauty, literature, science, history - just about everything taught in school counts.

I'll throw religion and politics onto that pile, provide your own examples.

The one I'm encountering the most in my work is that Tradition is Good Enough by itself. We do X because we've always done X, and therefore X is the best way to accomplish Y. Regardless of whether Z is actually a better way or not.

Lonespark said...

...and of course the flip side, X is New! and therefore Better!

Space Hamster said...

Hi. I've just stumbled upon this blog while doing a search for something totally unrelated (yay google *eyeroll*) and had one of those moments where the urge to comment was irresistible. I'm sure there's some sub-context I'm missing somewhere, but I was struck by the contradictory nature of the quoted post. Specifically, this part:

"I wonder if something similar is going on with these comedians. They think that the Dudebro comedy that they've shared together, watch on television, been immersed in at college, etc. is UNIVERSAL and don't consider a need to tailor their act for a larger audience."

While I, personally, do NOT enjoy the "Dudebro" style that many comedians utilise, isn't the OP guilty of something similar to what they are decrying? The attitude of, "If I don't like that style of [whatever they dislike], then how could anyone like it!". There is a reason many comedians are successfully doing "Dudebro" comedy. Apparently lots of people do like it.

There are a vast variety of comedians out there using vastly different styles of comedy. Maybe the OP simply needs to stop listening to/watching the type of comedians they dislike, and find someone they do enjoy.

On a separate note, I find this trend in today's society to want/need everything to cater to the "wider audience" disappointing. I've noticed over the last decade or so that many of the things I once enjoyed have become much less enjoyable ( <- personal opinions -> ). From games to movies to music, it generally has become much more bland. I blame this on an attempt to appeal to that 'wider audience'. Give me quirky, individual and unique any day.

Anyhow, just wanted to drop in and scratch that irresistible urge. :) Hope you all have a great day/night.

LKE said...

Really off topic here.

Does anyone know what happened to Former Conservative? Hir blog has been removed from wordpress. Has it moved or is FC gone from the internet?

chris the cynic said...

Does anyone know what happened to Former Conservative?

Yes I do, second time I've answered the question in the last half hour actually.

Here's a direct quote:I have decided to retire from blogging. I think the best thing for me to do at this time is to just live Christianity the way I think it should be practiced as best as I can rather than being a critic of others are doing.

The quote is actually from facebook, and the facebook account still exists, so it would appear that he is not gone from the internet entirely, on the other hand there's no indication there will be additional facebook posts.

chris the cynic said...

isn't the OP guilty of something similar to what they are decrying? The attitude of, "If I don't like that style of [whatever they dislike], then how could anyone like it!".

No. One could argue that it's saying, "If I don't like that style of [whatever they dislike], then not everyone likes it," but that happens to be true by definition and thus hard to argue against.

LKE said...

Thanks, Chris.

I don't have a facebook account, so I wouldn't have been able to see that message if you hadn't quoted it.

depizan said...

I'd wondered as well. I'm glad he's okay.

Asha said...

May I ask for some advice? An old schoolmate of mine came out in support of Chik-fil-a on facebook, and I just had enough of it. I had told him I disagreed with him in the past, and while we had grown up in the same church I never thought of him as a friend. I don't think I was unkind- I told him I didn't like the person he had become and that I was going to remove him from my friends list. He asked why, and I said it was because I found his comments hurtful and often homophobic. His answer was that he hoped I didn't unfriend everyone who disagreed with me, hate the sin love the sinner and who was the intolerant one, here?

I brought it up with my mom and she said I shouldn't drive away everyone who disagrees with me. I know Christians who aren't part of the persecuted hegemon, and this guy was not a close friend. Not even a friend, honestly.

Did I make the right call?

Lonespark said...

Of course you made the right call. Associate with people you it's actually worth it to spend time discussing things with.

Asha said...

*flustered* This is why having a facebook page under my real name stinks. I can't complain so much. >_<

Space Hamster said...

"No. One could argue that it's saying, "If I don't like that style of [whatever they dislike], then not everyone likes it," but that happens to be true by definition and thus hard to argue against."

In isolation, I agree. The point where it becomes contradictory though, is where it continues on to criticise the comedian for not being what the OP likes. The post implies that the OP consider themselves to be part of the "larger audience" that wants a form of entertainment that isn't offered. The problem is, it is offered, just not by that entertainer.

