Possibly problematic posts? October 25, 2009 1:42 PM   Subscribe

A couple recent AskMes have left me a little confused about how to address problematic, but not intentionally offensive assumptions.

this and this aren't intended to be sexist, but they incorporate a certain worldview that I found difficult to leave totally unchallenged. I flagged the first post, and left what was probably an unnecessarily sarcastic comment in the other. I don't really think either should be deleted, I more think each poster might benefit from a short note saying why some readers might take issue with the post. I might just send a memail message along these lines, but I wonder generally if other people have ideas for how to usefully and non-confrontationally address this kind of thing.
posted by serazin to Etiquette/Policy at 1:42 PM (142 comments total)

Both posters are self-aware as to the nature of their questions. The car one is extremely specific about this.
posted by ishotjr at 1:46 PM on October 25, 2009


a certain worldview that I found difficult to leave totally unchallenged.

Then a personal email is the right way to address that if you can't answer the questions without being sarcastic [i.e. unhelpful]. I'm aware that you're not asking me personally, but we want people to feel free to ask questions, even ones they might feel are stupid, without people getting all judgmental on their asses. We have moderate success through aggressive moderation, but this is a lot easier when people can keep from hassling the poster, even if you think they're wrong, misguided or breaking whatever societal rules are important to you.

In fact I thought the second poster took some pains to address the potential issues "And yeah, I know, there really is no such thing as a chick car, or a guy car, or a young person car, or an old person car, a straight car, a gay car, blah blah blah." and yet at the same time he wanted people's opinions.

I've seen people do a very good job at gently addressing a poster's assumptions while at the same time not making fun of them and allowing them to, at some level, maintain their dignity. Other people are less good at this. Other people fail at this and don't care. Others fail and do care. Trying to allow assumptions ot be challenged while at the same time not allowing people to be harassed for the questions they ask is an ongoing challenge.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:53 PM on October 25, 2009 [18 favorites]


Makes sense J. Thanks.
posted by serazin at 2:08 PM on October 25, 2009


speaking of glutes..a few minutes ago from my porch I saw a woman walking her dog down 27th street. The dog pooped and she not only cleaned up the poop (which is the law after all) but also wiped the dogs ass. The dog did not look happy, FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 2:42 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The first thing I check out is his boots, not his booty. His shoes will tell me a lot more about him than his butt. Nice shoes = nice bank account, and perhaps nice genes. This man can provide for my children if he gets me pregnant. We will produce successful, attractive, and fertile kids. Robin Baker said so.
posted by Eleutherios at 2:52 PM on October 25, 2009


Next time you're wondering whether to ignore the question, answer the question, or challenge the poster's assumptions, please notice that the site is called Ask Metafilter, not Challenge My Assumptions Metafilter.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:02 PM on October 25, 2009 [17 favorites]



The first thing I check out is his boots, not his booty. His shoes will tell me a lot more about him than his butt. Nice shoes = nice bank account, and perhaps nice genes. This man can provide for my children if he gets me pregnant. We will produce successful, attractive, and fertile kids. Robin Baker said so.


I'm currently wearing these. Line forms to the left ladies.



we can rate the superhunks!!
posted by The Whelk at 3:07 PM on October 25, 2009


The first thing I check out is his boots, not his booty.

A woman can be as fine as can be,
with kisses sweet as honey
But that don't mean a thing to me
If she ain't got no money
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:07 PM on October 25, 2009


And you know, it really annoys me that any question about dating runs smack into this la la land fantasyworld viewpoint that people should only care about each others' intellect and moral fiber and "personality" (whatever that means). And that it's wrong for to care about things like looks, money, fashion, or how people comport themselves in public or on a date. Well guess what? No matter what they taught you on Sesame Street, these things MATTER! And sometimes people have questions about them, and need to ask them in a forum where they will get real actual information. So please, save your judgemental BS for someplace else. Or just, like, talk to yourself in the mirror or something if it makes you feel better.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:10 PM on October 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Pony leather? "Personality"?
posted by box at 3:12 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to contrast the answers in that thread with those in this one: Do women notice a man's shoes and to what extent?

It shows how much it matters how you ask a question. If you ask "do all *group* do something?" you will get a ton of answers saying that everyone is a special snowflake. But if you ask "do you, as a member of *group* do something?", you get various datapoints and can generalize them all you wish. For instance, it does seem like most women notice men's shoes. Or at least Ask Metafilter women.
posted by smackfu at 3:27 PM on October 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Grain of salt, how 'bout?
posted by thinkpiece at 3:40 PM on October 25, 2009


I have massive glutes and I don't even know what they are. Shit was so cash.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:53 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


but they incorporate a certain worldview that I found difficult to leave totally unchallenged

Are there really people who walk around this life thinking thoughts like this?
posted by xmutex at 3:58 PM on October 25, 2009 [22 favorites]


Um, getting back to the original question.

Neither of these was even mildly offensive, IMO. Perhaps serazin has her sensitivity level too high.

I have observed that those questions or comments which do incorporate offensive views tend to gather pretty quick and effective responses.
posted by yclipse at 4:14 PM on October 25, 2009


i only date people who watch discovery health and eat fritos

QED

I don't see what's so wrong with either post, the reason people ask questions is because they want to know stuff. That means that sometimes they will be ignorant of what they're asking.
posted by kathrineg at 4:16 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


There may/may not be things that a majority of women consider attractive in a man. There may/may not be a car that most people will relate to women rather than men. Just because there are many choices that a person can make for a given question does NOT mean that most women might prefer something. And even if the person didn't phrase the question exactly perfectly, wanting to know if MOST women like asses, or if MOST people would consider a certain car to be a "woman's car", then seriously who cares?
posted by 23skidoo at 4:26 PM on October 25, 2009


ishotjr: Both posters are self-aware as to the nature of their questions. The car one is extremely specific about this.

jessamyn probably read it better than I did, but my problem with the car one wasn't that it was sort of sexist; it was that it wasn't a question at all. It was something to the effect 'Do you think this is a chick car, and I know there's no such thing, and really people don't care what kind of car you have, but yeah - uh, chick car? What do you think?' What exactly is the question? I have a hard time with any question that includes the line "I'm asking this knowing full well that it's all superficial BS." I can't stand questions about the 'vague ought,' i.e. questions about what people should say or do (or buy, in most cases). I never know who the base perspective is supposed to be provided by; the real question is something like, whose norms are you hoping to follow?
posted by koeselitz at 4:37 PM on October 25, 2009


actually, i noticed that everyone who drove my make and model of my car was african american. didn't want to do an askme post about that, though.
posted by lester at 4:44 PM on October 25, 2009


I want to buy a Subaru just so I can drive the #1 car of lesbians.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:51 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I bought a Pontiac Vibe because, you know, they don't make 'em like that (or at all) anymore.
posted by headnsouth at 5:15 PM on October 25, 2009


Is it even possible to give a helpful answer to the first question without challenging its assumptions?
posted by moss at 5:18 PM on October 25, 2009


I never got what the big deal was with butts anyway.

