AskMeFi is terrifyingly efficient April 23, 2014 2:45 PM   Subscribe

12:41 - Question: what does Slash's hair smell like? 12:52 - First person testimony that it would smell like this place where Slash used to get his hair cut

It shouldn't be possible to answer this question, let alone answer it in eleven minutes.

Feature request: would it be possible for metafilter to post a warrant canary to the effect that metafilter has never received an order to collect and disclose information regarding users' smells?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow to MetaFilter-Related at 2:45 PM (100 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

That question is creepy. Very creepy.
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on April 23, 2014 [11 favorites]


Designed by Jessamyn West (librarian). Woo-hoo!
posted by Melismata at 2:53 PM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I know I have seen some of these astonishingly fast good first answers before. Can we do a Greatest Hits of them? Post your linkies here if you got 'em.

Thanks.
posted by Michele in California at 3:02 PM on April 23, 2014




I'm super-excited about whatever fanfic this going to produce. SUPER-excited, you guys.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:05 PM on April 23, 2014 [23 favorites]


I can't be the only one disappointed the OP didn't explain why they had that question....yet, somehow, impressed with how concisely they asked. So laconic, almost elegant, like the AskMe version of a beautiful mathematical equation.

Also I was confused and read the post too fast and for a second thought the warrant canary was for people asking creepy questions around celebrity hair smell, with one of those web pages that say Has Slash Had Someone Assault His Hair Yet and we would check every day to see if it said yes or no.
posted by barchan at 3:06 PM on April 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


I love that question because it proves yet again that human beings are a neverending font of mystery. The mystery being why that question. Not why anything in particular, just why.

Maybe they are making pop star hair perfume accords.
posted by winna at 3:12 PM on April 23, 2014


I don't care how creepy it is. This is Best of Ask MeFi, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by naju at 3:12 PM on April 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm super-excited about whatever fanfic this going to produce.

obviously it will be Slash fiction
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:13 PM on April 23, 2014 [103 favorites]


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang carries (or at least they did a year ago) DevaCurl products.
posted by zarq at 3:13 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also like how the category he chose is "Grab Bag." I'm picturing him carefully perusing the possible categories and rejecting them one by one. Clothing/beauty/fashion... nah... media and arts, not quite... human relations, not really...
posted by naju at 3:15 PM on April 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


The complete unapologetic randomness of that question made me laugh, and then when I saw someone actually answer it - and totally matter-of-factly - I felt like shedding a little tear of joy. Good work, all!
posted by billiebee at 3:16 PM on April 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


Surely that question was from the One Day I Will Ask list. Don't we all have one of those? A list tucked away, filled with questions we thought up while drifting off to sleep or really stoned or shooting the shit over beers. What does Slash's hair smell like? How many layers of paint would it take to turn my living room into a solid cube? Why is the hair on my face more like my pubic hair than the hair on my head? Does Jimmy Page wear sweatpants at home?

And one week you think to yourself, nothing important will happen this week. This is my week to get one of those important questions answered. And so you throw it out there. And you are happy for a moment for how you used your question for such an interesting thing. And then the next day your cat gets sick and your car breaks down and your relationship falls apart and your computer starts on fire and your house collapses. So it goes.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:16 PM on April 23, 2014 [54 favorites]


Lutoslawski: "Why is the hair on my face more like my pubic hair than the hair on my head?"

Androgenic, terminal hair.
posted by zarq at 3:18 PM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Androgenic, terminal hair.

Phew! Saved myself next week's question.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:19 PM on April 23, 2014 [11 favorites]


LOL :D
posted by zarq at 3:19 PM on April 23, 2014


What does Barack Obama smell like?

Best answer provided by jessamyn in 13 minutes.
posted by lalex at 3:20 PM on April 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


OKAY PEOPLE, I've done my part. Now someone MUST answer: "How many layers of paint would it take to turn my living room into a solid cube?"

Because... damn. That one's gonna keep me up at night.
posted by zarq at 3:20 PM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Who or what is "Slash"?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:23 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:26 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]




Saul "Slash" Hudson. Former guitarist for Guns n Roses. Official site.
posted by zarq at 3:27 PM on April 23, 2014


Google says a layer of paint is 0.005" thick. Most interior spaces in the US are 8' high, so to meet in the middle (48") would take 9600 layers of paint on both floor and ceiling.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:27 PM on April 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


Unless you meant "what is slash fic?"
posted by Michele in California at 3:28 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


How many layers of paint would it take to turn my living room into a solid cube?