If your interpretation of the OP is correct, then I fail to see the point of the post. The point of claiming that humour is subjective is that not everyone will like the same things. To criticise the comedian for not complying with what the OP wants is a fair position when it is a simple critique, but not when it is an attempt to dismiss that form of entertainment in total opposition to the stated position that humour is subjective.

You can have the opinion that some humour is better than others, or even that some forms of supposed humour are not humourous, but I fail to understand how criticising for not catering to a larger audience in any way supports the argument that humour is, and should be, subjective.

Pqw, who used to be Laiima said...

If I read you correctly, this person's *disagreement* with your views wasn't the problem, so much as their bigotry. Close friends who are bigoted about an issue *might* be open to being called on it by a friend, and possibly changing their minds. People who aren't even your friends, though, aren't gonna care if you try 'shaming' them (at least, in my experience).

So basically, the question isn't, "am I driving away everyone who disagrees with me?", but, "do I want more or fewer bigots in my life?"

Two years ago, my best friend from middle school found me through Facebook (when I still had an account), and we began emailing each other, trying to see if we could be friends again. She'd moved from Chicagoland to Portland, OR, was married for the 2nd time, and had a kid. We'd both been pretty sheltered in 6th grade, but I figured, hey, we're 35 years older, Life Has Happened, probably our views could overlap. Short answer: No, hell no. Turns out, she hates that QUILTBAG people even *exist*. Ditto for Pagans, or anyone who isn't Christian. Essentially, in her opinion, anyone who's not a vanilla, conservative, Republican Christian should hide under a rock so so-called 'decent people' don't have to look at them.

We're not friends anymore. I left Facebook. And I don't care if I never talk to anyone I went to junior high or high school with ever again.

Personally, I think you made the right call.

Asha said...

Thanks. *sighs* I really don't get it when people who were bullies/not really friends find you on facebook and think you should welcome them with open arms. Why? Just... why? I'm not really wanting to delete my facebook because it lets me see what my old students are up to (well, at least pictures. I can barely read Japanese) but that people find me whom I really dislike..? *twitch*

Ana Mardoll said...

Hi. Welcome to my blog.

You are willfully misunderstanding my post, I'd bet money you haven't clicked through to Shakesville to read the context I provided, you're being argumentative in an Open Thread, you clearly haven't read the comment policy, you're accusing me of views I don't hold based on never having read anything I wrote before this post despite there being hundreds of posts here for you to peruse, you've deliberately and hilariously accused me of objectifying humor in a post where I call humor subjective, situational, and highly variable avoiding to personal taste and preference, and you're doing all this on a night when my pain medication isn't working.

Is there a reason, in your opinion, why I shouldn't ban you for these things? I'm curious.

Silver Adept said...

@Asha - From how you've described it, that call is totally correct. You don't want people at the acquaintance level that are going to sap your energy and that post things you're not interested in, so you're removing them.

If you felt like it would be worthwhile, you could point out the logical faults in "hate the sin, love the sinner" as usually practiced. Also, "tolerance", when swung like that, assumes that both sides are equal and neither has an interest in making the other's life criminal. This is not the case with the fast food chain, nor most strains of Christianity than concern themselves with QUILTBAG affairs.

You're not unfriending everyone who, no, wait, it's none of their godsdamned business why you friend or unfriend anyone, and any reasons you give are a courtesy to them.

@Space Hamster -

I believe you're wide of the mark, but not by much. If I read the quoted part correctly, the critique is leveled at performers who believe that Dudebro comedy is objectively, and thus, universally, funny, and that anyone who disagrees with them is objectively wrong, relieving them of any need to adjust their material to avoid alienating potential audience members. It does make an underlying assumption that the performer's goal is to appeal to as wide an audience as possible (doing so usually gets you booked in the greatest possible number of places, maximizing your ability to generate revenue from your humor). If that's not the case, then bets are off, in my opinion. The quoted bit argues that mistaking trends or majorities for universals, no matter how long those things have been trends or majorities, is a bad idea.

Pqw, who used to be Laiima said...