And yes, I do appreciate the irony of someone with my username stating that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:35 PM on October 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


ideas for how to usefully and non-confrontationally address this kind of thing.

Give em the ol silent treatment. Ignore everything they say or write for a couple weeks. See how they like that!
posted by water bear at 5:36 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wait, I drive a lesbian car?
posted by fixedgear at 5:50 PM on October 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


oh, please, like you haven't seen the way it looks at other cars
posted by kathrineg at 5:51 PM on October 25, 2009 [10 favorites]


But I have seen how other cars look at it.
posted by fixedgear at 5:54 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


We have a third entry in the "problematic, but not intentionally offensive" contest: Is depression just unhappiness you can't be bothered dealing with?
posted by smackfu at 5:55 PM on October 25, 2009


smackfu: I tried commenting in that thread, but then I just decided (with help from the flag queue) that it was worth deleting.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:59 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


In all fairness, I should have looked more carefully at Jessamyn's comment, the 2nd, and the OP's reply, the 3rd.
posted by yclipse at 6:14 PM on October 25, 2009


but then I just decided (with help from the flag queue) that it was worth deleting.

It would have probably been a bitch to moderate, but I do wish it had stayed open, as the OP needs a greater understanding of depression.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:23 PM on October 25, 2009


MeFi Mail?
posted by GilloD at 6:39 PM on October 25, 2009


I flagged the car question as ageist. Nobody but me cares about ageism but I flag it anyway.
posted by timeistight at 6:40 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


this and this aren't intended to be sexist, but they incorporate a certain worldview that I found difficult to leave totally unchallenged.

The world is challenging enough, you don't have to go challenging at every turn.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 PM on October 25, 2009


It's interesting to contrast the answers in that thread with those in this one: Do women notice a man's shoes and to what extent?

It shows how much it matters how you ask a question. If you ask "do all *group* do something?" you will get a ton of answers saying that everyone is a special snowflake. But if you ask "do you, as a member of *group* do something?", you get various datapoints and can generalize them all you wish. For instance, it does seem like most women notice men's shoes. Or at least Ask Metafilter women.


I don't understand -- the shoes question asked whether women notice men's shoes. It didn't ask whether you, as a woman, notice men's shoes.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:55 PM on October 25, 2009


Are there really people who walk around this life thinking thoughts like this?

Ah, if only more people could approach sexism with the same gentle touch that you do, xmutex.
posted by Her Most Serene Highness at 7:14 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't get why the car question is offensive. Whether you think the classification of a car as being a "chick car" (or a drink being a "girl drink" and so on) is bullshit or not, it doesn't change the fact that enough people think that way that this is a valid concern if you're worried about your image. I suppose you could challenge him for caring about his image, but his question wasn't "please help me care less what people think about me." Dude even added a disclaimer to this effect and it still gets called out?

I honestly don't get why people want to use AskMe as a place to enforce their idea of How The World Should Be when askers are coming from a position of How It Is. I think it's OK to challenge assumptions when the asker is confused about How It Is actually is, but that's not the case here. If you're hauling around town in a white convertible VW Rabbit (the penultimate), some people are going to notice.
posted by cj_ at 7:15 PM on October 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Note: I don't think this warrants a whole meta discussion, but I'd rather people be overly sensitive than the alternative.
posted by Her Most Serene Highness at 7:15 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


the shoes question asked whether women notice men's shoes

You're right. It really is the same question, it was just answered differently.
posted by smackfu at 7:43 PM on October 25, 2009


"i noticed that everyone who drove my make and model of my car was african american."

Nissan Maxima?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 7:56 PM on October 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Anyone who takes offense at either of the questions in the original post is trying too hard; the first asker was neatly disabused of his misgiven notions by every polite "not all women are the same" answer he got, and the second asker made it clear that he understands the nature of the superficial judgements he is asking about.
The "people who say they are depressed should just snap out of it amirite" question strikes very close to home for me so I switched off the computer and went for a walk in the autumn sunshine rather than typing out a few thousand characters of internet rage that I would delete rather than posting. The people who calmly replied with correct answers to the question (no you are not right depression is a disease and there is science about brains and chemicals to prove it; don't blame the victims) before its deletion seemed to be doing a good job, but I guess there was other stuff going on that caused the deletion to be necessary.
In summary: if a good answer to the question is "your assumptions are wrong; here is the truth" (2 of the three threads here) then that's the way to address it. If not, flag it and move on — it will be deleted if it is judged to be genuinely offensive.
posted by nowonmai at 8:02 PM on October 25, 2009


As offensive as the "omg depression amirite?" thread was, I did enjoy finding out about and reading David Foster Wallace's short story "The Depressed Person," so I guess it's not all bad.
posted by malapropist at 8:35 PM on October 25, 2009


I like nowonmai's idea about 'your assumptions are wrong; here's the truth (as I see it). Because that's the point - truth is kind of relative, particularly in who takes issue (not even offense, just even mere issue) with what, and why.

For example, there is a lovely, non-inflammatory 'I'm an introvert/she's an extrovert' thread that I am enjoying, and in the back of my mind I can hear Mr. Anitanita saying "I think it helps to label behaviors, not people". He works in the mental health field, and he used to be an elementary school teacher, and for some reason, this combo means that he takes issue with people shorthanding people by their behavioral traits. To him, the distinction is significant. For me, not so much. I just totally 'get' what the poster is saying and let it ride. My point is, we all have things that stick in our craw, things that *seem* like unfortunate ignorance/ an ill-considered perspective/an insult/etc.

I think it would be nice if the first reaction in the face of unfortunate ignorance/ an ill-considered perspective/an insult was not to assume malice, and not to start off with the verbal equivalent of the back of the hand. If your point is that good, it doesn't need the extra special crunchiness of sarcasm, or at least, it helps not to lead with the sarcasm, or let the sarcasm stand solo. Sarcasm's like gratin; at it's best it's a tasty side dish to the more thoughtful main dish of your well considered, tempered point. Because in those situations, very few people can land snark (on it's own) well enough online (without tonal/body cues) to provoke the potential enlightenment they say they are shooting for.

So I try to remember this little rule of thumb: People have a right to their perspective. Sarcasm has it's charms, but snark is not a koan. We all respond to candid civility much better than anything else out there.
posted by anitanita at 8:48 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]



As offensive as the "omg depression amirite?" thread was, I did enjoy finding out about and reading David Foster Wallace's short story "The Depressed Person," so I guess it's not all bad.