It depends on what paint you're using. The thickness of each layer is going to vary depending (in part) on the viscosity of your paint. We need to know what paint you intend to use and the dimensions of the room to give you an answer.

There's a more serious problem: how are you going to apply the last few layers of paint? You can't just keep adding paint to each wall. Painting yourself into a corner is bad, but painting yourself into a milimeters wide volume of space poses much more serious difficulties. Probably the best solution is to knock down one wall to give you access, fill the volume of the room with layers of paint beginning on the far side of the room, then rebuild the removed wall.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2014 [26 favorites]


Thank you. When I saw this question, my first reaction was to head over here. Initially, I wondered if there was some sort of racist motive to this question but now I'm just going to assume that the poster's anticipated answer was "...Dreamy."
posted by Morrigan at 3:31 PM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's such a weird question. Why Slash's hair in particular? Is the OP assuming that there would be some special answer beyond "His shampoo" or "Whatever products he uses" or "Sweat and cigarette smoke, especially after a show" or something? Has the OP never had friends with long hair? So many questions!
posted by rtha at 3:36 PM on April 23, 2014


Who or what is "Slash"?

The guy whose website, Wikipedia entry, Twitter account and Facebook page pop up as the first four entries when you Google the word "Slash."
posted by griphus at 3:41 PM on April 23, 2014 [22 favorites]


Next: What does Scarlett Johansson's skin feel like? Does she put the lotion on the skin?
posted by Justinian at 3:46 PM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

There's a more serious problem: how are you going to apply the last few layers of paint?
Step 1. Remove ceiling.

Step 2. Paint.

Step (...). Paint.

Step (N). Paint.

Step (N+1). Restore ceiling.
posted by Flunkie at 3:47 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does she put the lotion on the skin?

Apparently so.
posted by asperity at 3:50 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I know I have seen some of these astonishingly fast good first answers before.

It's a bit like the sometimes near-impossible speed of the mods when answering queries. I'm still convinced that Cortex actually somehow answered one of my queries a fraction of a second BEFORE I clicked on Send Email...
posted by Wordshore at 3:50 PM on April 23, 2014


The guy whose website, Wikipedia entry, Twitter account and Facebook page pop up as the first four entries when you Google the word "Slash."

It is weird, though, that "related searches" doesn't show: slash hair

Speaking of which, I'm imagining it smells of this.
posted by billiebee at 3:54 PM on April 23, 2014


Wordshore,

There is probably room in there for a joke about how they don't get my queries, but

a) I am too tired to be funny

b) I try to save my sense of humor for my comic these days

c) somehow, someone here will misinterpret that as a personal attack instead of lighthearted humor

d) Multiguess answer, pick whatever works for you.

e) All of the above.

Besides, pb fixed that. Astonishlngly fast.
posted by Michele in California at 3:56 PM on April 23, 2014


Apparently so.

Thank you for helping me to avoid the hose. Again.
posted by Justinian at 4:03 PM on April 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


> c) somehow, someone here will misinterpret that as a personal attack instead of lighthearted humor

Probably, they will just think that you're babbling incoherently more than anything.
posted by planetesimal at 4:05 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


It shouldn't be possible to answer this question, let alone answer it in eleven minutes.

I would be surprised if there wasn't at least one MeFite that was less than six degrees away from someone who could ask Slash personally. I would also be surprised if anyone less than six degrees away from someone who could ask Slash personally would post the answer here, but I could be wrong about the last part.

Great question, though!
posted by Room 641-A at 4:07 PM on April 23, 2014


Room 641-A: "I would be surprised if there wasn't at least one MeFite that was less than six degrees away from someone who could ask Slash personally."