I spent years and years hoping that the interesting people I'd never gotten to know very well from school would look *me* up. When that never happened, I looked some of them up. Apparently they never thought *I* was interesting, then or now. :(

So, I stopped looking for them. And I moved on emotionally. If one of them tracked me down now (unlikely, given my name changes), I'd be wary about why they were suddenly interested, after all these years.

So yeah, I'm with you.

Asha said...

Some of them, I'm not too angry with. But I was ostracized and bullied- not hugely, but enough that I have social anxiety to deal with, even as an adult. I had to teach myself to deal with people. I also have a terrible time of letting go of anything. I like to hold my grudges, dangit.

Plus, I stopped feeling safe in my old church (where I met this old acquaintance), which is why I quit going. This was a place that got mad when I pushed to be an usher. Or when I fell down stairs and called for help and no one came. Or fell in the parking lot and scraped myself bloody and no one asked if I was okay until I got to the bathroom. Or forgot to tell me they offered a scholarship. Or got embarrassed because I read the stupid sunday school book and the teacher didn't and thus could question things.

Yeah. Um. Grudges. I haz them.

Space Hamster said...

Hi. Thanks for the (apparently insincere) welcome.

No. I haven't read the comment policy. No. I haven't clicked the link. No. I wasn't willfully misunderstanding your post. No. I wasn't being argumentative in the negative way you imply.

What I did do was come across an open blog post that I found while searching for something completely unrelated. There was no indication that this was anything other than a discussion on the use of the words 'objective' and 'subjective'. I then attempted to have a civil, non-confrontational discussion with a person who found my point of view interesting enough to respond to and who happened to hold a different opinion.

If this is a closed community that does not wish to engage in discussion, then so be it, ban away. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable continuing to participate in your discussions anyway, due to your confrontational manner.

So to answer your question, no. I see no reason for you to not ban me. Curiosity assuaged?

Timothy (TRiG) said...

Actually, Former Consevative's Facebook Page is visible even if you're not signed in to Fb, so you can read it.


Ana Mardoll said...

Well, goodbye and congratulations on your new ban. Not everyone manages to get banned within their first three posts, but you demonstrated that it can be done. And thank you for clearing up any vestige of a doubt that you might have something of value to contribute to this community.

This is not a free space for people who think it's perfectly respectful to say "Read the linked context before I ascribe opinions to a woman I don't know from Eve and then lecture her about them? LOL-LOL-LOL, fuck context! There's finger-waggling to do!" Nor is this a place for people who think it's reasonable to ignore the corrections and explanations of respected members of this community because obviously you -- with your great personal insight into human nature and your understandably big ego -- know better than they do, and thus they should be condescended to for trying to clear things up on your behalf. I will not brook that kind of bad behavior, period.

But, you know, keep looking. The internet is a big place, and I'm sure eventually you'll find a woman blogger who enjoys being lectured by strangers who can't be arsed to do research before scolding. Live the dream.

Lonespark said...

I feel bad for not saying anything to Willful Misunderstanding Guy. I was kind of not sure where to start with the Fractal Wrong.

Your kiss-off post there is a thing a beauty.

Ana Mardoll said...

Ah, thank you. I figure, if I'm going to be an Evil Overlord Blogger, I might as well make it amusing for everyone to watch. :)

chris the cynic said...

I, for one, welcome the era of the amusing overlord.

Silver Adept said...

I second this amusing evil overlord (that is a nice banhammer, there) and add two comment:

Willful Misunderstanding Guy has demonstrated another thing we think is objective but turns out to not usually be: the measure of our intelligence.

@Asha - this is also why we think you made a perfectly good decision in telling your problem commenter to GTFO.

CleverNamePending said...

Relationships. So many people think they know what the "right" relationship is, and are freaked out when they see people happy in something that deviates too far from their ideal and is still happy and functional. "What do you mean you're poly-amorous?" "What do you mean you still do your own thing Friday nights when you're engaged?" "Wait, being his sub means he can WHAT?" "You're buying a house before you're getting married?!" "You're getting married before you're (insert any age)" "You're (insert age) and not married yet?!" "You don't just obey your S.O.?"