Totally off topic but: rumor has it that this wasn't a story about Wallace's own self-loathing, but a particularly cruel portrait of ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Wurtzel and how her own depression manifested itself.
posted by availablelight at 8:50 PM on October 25, 2009


My world view has been challenged, and remained surprisingly unaffected.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:01 PM on October 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Speaking personally, I would be less than enthused if I wrote a relatively harmless (IMHO) askme post about the perception of cars, or how women evaluate a man's appeareance, and received a memail intended to "challenge my worldview".

Nthing the flag it and move on or answer in thread options. I think memail, unless very carefully worded and toned, would likely come across as condescending and intrusive.

Just my two cents.
posted by dnesan at 10:25 PM on October 25, 2009


Some time ago I was invited to attend a ceremony sponsored by a county and attended by many Sheriff's deputies. I could not help noticing that not one deputy appeared to keep his boots polished. Make of that what you will, but the sheriff was soon replaced.
posted by Cranberry at 11:18 PM on October 25, 2009


This buddy of mine was 23 and brought a car - but he didn't go for an economy car for young people, of a fancy sporty car; he went for (as I recall) a Citroen estate car/station wagon with room for luggage and passengers, and a good EURO-NCAP safety rating. The kind of car one wouldn't imagine a 23-year-old pining after, practical though it may have been. We had made some light-hearted fun of this guy in the past because he was a bit prone to making decisions which implied he was in a bit of a hurry to reach middle age, which this practical family car seemed like an example of. I didn't make much fun myself, I mean, a car's a car, right?

A few weeks after his purchase a new ad campaign for the car came out; the tagline was "softens the blow of hitting 40".

Anyway, here's my point: Much though we may want to deny that there's a mapping between vehicle designs and customer demographics, the people who design and market cars don't seem to go in for that so much. So though you and I might say there's no such thing as a 'chick car', there can still be cars that are predominantly marketed to and purchased by women.

As such, I don't think the question about cars was unreasonable.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:08 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


This post incorporates a certain worldview that I find difficult to leave totally unchallenged. I'm going to, though.
posted by krilli at 2:18 AM on October 26, 2009


I want to buy a Subaru just so I can drive the #1 car of lesbians.

It's funny seeing different brand connotations in different countries. In New Zealand the Subaru's first niche was cheap AWD wagons for powderhounds (the Omega and the like). Then somewhat more upmarket AWD wagons for the ski set (Legacy). Then Q-ship performance cars (Legacy GT, which could crush the balls of the likes of the old V8 SS Commodore of the era). Now it's vulgar boy-racer mobiles (Impreza STi).
posted by rodgerd at 2:34 AM on October 26, 2009


(Also, I like MX-5s. My standard response to the suggestion it's a "gay car" is something along the lines of, "If getting in an MX-5 makes you want to take a long chug of cock, you weren't that straight to begin with.")
posted by rodgerd at 2:36 AM on October 26, 2009


"i noticed that everyone who drove my make and model of my car was african american."

Nissan Maxima?


Volvo?
posted by fixedgear at 2:37 AM on October 26, 2009


Well, it appears that my experience isn't shared by many here, so I'll move on. Unfortunately, I'm now sure to be remembered as that mefi member who finds it difficult to leave people's worldviews unchallenged. And to think I could have been the Tater Guy.
posted by serazin at 3:14 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some fellas look at the eyes
Some fellas look at the nose
Some fellas look at the size
Some fellas look at the clothes
I don't care if her eyes are red
I don't care if her nose is long
I don't care if she's underfed
I don't care if her clothes are worn
First I look at the purse!


You know, right before I plow my 1987 Buick Electra into your shiny new Mazda 3, my first thought will be "I'd hit it."

(Kidding, love Mazdas, don't own an Electra, do not drive aggressively)
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:00 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, what was the question again?
posted by dg at 4:06 AM on October 26, 2009


I never got what the big deal was with butts anyway.

Oh, butts are of the utmost importance for all of us. Look, only straight women and gay men have any sexual interest in cocks, and only straight men or lesbians care about boobs and pussies, but everybody , male or female, straight or gay, enjoys a nice ass.

I think the key to world peace is here.
posted by jonmc at 4:24 AM on October 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


And to think I could have been the Tater Guy.

Halloween is coming up, you can be that guy and socially acceptable.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:59 AM on October 26, 2009


Good god, not your ass theory again.
posted by jouke at 5:12 AM on October 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


They laughed at Einstein, too, jouke.
posted by jonmc at 5:20 AM on October 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


"i noticed that everyone who drove my make and model of my car was african american."

Nissan Maxima?

Volvo?


Chrysler 300?
posted by box at 5:31 AM on October 26, 2009


Serazin, what about your assumptions? You're assuming the guy is just a young American being superficial about car stereotypes that he heard about all his life. Well, here's a first-generation immigrant who, when looking at cars, was seriously considering a Minivan as an awesome car for a 25 year-old because you can fit all your stuff and all your friends in it. I simply had NO IDEA it had a stereotype associated with it in the US. Likewise, you'll find one of my first AskMe questions is "will I look stupid driving a convertible during winter in Seattle?", which wasn't "do you think people driving convertibles during winter are stupid?", but more like "I really have absolutely no idea if it is normal for people to drive convertibles during winter - is it something mainstream, or something that looks completely out of place and weird?". You may be all "Wah, come on, just buy a Minivan if you want one and fuck it if people think you're a daddy", but:

1) For someone ignorant of those hidden rules (e.g. an immigrant) or someone who is blind to social cues (possibly someone in the autistic spectrum) and trying to fit in, the last thing they need is something to make them feel yet more out of place or socially awkward. It's like Carrie being totally unaware that her clothes are "off" until she's being teased for them.

2) Also, for an "outsider" like this, it's incredibly difficult to distinguish between mostly jokey stereotypes (Miata as a girly car, Subaru as a lesbian car), from mostly true stereotypes that people will actually assume (Minivan for people with children), and everything between (Hummers for assholes? Pick-ups for rednecks? Camaros for creepy middle-aged guys? Vans with blacked-out windows for kidnappers? Priuses for hippies?). No one will look at a guy in a Miata and think "Wow, that girl is ugly! She looks like a dude.", but it WILL be assumed that an adult driving a Minivan has kids, and is possibly married. People WILL be weirded out if you say you're single and childless, and then go on a date in a Minivan, and will start wondering if you're a creepy married dude or something.


It's one thing to buy a car being aware that it has an image that you've decided you don't care about, and another thing to be "HAHA look at the clueless guy in the pink convertible beetle", or "Why do all dates freak out and start acting weird when they get to my car?" and then when you find out about the car's image you just spent 20000 on it.