"Siri, Call Slash"
"Calling... Slash."
"Hello?"
"Dude. The internet wants to know what your hair smells like."
"what"
posted by zarq at 4:12 PM on April 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


Although if the response wasn't:
"Tell 'em it smells fuckin' awesome."
I'd be disappointed.
posted by zarq at 4:13 PM on April 23, 2014 [22 favorites]


Slash's hair smells like guns and roses. Duh.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:16 PM on April 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


Tea.
posted by Wordshore at 4:29 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gee, his hair smells terrific!
posted by telstar at 4:30 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've thought before it would be great to have a compilation of the fastest genuinely correct answer in AskMe. The ones where some obscure thing from 50 years ago is found in about four minutes always boggle my mind.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:32 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


What kind of cling film should one use to wrap up Roy Orbison?
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:34 PM on April 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


Wait, Slash isn't Jewish (per Wikipedia)? I have a friend who, as a Jewish guitarist, is going to be very disappointed to find this out.
posted by scody at 4:46 PM on April 23, 2014


Probably, they will just think that you're babbling incoherently more than anything usual.

FTFY.
posted by Michele in California at 4:50 PM on April 23, 2014


Slash isn't Jewish (per Wikipedia)?

Wikipedia is super weird, generally, about making sure anyone who is the least bit Jewish is marked as Jewish so yeah if they say he isn't, I bet it's true.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:55 PM on April 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


If we're running greatest hits, then I'm pretty sure the lamp question will never be beaten for speed, the artist question will never be beaten for a combination of speed and insider knowledge and that the dry ice question will never be beaten for entertainment value.
posted by the latin mouse at 4:59 PM on April 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


How... How did that lamp question get answered before it was posted?
posted by winna at 5:10 PM on April 23, 2014 [11 favorites]




And the Lost Poem question will always be mind-blowing.
posted by lalex at 5:24 PM on April 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


The question was actually "Has it ever been discussed anywhere online what Slash's hair might smell like?"

The right answer was "No." But once this answer has been given, the right answer is "Yes."

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

With Slash's hair.
posted by escabeche at 5:52 PM on April 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


the dry ice question will never be beaten for entertainment value.

I don't know, Help! My door knob is stuck and I'm trapped in my room! was pretty good. A locked room mystery, a race against the clock, the drama, the humanity, the door.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:57 PM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


AskMe is great. There are huge gaps where questions that should get answers don't though. Most likely because of how the general userbase here skews. It's still great though.
posted by cashman at 5:59 PM on April 23, 2014


Daylight savings time.

Huh? I thought DST took effect at 2 a.m. Both the question and the answer were after that.
posted by Melismata at 6:04 PM on April 23, 2014


Not in Portland Oregon which is where all MeFi Time is based.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:09 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


0° longitude Prime MeFitian?
posted by planetesimal at 6:12 PM on April 23, 2014


I also like how the category he chose is "Grab Bag." I'm picturing him carefully perusing the possible categories and rejecting them one by one. Clothing/beauty/fashion... nah... media and arts, not quite... human relations, not really...

You're right, we do need a "Famous odors" category.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:56 PM on April 23, 2014


rtha: "It's such a weird question. Why Slash's hair in particular?"

I guess I'm being a buzzkill by answering, but presumably because it looks like Slash last washed his hair in 1978. It looked very, very grimy in GnR's heyday.

I mean, still kind of an odd question, but it's relevant to someone famous for their hair. As opposed to asking, "What does Dave Grohl's hair smell like?" or something.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:08 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I see why so many think Slash is Jewish or part Jewish, but the vastness of is mane is because it's actually an Afro, not a Jew-Fro. Honest mistake!
posted by lesli212 at 7:09 PM on April 23, 2014


I once answered an AskMe question like five minutes after it was posted. Felt pretty good about that.

(The answer was that the game the poster was remembering was Castle of the Winds, which was a pretty fun game.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:54 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Harry Styles - A combination of the One Direction perfume, some Fudge Urban Raspberry and Vanilla hair spray, and tour catering.
Daphne Moon - Cherry bark and almonds.
Esperanza's mother - Bread.
Union J - Gorgeous!
Luke Friend - Slightly of shaving foam.
Kristen Stewart - Bumble and bumble hair powder.
posted by unliteral at 9:14 PM on April 23, 2014


Sigh. I wish someone would make Castle of the Winds playable online or something. My laptop can't run it and it pops in my head once in awhile and then I'm sad.
posted by Night_owl at 9:30 PM on April 23, 2014


Castle of the Winds - 0.11 Alpha.
posted by unliteral at 9:54 PM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


"Who or what is "Slash"?

pretty much the most awesome character / //// ////////// ////// slash slash \\\\\\ oh no its backslash!
posted by klangklangston at 10:20 PM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


griphus: "The guy whose website, Wikipedia entry, Twitter account and Facebook page pop up as the first four entries when you Google the word "Slash.""

