Monday Miscellany: Lipstick, Lifeguards, Lesbians

1. Examining American culture from a distance is hard to do. Enter, Nacirema. Gawk at their strange rituals.

2. Anger management curriculum for prisoners.

3. Reducing cheating in science—better alternatives than trying to change all of the incentives.

4. Lifeguard Would Save Drowning Man, But Maybe The Man’s Death Will Inspire A Proletariat Revolution. Making Things Better Just Delays The Destruction of Capitalism.

5. The ‘glass closet‘:

Queer women are simultaneously invisible and hyper-visible. We’re invisible, though increasingly less so, in the sense that we are almost always presumed straight until proven otherwise, that our girlfriends become our “gal pals,” that our sexual experiences become “just college girls experimenting” or “just girls trying to get guys’ attention.” We’re invisible in the sense that you almost never see queer female relationships in shows or movies or books that aren’t About Gay People (such as Glee and The L Word). (Even with shows like Glee, though, queer female fans often had to fight for that representation, to fight for characters like them to be treated seriously.) […]

Yet at the same time, in some contexts, queer women are hyper-visible. I think of the glass toilet stall from my dream again when I remember how I’ve felt out in public with my female partners. Queerness is a “marked” identity, which means that sometimes it’s way more obvious and noticed and remarked-upon than straightness. When I’m out with a boyfriend, nobody pays us any particular mind. Sure, sometimes people might notice us and think, “What a cute couple!” (or maybe I’m just flattering myself, but really, people have this thought about straight couples sometimes), but certainly nobody’s going to stare, let alone point fingers or giggle or glare disapprovingly.

6. I wrote about the distinction between global and local validity of feelings, and Miri responded with a piece on the idea of rationality and validity of feelings.

Irrational and invalid aren’t the same thing. We can go wrong when we believe that any emotion that’s irrational must therefore be invalid, but we also go wrong when we believe that any emotion that’s valid must also be rational. (I think the latter error is made less often, but it’s true that some people feel that because emotions are “valid,” they must simply accept them as they are.)

In social circles where rationality is very highly valued, it can become difficult to tell others about how you’re feeling when you think that your feelings are irrational. Sometimes we fear judgmental responses from others (“But that makes no sense! Of course I don’t hate you! How could you possibly believe something like that?”). Other times, we may trust that people will be supportive, but we still don’t want to come across as someone who has a lot of “silly” or “irrational” feelings.

7. Lipstick advice is so much better when it’s framed as adult crayons.

8. This book recommendation is going up here, rather than in the Stuff I Read section: The Power of a Positive No is one of the most useful social/work/life advice books I’ve read in a while. The focus is setting boundaries effectively, while both making yourself feel okay with your decisions and nurturing relationships with people. I particularly liked that it focused on specific questions I could ask myself to figure out what to say, and concrete formats for saying no.

9. This is good.

Do you want to impress me with your moral backbone?  Then go and find a group that almost all of your Facebook friends still consider it okay, even praiseworthy, to despise and mock, for moral failings that either aren’t failings at all or are no worse than the rest of humanity’s.  (I promise: once you start looking, it shouldn’t be hard to find.)  Then take a public stand for that group.


Thank You For Arguing, Jay Heinrichs
A classic, a little Dark Arts.

Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship, Joshua Harris
Look, I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye as a kid, I had to read the second one.

Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
Early 19th century lesbians in England and on the stage. Slightly fantastical.

The Magicians, Lev Grossman
Well, that was whimsy that got horrifyingly dark. (In the best way.)

2 thoughts on “Monday Miscellany: Lipstick, Lifeguards, Lesbians

  1. I liked that Scott Aaronson piece, but I also liked the comment that pointed out that, as everyone’s been saying, The Fight Isn’t Over. Maybe you shouldn’t be targeting everything you say solely at your Facebook friends. I don’t think there’s anyone that my Facebook friends are *awful* to, though they could obviously improve their attitudes and behaviors in some ways.

    1. Yeah, I ended up coming up with some when I thought of it, which might be about my friend group more than anything. (Furries, neurodivergent people who aren’t sympathetic were the two that came to mind immediately)

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