(by the way, i did end up buying an mx-5, and my current car is an even girlier/middle-ager convertible. It's on that "aware of it and don't give a fuck" category).
posted by qvantamon at 6:00 AM on October 26, 2009 [10 favorites]


Hey, wait a minute. I like the Chrysler 300 and I'm a white guy. Or am I????
posted by genefinder at 6:06 AM on October 26, 2009


snark is not a koan.

True dat. Zen masters may have smacked each other upside the head, but we are not Zen masters.

Woof.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:11 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


PS: I'm bisexual and do not care about either men's or women's butts. No sir. Don't care.

I'm either putting a damper on jonmc's theory or being the exception that proves the rule. Tough call.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:13 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


cj_ writes "I don't get why the car question is offensive. Whether you think the classification of a car as being a 'chick car' (or a drink being a 'girl drink' and so on) is bullshit or not, it doesn't change the fact that enough people think that way that this is a valid concern if you're worried about your image."

I don't either. The reality of the world is that demographics of all sorts are associated with certain products. Some cars are overwhelmingly bought, for whatever reason, by women, or men in their 40-50, or rappers, or the fast and the furious types. The car question was no more offensive than a guy totally clueless about fashion and norms asking which of two outfits, a suit and a flowing ankle length skirt, would be considered womens clothing.

The only reason SUVs were such a dominating market segment is because minivans are so bloody boring and marketing pushed that to the hilt. The vast majority of SUV buyers would be better served by a minivan. They get better mileage, are safer, can haul more volume, can sometimes haul bigger trailers, fit in more garages, are easier to get into, are easier to get kids into, are more comfortable to drive, have come in AWD configurations, etc. etc. Practically the only advantage SUVs have are high ground clearance and (and this is the kicker) sometimes 4WD. Buying my first minivan was as depressing as a 888 millibar low despite it being the wildly superior choice on every metric except looks and perception.

And it is the association with a certain demographic (I'm pretty sure no one here is clueless as to what I mean) that prevents me from putting underbody lighting on my car even though I think it's cooler than, IMO, liquid air.

"(Also, I like MX-5s. My standard response to the suggestion it's a 'gay car' is something along the lines of, 'If getting in an MX-5 makes you want to take a long chug of cock, you weren't that straight to begin with.')"

ROU_Xenophobe got what I consider to be the ultimate response to this specific twittery.
nj_subgenius: "Do not get a miata, that is gay (unless you want to go there). Get a 750+ motorcycle."
ROU_Xenophobe: "Yeah, 'cuz riding a giant vibrator while wearing a leather bodysuit... that ain't gay."
genefinder writes "Hey, wait a minute. I like the Chrysler 300 and I'm a white guy. Or am I????"

Me too but I find many of the racial stereo types WRT cars don't really translate over the border.
posted by Mitheral at 6:14 AM on October 26, 2009


I totally see what you're saying, serazin. As I recall, one of the threads in the whole "boyzone" debacle was that women should speak up if they feel like a discussion is venturing into the "boyzone". And so you did. And you got told not to worry about it. But if one of the threads of those discussions was that some members don't recognize "boyzone" when it's happening, I don't see how pointing it out when it's happening is a bad thing.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:14 AM on October 26, 2009


Hey, wait a minute. I like the Chrysler 300 and I'm a white guy. Or am I????
posted by genefinder at 6:06 AM on October 26 [+] [!]


Heh.
posted by qvantamon at 6:15 AM on October 26, 2009


Oh, butts are of the utmost importance for all of us. Look, only straight women and gay men have any sexual interest in cocks, and only straight men or lesbians care about boobs and pussies, but everybody , male or female, straight or gay, enjoys a nice ass.

....Not me. Not that I hate them, but....they're just sort of THERE. It's just a butt. Everyone has one. It occasionally releases noxious smells. Half the time you can't see it because someone's sitting on it...it's basically a permanently-affixed seat cushion.

I accept that some people dig them (wiring is what it is, and it's folly to fight that), I just never really comprehended why it would be a thing people WOULD dig, you know?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:32 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the hell is wrong with you people?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:46 AM on October 26, 2009


We're ugly and our mothers dress us funny? We have diverticulitis?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:00 AM on October 26, 2009


Hmm, I was going to go with brain damage probably caused by environmental toxins, but little trapped pockets of poop in your intestines may also be a factor.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:03 AM on October 26, 2009


Wait a minute, there are lesbian cars?
posted by ob at 7:06 AM on October 26, 2009


For someone ignorant of those hidden rules (e.g. an immigrant) or someone who is blind to social cues (possibly someone in the autistic spectrum) and trying to fit in, the last thing they need is something to make them feel yet more out of place or socially awkward.

quantamon speaks wisely.

It's all well and good that a lot of you here want to speak truth to power.

But there are others who don't share that interest, who would prefer to figure out how power works in everyday life and use that knowledge to improve their individual circumstances.

And when they step up to the plate for their one question a week, it's their needs and preferences that matter, not yours.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:07 AM on October 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Must not make econobox licker joke.

Oops! Damn!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:07 AM on October 26, 2009


For someone learning how society works for whatever reason (autism spectrum, immigrant, or raised by assholes), isn't an explanation that "this question is problematic because it rests on some sexist assumptions that many people in our society reject" also worthwhile?

Or do people need to first understand a sexist society's comprehension of cars or asses before they're ready to understand the view of a more enlightened society?
posted by hydropsyche at 7:23 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


isn't an explanation that "this question is problematic because it rests on some sexist assumptions that many people in our society reject" also worthwhile?

Not when it's an attempt to derail someone's legitimate efforts and impose your own ideological agenda.

"How can I lose twenty pounds before my high school reunion?"

"WHAT? You're going on a diet? You've capitulated to society's standards of beauty? Are you familiar with the Fat Acceptance Movement?"
posted by jason's_planet at 7:33 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ladies, please stop checking my ass out, it's making me a little uncomfortable.
posted by The Straightener at 7:35 AM on October 26, 2009


I'm very sorry your ass is making you uncomfortable. There are doctors for that, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:42 AM on October 26, 2009


I'm still perplexed by the fact that someone in their 20's is referring to women as "chicks". Did we have a 1950's theme AskMetafilter that day?
posted by panboi at 7:42 AM on October 26, 2009


For the record: I do, in fact, have a butt.
posted by qvantamon at 8:22 AM on October 26, 2009


For someone learning how society works for whatever reason (autism spectrum, immigrant, or raised by assholes), isn't an explanation that "this question is problematic because it rests on some sexist assumptions that many people in our society reject" also worthwhile?

Not when the asker explicitly provided an explanation that they don't particularly hold those views - actually they most likely don't see the point of those views at all, that being the exact reason why they don't fully understand them - they just know that those views exist, and will affect their life, and thus want to be fully aware of their nature, extent and impact in order to make a choice on whether they should comply with them or not. In grinding that axe you're just derailing the question while preaching to the choir. It's the same as if someone asked "How do I avoid being embarassed by my parents' jokes about black people" and you answered "Your question is bad because those jokes are racist!".
posted by qvantamon at 8:33 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or do people need to first understand a sexist society's comprehension of cars or asses before they're ready to understand the view of a more enlightened society?