I genuinely appreciate this comment and your reason for posting it... but poor actual slash—you know, /! Dude doesn't even show up in the top ten Google hits. How is anyone ever supposed to learn what a slash is?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:22 PM on April 23, 2014


cashman: "There are huge gaps where questions that should get answers don't though."

I am kind of amazed that no one had any pesonal recommendations for craft cocktail bars in Miami for me, but that there is a first-person answer to the question of what Slash's hair smells like... and I think I actually like living in that world.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:27 PM on April 23, 2014


Help! My door knob is stuck and I'm trapped in my room!

I really want to read this thread with the word 'door' removed: 'The door knob is the kind with screws only on the exterior'.
posted by Ned G at 3:06 AM on April 24, 2014


Smells like teen spirit.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:27 AM on April 24, 2014


would it be possible for metafilter to post a warrant canary to the effect that metafilter has never received an order to collect and disclose information regarding users' smells?

There used to be one...
posted by pompomtom at 5:35 AM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


The full version of Castle of the winds was the first game I bought with my own money, I bet I still have the 3.5 floppy somewhere.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:27 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The question and answer are just silly. Slash's hair smells like Black Death Vodka.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:53 AM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


OP here. A friend asked this question on facebook and there were some predictably funny answers but I got to thinking "I wonder if someone on Mefi might actually know the answer to this question". And, here we are. The online part of it was guessing that it was more likely someone had seen it discussed somewhere online rather than having any kind of direct knowledge.

Strangely, when this was discussed on FB we did find out what Rob Zombie, as a whole, smelled like: lavender.
posted by josher71 at 8:27 AM on April 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


I took this question to have a racialized and possibly racist undertone and personally found it off-putting. Why would Slash's hair have any special smell besides the smell of overpriced hair products?
posted by latkes at 10:02 AM on April 24, 2014


Er, for the reasons I mentioned here? Slash is a guy who looks like he may have some pretty grungy hair.

I would guess that most people are not aware that Slash is bi-racial.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:08 AM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I took this question to have a racialized and possibly racist undertone and personally found it off-putting. Why would Slash's hair have any special smell besides the smell of overpriced hair products?

What would someone expect hair to smell like if they were a racist? It seems weird to me that this would be the jumping off point to a discussion about racism, without giving the benefit of the doubt first.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:29 AM on April 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Slash's hair doesn't look grungy to me at all. It looks long and curly. I would imagine the maintenance of his hair is quite time consuming, and I think most people with very curly hair would likely agree.

White attitudes and public comment about black hair, smell and hygeine has a large context and history which influences my response to this question. While I doubt the OP was making a conscious choice to be part of a history of racist responses to black hair, I think that connection does exist.

It's pretty easy to google this stuff for folks who are interested. Two links I just found: Can I touch your hair?
You Can Touch My Hair
posted by latkes at 11:16 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: " Wikipedia is super weird, generally, about making sure anyone who is the least bit Jewish is marked as Jewish so yeah if they say he isn't, I bet it's true."

It's sort of the internet version of Jewish Geography.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on April 24, 2014


Strangely, when this was discussed on FB we did find out what Rob Zombie, as a whole, smelled like: lavender.

Well, lavender used to be considered a masculine smell.

I, myself, have one of those homemade fabric bags full of seeds for heating in the microwave and putting on my head on cold winter nights. I load it up with lavender essential oil and breathe deeply, despite my wife's derisive snorts.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:27 AM on April 24, 2014




I have it on good authority that Robert Downey, Jr. smells like lemon pie.
posted by cooker girl at 11:48 AM on April 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


It seems weird to me that this would be the jumping off point to a discussion about racism, without giving the benefit of the doubt first.