It has taken a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that not everyone wants a relationship where they can simply trust the other person to be open, honest, fair, respectful, supportive, and still both be your own people and do your own things. That's what I want. That is my definition of a happy, healthy relationship. A lot of people would rather someone who spoils them rotten, or who is PASSIONATE, or who is more co-dependent. Who am I to judge what's "right" or "wrong" in relationships? Even though wrapping my head around some of the things my friends wanted in their own relationships is a struggle for me sometimes, I'm still baffled how many times I hear people tell others that their relationship is "wrong".

I could also write another rant about sex being subjective (what makes it good/bad) and vaginas being "healthy" (every one is different) but I don't think I need to say more then that on those two to get the point across.


Makabit said...

There are people I put up with Chick-Fil-A-supportin' type stuff from on the Internet because I love them, and want to be in touch with them, and they know I disagree, and maybe we fight over it and maybe we don't.

And then there are the not-close friends who post something ugly, and they're just gone from my friendlist, and they probably never notice.

And it's your call. Keeping him doesn't mean agreeing, or consenting to his Chick-Fil-A stuff, and dumping him doesn't mean you're a jerk. Just do whatever feels OK.

Asha said...

I went ahead and un-friended him. *shrugs* I don't really feel bad about it, but I tend to fear I'll hurt people without meaning to.

anon39 said...

If you don't mind a teenage girl whining a bit?:

Apparently everyone over a certain age must either be in a relationship or want to be in one? Or are lying to themselves about how they feel or are being purposely immature?

Where as I have no interest in romance- casual dates or anything serious- whatsoever, but as I'm female over a certain age most of my family and acquaintances either disbelieve it or think there's something wrong with me.

Brin Bellway said...

Good luck, anon39.
(I was able to successfully convince my mom, and last time I got into an argument over the (non)existence of the straight-gay dichotomy she backed me up. It's much better not fighting alone, and I hope you have or get someone like that.)

If you don't mind a teenage girl whining a bit?
as I'm female over a certain age most of my family and acquaintances either disbelieve it or think there's something wrong with me.

Huh. I was under the impression that people don't stop saying "Don't worry*, you'll grow into it" until around late twenties - early thirties.

*Who's worrying?

chris the cynic said...

*Who's worrying?

Them, perhaps?

depizan said...

I'm over several certain ages and quite happily single. Some people just aren't wired for romance. (And some people are extremely selective, and some people's hormones run on a different schedule, and some people discover they're interested in the same gender, and ninety million other things.) What should matter is whether you're happy. And if you're happy, to hell with the people saying you shouldn't be.

Hopefully, in time they'll realize you are happy and stop caring that you're not following their formula for how people work.

Timothy (TRiG) said...

I must say that I've found that one of the better things about being an adult is that people stop asking you what you want to be when you grow up. I've never had a good answer for that question.


Stuart Armstrong said...

You might be interested in the Less Wrong post "Mind projection fallacy".

A taster:
In the dawn days of science fiction, alien invaders would occasionally kidnap a girl in a torn dress and carry her off for intended ravishing, as lovingly depicted on many ancient magazine covers. Oddly enough, the aliens never go after men in torn shirts.

Would a non-humanoid alien, with a different evolutionary history and evolutionary psychology, sexually desire a human female? It seems rather unlikely. To put it mildly.

People don't make mistakes like that by deliberately reasoning: "All possible minds are likely to be wired pretty much the same way, therefore a bug-eyed monster will find human females attractive." Probably the artist did not even think to ask whether an alien perceives human females as attractive. Instead, a human female in a torn dress is sexy—inherently so, as an intrinsic property.

Silver Adept said...

@anon39 - Nobody but you gets to dictate how your love life "should" go (see earlier deconstruction on can't, shouldn't, won't), whether that means you're exploring your sexuality as soon as possible, you find out that really, you're ace, or any one or more of the combinations in between. We don't have to worry about "marriageable age" or how much property a young woman will bring in on a dowry any more.

@TRiG - perhaps the best answer to that question is "When I grow up, I will let you know." It would be accurate for me, despite having a profession and a large amount of adult responsibilities.

Isabel C. said...

Yeah--I'm thirty, interested in sex, a goddamn romance novelist, and not at all interested in any sort of romantic relationship. Fictional men are fun; actual men just get in your hair, complicate your plans, and want Chinese food when you want Indian. I'm developing rapidly into Girl!Henry Higgins, and I'm really quite happy that way.