Pretty much this. I think a lot of people who just sort of hang out on MeFi on a casual basis don't quite get or understand the backstory on the people who are asking their tenth question about social anxiety, or weight loss or making friends. Their offline/online ratio is skewed a bunch more towards online and this place is a lot more real than it may be for others.

So, people who just casually pass through may not really consider the affect a casual snarky remark may have for people who don't live in a world populated by a lot of offline people that can balance an offhand cutting remark.

Now, one could definitely argue that this is part of what life is and people need to get used to it and all the other stuff. And that's certainly true to some extent. But everyone is a different distance along that path and I personally like to feel that I'd rather someone feltt hat AskMe helped them, say, leave the house today than helped them appreciate the invisible backpack of privilege, if they had to choose.

Telling people politely and with respect that they have asked a question that many ould consider problematic is totally okay. Telling someone in a sneering tone that they have not learned a life lessong that you learned a long time ago is not helpful to anyone except possibly yourself.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:34 AM on October 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


there can still be cars that are predominantly marketed to and purchased by women.

Canyonero F Series
posted by nomisxid at 8:35 AM on October 26, 2009


If this MetaTalk discussion is only about being snarky, I withdraw my comments. I don't think snark or sarcastic answers are ever appropriate for AskMeFi, even in this case.

I was totally not talking about being snarky. I was talking about saying it pretty much the way I said it, "this question is problematic because it rests on some sexist assumptions that many people in our society reject". I think we have an obligation to say that when it is true, in fact, in the interest of giving a good answer to a question. This is not about ideology, this is about how the world is. Isn't that what this thread was all about? To me this is just as important as clarifying the medical definition of depression was in the deleted depression thread.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:45 AM on October 26, 2009


Vans with blacked-out windows for kidnappers?

Damn it, so this is why no one has been taking me seriously? I've been using a lime green VW Beetle, and people don't even respond to the ransom notes.

Frustrating; that's what it is.
posted by quin at 9:01 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was talking about saying it pretty much the way I said it, "this question is problematic because it rests on some sexist assumptions that many people in our society reject".

If you are also answering the question at some level, then this sort of thing is okay. If you just dropped in to tell the person that their question was problematic and not offer anything in the way of helpful suggestions to whatever their problem is, then you're better off relaying that information to them over email. The question has been asked. The OP may be able to refine it but they can't un-ask it. The big deal is to make sure that AskMe questions don't turn into a meta-discussion of "why your question is problematic" so there's a balance between letting people know that their question might be problematic and turning the thread into a discussion of the problematic aspects at the expense of solving the initial problem.

My feeling, and this is just based on experience here not on numbers, is that people most likely to be irritated/frustrated by a questions problematic aspects are often the people who are also least able to explain or mention that without their irritation/frustration turning into its own problem. I see a lot of responses that are along the lines of "I seriously can't believe you asked this...." and then something else answer-wise. People get defensive when they are called out and it's difficult, often, for someone to separate the message "this question might be problematic" from the perceived metamessage "and you are a bad person for asking it" and so careful responses address the second part while they convey the first part.

Answers that start out oppositional towards the OP or towards other people in the thread -- I'm sure we can all think of examples of both of these -- are not generally helpful. Whether they ultimately wind up being deleted is the trcky judgment call part. For example, that very strange depression thread that got deleted. I felt like there was a very real question in there, borne of frustration but probably asked by someone who was having a hard time. That said, the way the question was asked was basically snarky towards people who suffer from depression [a decently represented group on AskMe] and so was, in the context of this particular website, unanswerable, because the majority of people who answered couldn't keep it together to not hassle the OP. I'm not sure if this means the system works or doesn't work, but I do think there was a sense that people felt totally okay saying "this is a bad question and you are a bad person for asking it" instead of moving on, educating the poster as to why it was a bad question, or whatever else might have actually helped.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 AM on October 26, 2009


Seems like no one can post anything these days without offending someone's sensibilities. Cultural, racial, religion, medicine choices, politics, sexism, circumcision, LOLxians, cat declawing, crazies, etc. The number of words and subjects that "don't go well here" seems to be growing. Can we can an official stance on each of these so we can get busy on writing the official doctrine?

It always confounds me on what behavior gets called out and what gets a pass. Not so sure when it became metafilter's mission to educate the masses. When did people suddenly start needing to be so mollycoddled?

I see subjects of threads every day that offend me. Guess what? I don't click into them, or if I do, I flag them and move on. When a thread takes a turn for the worse, and suddenly becomes unreadable, it's time to bow out.

What people are objecting too are ignorance and stereotypes. We all have them. They don't need challenged on a daily basis.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:30 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the hell is wrong with you people?

Got ants it our pants!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:43 AM on October 26, 2009


And I need to dance!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 AM on October 26, 2009


I never got what the big deal was with butts anyway.

Well, they help you walk upright without having a tail.
posted by morganw at 9:53 AM on October 26, 2009


I like big posts and I can not lie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:55 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just to be clear, the reason I posted this meta question is because I do want to have productive, non-snarky interactions with people in this community rather than just lecture, judge, etc, and I was looking for other people's ideas of how they respectfully handle situations like this. I did post one snarky answer in one of those threads and then I thought better of it after. I hope that was made clear in my question.
posted by serazin at 10:15 AM on October 26, 2009


Just to be clear, the reason I posted this meta question is because I do want to have productive, non-snarky interactions with people in this community rather than just lecture, judge, etc, and I was looking for other people's ideas of how they respectfully handle situations like this.

In the interest of providing a serious answer, here's what I do:

1. First, give the other guy the benefit of the doubt. People sometimes just say dumb things without thinking, or have been told dumb things and not heard evidence to the contrary and so they believe the dumb things because they don't know any different. Also, sometimes tone can be a funky thing to suss out (I just read a comment in another thread which I was absolutely CONVINCED was sarcasm, because it was just so over-the-top WEIRD I thought the guy must have been kidding, but then when everyone else took it seriously I realized with dawning horror that "wait....he MEANT that?" The opposite is also likely to happen -- you could be taking seriously a comment someone meant sarcastically. Assume a charitable attitude from the poster unless conclusively proven otherwise.

2. Figure out whether what you're objecting to is something you just personally disagree with, or whether it's something everyone disagrees with. If it's something that is currently a "your mileage may vary" situation -- Jason's_planets's example of "how can I lose 20 pounds before my reunion"/"What's wrong with accepting yourself as is" is a good example of this -- that's different from someone asking about a premise that most people on average would find problematic ("so, dudes, how can I hack into my neighbor's cable box and get free porn?")

3. Accept the "live and let live" outcome as an option. It's entirely possible that no matter what you say about a given issue, someone could still take a different viewpoint from you, based on any number of factors. So at the very least, if you can't get them to agree with your line of thinking, then shoot for them just accepting the knowledge that they think differently from other people, and agree to let them have the right to think as they do as long as they let you do the same. You may not be able to convince someone that the [blank] paradigm is inherantly harmful -- but they're also not going to convince you that the [blank] mindset is backward. So rather than trying to win each other as a convert, shoot for "okay, can we at least agree that I personally feel like X when you say that and would rather you not did so around me, and I'll stop saying Y around you?" and leave it at that.

This way you can respond to the "losing 20 pounds before my reunion" type of questions thus: "Personally, I feel that blah blah blah, but if you still want to go ahead, here's what I've heard...

4. Not commenting is always an option. My own loquaciousness to the contrary, we do not have to always comment in every thread. If a few other people have already said the things you essentially wanted to say, it's okay to leave the situation to them and move on.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:36 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Subarus may be the #1 car of lesbians, but I'll tell you this: Subaru's boxster engine and symmetrical drive design are fucking incredibly good ideas. Especially their drive design. No torque steer at all, and as sure-footed as a mountain goat. Pure win.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:44 AM on October 26, 2009


Lesbians drive them because they are practical. Same reason I drive one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:46 AM on October 26, 2009


I like big posts and I can not lie. (Brandon Blatcher)

You other mefites can't deny
That when a post comes in with twenty something links
And makes other posts seem to shrink
You get piqued, wanna open your tabs
'Cause you notice that post was fab
Deep after the jump it's leading
I'm hooked and I can't stop reading
Oh baby, I wanna go click ya
Your links are thick, yeah
My homeboys say you're wordy
But those links you got! Ooh, I'm so nerdy
Ooh, Lump-o'-more-in-
-side, you wanna get my faves?
Well, use me, use me
'Cause you ain't an S-L-Y-T
I've seen FPPs
With just one thing to see
I want fat, not flat,
Enough links that it'll impress Matt
I'm tired of fresh n00bies,
Sayin' thin posts are the thing
Ask the average mefite, they won't have to think:
It's gotta pack much link
So, mefites! (Yeah!) Mefites! (Yeah!)
Do your blue posts have the links? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to click it! (Click it!) Click it! (Click it!)
Click that awesome link!
Best of the web!
posted by ocherdraco at 10:48 AM on October 26, 2009 [31 favorites]


Whether you like big posts or small ones, nobody likes artificial padding.
posted by box at 10:59 AM on October 26, 2009


If the ask.me question is "I don't want to inadvertently buy a chick car," then I think it's okay to gently say "Most cars don't have gender/sexuality linkage" in the post.

The glutes question had a Bona-fide occupational reason for asking: I want to physically attract this sort of person. How should I best do that?
posted by theora55 at 10:59 AM on October 26, 2009


Whether you like big posts or small ones, nobody likes artificial padding. (box)

Yeah, baby ... when it comes to big posts, pure number of links ain't got nothin' to do with my selection. Wikipedia? Dictionary.com? Yahoo Answers? Ha, ha, only if it's April Fool's.*

*This is an unsatisfying parallel to the comparison of measurements in "Baby Got Back," but it's what I can manage at the moment, so I'm running with it.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:11 AM on October 26, 2009


The Toyota Corolla is a squish-mobile for people who hate driving.

I just want to say that, as a former truck driver licensed to pull triples and hazmat, this is precisely why I drive a corolla. When I need it, I've got a pickup and a tractor available and, if I need to, I can beg, borrow, or rent a one-ton or bigger. What one drives isn't a penis, it's a strap-on. You can swap it out for whatever's most appropriate for the situation.

I love that corolla.
posted by stet at 11:34 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've got enough macho mojo for an army of 70s era Burt Reynolds clones, and I drive a Mazda 3. Not to mention that the 5 speed gets around 30 MPG in the city, which is incredibly manly.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:51 AM on October 26, 2009


Subarus may be the #1 car of lesbians, but I'll tell you this: Subaru's boxster engine and symmetrical drive design are fucking incredibly good ideas. Especially their drive design. No torque steer at all, and as sure-footed as a mountain goat. Pure win.

When our gay Saab kicks the bucket, it will be replaced with a Suburu. I think the hubby wants to show solidarity with lesbians, but some of the models are really are pretty kick-ass. They are also fairly reliable, from what our lesbian friends with driver's licenses tell us, and they carry a ton of stuff. Fun and practical. In fact, they almost seem to be like Saabs in terms of power and storage, but with Japanese reliability, and it sounds like Saab is going under or will die a slow death anyway...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:17 PM on October 26, 2009


Oh, yeah, if a BRAT fell in my lap, I'd totally jump on it.
posted by box at 12:42 PM on October 26, 2009


jessamyn: that's pretty much what I was getting at. Thanks for clarifying, and I hope that I can be helpful, not harmful, in these discussions.

What people are objecting too are ignorance and stereotypes. We all have them. They don't need challenged on a daily basis.

Of course they need to be challenged on a daily basis. That's how we get rid of ignorance and stereotypes, which hurt people every day.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:45 PM on October 26, 2009


Of course they need to be challenged on a daily basis.

Real men challenge them hourly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:53 PM on October 26, 2009


Reliable unless you fail to put oil in them, as my wife discovered. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that the dealership neglected to put oil back into the engine during an investigation into a leaking engine seal. But by the time one discovers that, it's rather too late.

Subarus are extremely utilitarian in their interior. Fugly and plasticky, even, at least in the lower-end models. That company desperately needs to hire a European designer.

Anyone had experience with Volvo?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:01 PM on October 26, 2009


'93 Volvo 240.

Minuses: Slow. Sucks in the snow. Expensive for regular maintenance-and especially has been going through exhaust system parts with aplomb lately. Front seat refuses to move back enough to accomodate my 6'2" frame-though I've adjusted to this and now barely notice. So uncool it's cool.

Plusses: Mileage still lurks in the high 20s. Nimble for its size-with a tight turning radius and little body roll in the twisties. Rock-solid drivetrain, bodywork, paint, etc-the big expensive stuff just doesn't fall apart on this car. So uncool it's cool.

I'll drive it till it's dead; I expect that to be well into Obama's second term, at the earliest.
posted by Kwine at 1:18 PM on October 26, 2009


> I was talking about saying it pretty much the way I said it, "this question is problematic because it rests on some sexist assumptions that many people in our society reject".