But yeah, the number of "...well, you'll change your mind" comments has been non-insignificant. My friends have been great about it, to be fair.

I think there *are* unhealthy ways to conduct romance, for sure--I'd be hard pressed to be oh-as-long-as-you're-happy about the Prairie Muffins, for example, and I've described a friend's Unfortunate SO as a black hole of neediness and fail/possibly a lower planar being/etc--but I think the spectrum of "doesn't work for me, but works just fine for you" is broader than most people recognize and certainly broader than most media does. And even with the "....seriously, dude?" varieties as above, if the participants are adults, they get to make their own choices there. I might roll my eyes and snark, but people have the right to want and pursue fucked-up shit sometimes.

Ana Mardoll said...

CN: Rape, Child Abuse

Because someone has sent a very nice email asking about Willfully Misunderstanding Guy, and because one email usually represents ten people, and because I really do care about being a kind and loving blog-overlord, here is the context he missed:

The linked post (which this was a re-post from) was about Comedian A complaining because an audience didn't laugh at Comedian B's opening joke, which was about adults/parents raping small children. Comedian A was saying that he didn't understand why the Audience wouldn't love that joke when HE loved it so much. So I posted something saying that, hey, humor is subjective. What you find funny in private between friends isn't going to always carry over to in public amongst strangers. And then I provided non-triggery examples of the very concept of "in-joke" and why it doesn't immediately carry over into a larger audience. Which is precisely what Comedian A and B were attempting to do: carry over an in-joke to a larger audience of strangers.

To decide to ignore all that -- what I wrote, what it was in response to, the context of this entire blog, etc. -- to assert that I'm shaming people for finding a certain type of humor funny is grossly offensive and incorrect. In order to get from here to there, you have to make a lot of deliberate assumptions about me. Which I tend to ask people not to do. To then dig deeper when someone on the board clarifies and pull the "but if that's what she meant, then why even post it because it's SO OBVIOUS that humor is subjective!" card (which is really what GetYourOwnEffingBlog was created for) was really just the final straw after a whole helping of hay.

I hope that helps to clarify why this particular ban was handed out.

Yet another lurker said...

"Willfully Misunderstanding Guy" had it coming - in fact, it was almost a textbook case of somebody trying hard to set a record for "Most Fail in a Driveby Comment, No Bad Language Subcategory". I think Ana handled it with much aplomb and hope it didn't take too many spoons.

Long-time lurker, first-time commenter, still trying to improve as a person. I hope a "you rock, Ana!" is universally positive and doesn't accidentally drag in unfortunate connotations (bias against classical music?), but I know it's way better than what a much older and well-meaning bowling teammate used to say - "Attaboy, girl!" (I don't think he ever realized the unfortunate implications of that short congratulatory phrase)

Ana Mardoll said...

Thank you, yes, "rockstar" compliments and similar derivatives are welcome here. :)

I am intrigued by the idea of classical-music-based compliments. "You symphone"?

chris the cynic said...

"You fugue, Ana!"

This would actually be Baroque-music based, but it seems fun:
"Reading your writing is like hearing Bach at the harpsichord."

Um... yeah, I got nothing.

LKE said...


You're a symphony of wonderfulness played in the key of awesome with a coda of astounding?

Silver Adept said...

For classical, more often than not, at least in my experience, the exclamation is "You harmonize!" Which is what a lot of the awesome in classical is built upon.

But the other offerings are quite good, too!

LA said...

Another thing treated as objective that is definitely subjective--the belief that all married people should have children. Or that all women want/MUST have a baby in order to be "real women." Not all of us are cut out for raising children, no matter how great a parent other people think they will be (and of course, when people have kids just because it's what they're expected to do, and then things turn out horribly, people always say things like "so and so should've never had kids if they didn't want to raise them"...except up until that point, most people perpetuated EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of that belief--"you'll love them when they're yours"; "it's natural!" or "but I need grandchildren!"

...I am a bit bitter about being hounded about this since getting married. My husband and I like kids; we just don't want our own for many reasons. I wish people would leave me the hell alone about it for the span of *one* family gathering (they never hound him, it's always me they go after. Well, joke's on them, Because Vasectomy).

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