Are you speaking more broadly than the two questions called out here? I don't see how either is sexist, which is my problem with this whole conversation. I understand the "butt question" was problematic because it was asking for a generalization* where such a thing can't be made, but I think that is addressed handily by having a lot of counter-factual data points. You don't need to challenge their world view directly or berate the asker to do that, just throw in your perspective and let the asker suss out how seriously to take the generalization. Just telling them they are wrong is hopeless if the data they have already seems to support the generalization. Grinding your axe on the issue is likely to make them discard your perspective as not representative.

* I mean, there's generalizations, and then there's asserting harmful generalizations. If someone was all, "My wife wants to pursue a career in ____, but we all know that's a man's job, how can I talk her out of it?" then that'd be another beast. It's just, that's not what happened in either of these posts, and I suspect a question like that would get deleted anyway.
posted by cj_ at 1:38 PM on October 26, 2009


Decided to go car shopping after my wife saw some cars in a circular on special at target stores .. She did a search for printable coupons online ,and to my surprise she found some car coupons for target stores . She printed ten coupons and got ten cars practially free ... (lol) . Why can't us men think of these things ? Lol
posted by ALongDecember at 1:38 PM on October 26, 2009


Of course they need to be challenged on a daily basis. That's how we get rid of ignorance and stereotypes, which hurt people every day.

Not that I do not generally agree with you... however, the problem we reach is that someone decides that they need to rid someone of ignorance on a particular topic and one person's idea of correctable ignorance is another person's cultural relativism. Or we see a lot of "the word jimmies is racist" or "the word gyp comes from derogatory stereotypes of gypsies (Roma!)" and while people really do mean well, they're derailing a question about ice cream, or consumer advocacy.

That is, we've seen more than enough examples where someone says "that's sexist" and someone else says "no it's not" and then the discussion becomes about THAT instead of whatever the original question is about. For people with strong feelings about ignorance and stereotyping, it feels wrong to let this stuff go uncorrected -- as you point out, ignorance hurts people every day -- on the other hand, a realistic assessment of the benefit of the correction versus the downsides to a possible derail is something that needs to happen.

Even with something a little more prescriptive like spelling. If someone asks a question in AskMe and uses the improper form of the word it's, its still really annoying if three people comment about the typo. And I know for these three people it gives them the super fidgets to see that typo, but my feeling is that that's an issue they have to take up with their own inner grammarian and not get huffy in an AskMe comment about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:47 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


...that's an issue they have to take up with their own inner grammarian...

As Dave Barry's "Mister Language Person" once so correctly said:

Your right.
posted by Lokheed at 1:53 PM on October 26, 2009


Of course they need to be challenged on a daily basis. That's how we get rid of ignorance and stereotypes, which hurt people every day.

Then every time anyone mentions religion, someone should chime in with how most likely it's illogical and potentially misogynistic. Every time someone suggests an alternative medicine someone should point out that if these were any good they would have already been proven scientifically. Every time anyone mentions eating meat someone needs to let them know Michael Pollan thinks they are destroying the planet.

I could go on. Probably forever.

My point wasn't that one shouldn't challenge ideals and beliefs, but rather every time someone post an answer or comment on the site it shouldn't have to be debated on how offensive the term is and whether or not it might hurt some feelings.

I guess if some people see the need to post a call out, or post the perfect rebuttal to every perceived slight on this site, it really won't be a very fun site for those people.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:37 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course they need to be challenged on a daily basis.

Maybe. But they don't need to be challenged in every possible venue.

Especially not a forum that's dedicated to asking questions and answering them.

AskMe is just NOT an open debate forum. It's not a place for you to preach and impose your own beliefs. It just isn't.
posted by jason's_planet at 3:02 PM on October 26, 2009


but it WILL be assumed that an adult driving a Minivan has kids, and is possibly married.

Which is why I stopped driving our minivan alone after she put a "Don't like gay marriage? Don't have one!" bumper sticker on it.
posted by davejay at 5:07 PM on October 26, 2009


Just for the record, since some people seem to be quite angry with me, I didn't post in either of the threads, because I didn't have anything to say, and in my comments on this thread I was trying to address the more general situation that the post was originally about: is there a way to answer a question respectfully while questioning its underlying assumptions?

I do think it's interesting that not questioning sexist assumptions is not considered to be "pushing an agenda".
posted by hydropsyche at 5:54 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lesbians drive them because they are practical. Same reason I drive one.

You drive a lesbian?

The Toyota Corolla is a squish-mobile for people who hate driving.

I lvoe driving, and I loved my old Corolla to 300,000 km before it died, on off-road tracks that were marked as "light 4WD only", skating over gravel roads, flogging it across the impossibly wide blue skies of the McKenzie basin. It moved me from city to city, from house to house. I taught my wife to drive in it. It hauled dumb teenagers on high-speed midnight rides up mountains. It was a great car. You're a fool.
posted by rodgerd at 5:54 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, no. My wife had an 03 Corolla, and while it was rocksolid dependable, it was a slushy, boring as hell car to drive. The suspension and steering make all the difference in terms of communicating the road and overall feel of being sporty, and the Corolla is muted by design. Perhaps you can still enjoy "driving" in the sense of going places in a car, but the Corolla is by no means fun to drive in and of itself.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:01 PM on October 26, 2009


That one of the RWD corollas rodgerd? Tough little cars if so I put mine through similar abuse plus ridiculously overloading it on several occasions. Too bad parts were so expensive and they rusted out so bad.
posted by Mitheral at 6:12 PM on October 26, 2009


I do think it's interesting that not questioning sexist assumptions is not considered to be "pushing an agenda".

I'm not in any way angry with you, but I'm finding this discussion somewhat exasperating.

The operaative part of what you just wrote is PUSHING an agenda. Sure, lots of people have unstated sexist/racist/spellingist/classist assumptions that color their writing. However, deciding that you are just the person to take them to task for it presumes

1. that your assessment of them being sexist (or whatever) is accurate
2. that any time/place is a proper time/place for this sort of questioning to take place
3. that your questioning of those assumptions would have any sort of effect

and on and on. I get it, it's very tough being an activist. It's annoying as hell that saying "Buy a Big Mac" is just a commercial but saying "Don't buy a Big Mac" is activism and agenda-pushing. However, there's a very real sense that the reason activism is so difficult is because it turns every exclamation, every statement, into a potentially judged-and-found-wanting situation and therefore a potential fight. Someone making a casual sexist remark is actually not pushing an agenda. They may be being lazy, sloppy, unthinking, rude, boorish or just tired, but they're not pushing an agenda, they're just benefiting from being part of the dominant paradigm. Sucks, but there it is.

No one is saying it's not totally okay to MeMail someone and say "gee you may not have known this but ...." if you think they're guilty of some sort of linguistic offense [I did it myself when someone used the word "porch monkey" not knowing it was a racist term]. However, wanting to have that discussion publicly when the person only showed up in our version of "public" to get a totally different information need met seems a lot like an ambush.

I can't really figure out if you're doggedly pursuing this because it's really important to you to push the envelope here, or if you're not at all clear that there's an envelope to begin with.

Not questioning is not pushing generally, yes, that's correct.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:28 PM on October 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


> Just for the record, since some people seem to be quite angry with me

I'm not angry at you. I don't think anyone else is, just not in agreement on this point (whether it's OK to berate people for their beliefs in AskMe). If it makes you feel better, this subject has come up before and a lot of people were arguing that it's perfectly fine to do so. Indeed, that not doing so would ruin AskMe. Go figure.
posted by cj_ at 6:46 PM on October 26, 2009


I'm really sorry. I'm really not trying to push the envelope or cause problems. I really do think there's a way to have this conversation and I really was just trying to get people to talk about it because I thought serazin asked a legitimate question and I was surprised to see the discussion ended so abruptly. I'm sorry it's not working and I'll stop now.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:46 PM on October 26, 2009


No, no. My wife had an 03 Corolla, and while it was rocksolid dependable, it was a slushy, boring as hell car to drive.

All the cars I've had that were often described as "fun" to drive by marketing did fun things like burst into flames, not start, eat up money, and generally try to kill me every chance they got. Specifically my Audi and our old SUV. God that Audi! I still have nightmares about it spewing flames at me.

By far the best car I've had to date was a 1969 Volkwaggon Van. About as far from being described as "fun" as a car get. I cried like a baby the day that old car had to be put down.

If there is anything that living on this rock for 46 years has taught me it's that boring cars rule my friend. Boring cars rule.
posted by tkchrist at 7:03 PM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Of course they need to be challenged on a daily basis.

You are officially never invited to any of my BBQs.
posted by spaltavian at 8:58 PM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I really do think there's a way to have this conversation and I really was just trying to get people to talk about it because I thought serazin asked a legitimate question and I was surprised to see the discussion ended so abruptly.

I think you succeeded then. People are talking about it. And I'm not mad either.

And I'd like to add to jessamyn's list.

4. You are right.

Too often people are just plain wrong, but you also have to look at what's gained. Even if you could pull off #3 and change someone's mind, well, I don't see what it hurts, at the end of the day, to advise a guy to buy the Ducati instead of the Vespa if his goal is to seem cool and get women. A lot of incorrect beliefs are innocuous and really only affect the holder. People should be allowed to live their lives in whatever reality bubble they choose as long as they don't impinge on yours.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:07 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


The idea that people need (rather than want) their beliefs challenged and their assumptions questioned is condescending, even paternalistic. It says, "I know better than you. I will enlighten you. No, no, I know you are busy with other things, but you're gonna have some anyway."

Have someone follow you around for a day, challenging your beliefs and questioning your implicit assumptions. By the end of it, if you aren't in a padded cell or jail, you'll gain a new respect for the phrase "ignorance is bliss." It's an effective way to annoy someone, because, hey, you're just trying to help, right?
posted by adipocere at 9:21 PM on October 26, 2009


If there is anything that living on this rock for 46 years has taught me it's that boring cars rule my friend. Boring cars rule.

Also: It is not the car, but the driver.

(It also helps that up until the closing of the Cambridge assembly plants Toyota had all their cars, including the humble Corollas, get a final tune-up for suspension and handling from Chris Amon.)
posted by rodgerd at 9:33 PM on October 26, 2009


All well and good, but Corollas really are boring. Hondas are also not really sporty, like the 09 Accord we just got, but are sublime and disappear around you leaving you only with a pleasant sensation of being conveyed.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:42 PM on October 26, 2009


Note: I don't think this warrants a whole meta discussion, but I'd rather people be overly sensitive than the alternative.

I hope you mean overly sensitive about their own thoughts, words and actions, and way less sensitive about getting all judgey about other peoples'.
posted by gjc at 9:52 PM on October 26, 2009


It is not the car, but the driver.

This is true. I took a Chevette to hell and back. It's a matter of knowing exactly what the track width is, what the body dimensions are, where the high spots are under the chassis, and being willing to risk badly wrecking it on the basis of sheer ballsiness.

That said, the Mazda3 is hella more fun in daily driving situations.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:42 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


but Corollas really are boring

Yeah, the AE86 platform has never done anything of interest.
posted by rodgerd at 10:50 PM on October 26, 2009


7 weeks ago my girlfriend tried to kill us both by driving us over a mountain in the Wenatchee forest on a 26 mile rocky track that passed above 6000 feet and was classified in her atlas as a "snowmobile trail" - in her Corolla for which I now have nothin' but love.
posted by vapidave at 11:01 PM on October 26, 2009


It is not the car, but the driver.

I've seen way too many guys cooler than myself pull off owning a Miata to disagree.
posted by cj_ at 12:51 AM on October 27, 2009


A lot of incorrect beliefs are innocuous and really only affect the holder. People should be allowed to live their lives in whatever reality bubble they choose as long as they don't impinge on yours.

Precisely.

Also consider that the person whose worldview you're trying to challenge may not be READY to understand things yet. It's not always as easy as "well, you've learned basic arithmetic, I guess you're ready to start algebra now" -- sometimes someone may simply not be able to COMPREHEND that "people don't like it when you do blah blah blah fishcakes" until they've actually tried DOING blah blah blah fishcakes and had it blow up in their faces to start to suspect "wait, is the problem with something I'm doing, maybe?" Sometimes we don't "get" a worldview-changing paradigm until we are intellectually ready to understand it, and none of us knows fuck-all about what may have to take place for a given person TO be ready to understand something.

And the danger of trying to "challenge the worldview" of someone who isn't ready to get it yet is that you could push them further away.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:30 AM on October 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gay cars previously on Metafilter. I'm not sure we've come a long way or not.
posted by Mitheral at 10:37 AM on October 27, 2009


Stick Shift, the Gay Car Blog.
posted by fixedgear at 3:42 PM on October 27, 2009


So was Mitheral's link before threads started being deleted? I can't imagine that surviving today.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:47 PM on October 27, 2009


If only someone would challenge these people's assumptions.
posted by kiltedtaco at 5:57 PM on October 27, 2009


Do you know where I can find some chick-en?
posted by qvantamon at 6:45 PM on October 27, 2009


Does this ass make my pants look fat?
posted by Carbolic at 2:18 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Weirdly, the New York Times basically calls the 2010 Mazda 3 the best car in its class today.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:31 PM on October 28, 2009


Well, not living in the future, I can't speak about the 2010 Mazda 3, but the 2009 Mazda 3 is a bloody good car. As is the 2009 Mazda 6. I don't know about best in class, but definitely pretty bloody good cars. Also, gender-neutral and non-sexual-preference-specific. So, good for everyone.
posted by dg at 1:33 AM on October 29, 2009


"Best of the Web," from my comment upthread.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:34 PM on November 2, 2009


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