Dude! This is MetaTalk, get with the program
posted by Hoopo at 1:17 PM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


One of the random facts stuck in my head is that Jimmy Page's hair smells like Pantene, per Pamela Des Barres in her groupie tell-all I'm With the Band, which I read when I was 15.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:34 PM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I did not know Slash is biracial. I knew that Mariah Carey has one black and one white parent but she also sings a different kind of music from Slash. Slash is a rocker. That isn't typically associated with black musicians. The lead singer of Kiss is Jewish and has a somewhat similar look as far as his long, wild hair. (And I don't think "wild" is the right term, but curly sure as hell falls short of what I am trying to describe. I have naturally curly hair and, no, I do not have a history of having the kind of eye-catching volume both these men are known for.)

So while I had never thought about what his ethnicity or racial heritage might be, I can easily see people assuming he is Jewish or white just because he doesn't dress like a stereotypical black musician nor perform the same kind of music that Americans typically associate with blacks. And some rockers have been known to be pretty grungy, so I can also see that assumption being made for reasons having nothing to do with race -- especially since I kind of suspect a lot of people do not realize he has one black parent, one white/british.

Thus I am hesitant to infer that this question has anything to do with assuming "black people have poor hygiene". Plus I perused one of the linked articles about "Can I tough your hair?" I am guilty of wondering what black hair feels like. I am 48 years old and I have never been intimately involved enough with any black person to touch their hair. I once commented to a black woman I was kind of friends with about not knowing what black hair felt like or something while she braided her child's hair and kind of hoped she might offer (to let me touch her kid's hair, I guess -- it was a long time ago) but I have never had the gall to outright ask some stranger "Can I touch your hair?" because I think that would be really disrespectful. Still, yes, I do sometimes wonder. It has nothing to do with Othering blacks or looking down upon them or anything negative.

While I can see that asking something so personal of a stranger could be rooted in racism and classicism -- in white privilege and disrespect for blacks -- I don't think the intrigue is inherently anything ugly or malicious. I can see the question being a problem reflective of social issues because I walk everywhere and have for several years and people in cars talk at me like I am a zoo animal. They stop me and ask me all kinds of invasive personal questions: "I see you all the time. Where do you live? How long does it take you to walk to work? etc etc" and I am 1000% sure that if I stopped someone in a car and said "I see you drive past in your car every day. Where do you live? How long is your commute? etc etc" I would likely have the cops called on me for being creepy and stalkerish and possibly accused of trying to case them or something.

I do think asking the question of a stranger is potentially a reflection of classicism and that classicism is rooted in racism -- it is a reflection of people feeling entitled to butt into your business instead of feeling required to treat you with respect when they don't really know you. But, seriously, wanting to touch someone's hair is not a statement that you think they have poor hygiene, smell bad, etc. It probably suggests the opposite.

Plus, also, I can see people wondering about the smell of Slash's hair just in a fanboying kind of way. Fans do some just crazy-assed stuff. I mean I think that's peculiar to being a star, not a particular ethnicity.

/pedant...I guess, who clearly has "too much time on my hands" today.
posted by Michele in California at 2:36 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Again, I don't think the poster is likely to have any conscious awareness of making a racialized comment, yet the comment can still be problematic even if intent was neutral. Given, well, racism, it's on white people to think about how our comments and questions might be problematic for people of color.

The belief that many white people seem to unconciously hold, that we have the right to get into everyone else's physical space, to the degree that many white people do in fact ask strangers if they can touch their hair, or just touch without even asking, is reflective of the priviledge that white people hold in our culture, where we have more real access. It's also a reflection of the history of colonial power, and the very literal ways white people were legally and culturally allowed to physically own black people.

Sure, many kinds of people can be nosy and physically invasive. People are weird for many reasons. But when a white person is nosy and physically invasive toward a black person, that exists in a very different cultural context than when a car driver is nosy about a pedestrian.

Also, while it's true that lots of people don't know Slash is black, he surely reads as Not a WASP, and the same types of bigoted mythology about personal hygeine practices has historically been leveled towards Jews, Italians and Latinos - other ethnicities which Slash might be read as.

Anyway, my aim isn't to be the language cop but I also think it's worth naming the ways that question could be problematic.
posted by latkes at 2:47 PM on April 24, 2014


After careful consideration, I do not believe that this question was problematic to people of color as stated. I hear and understand your arguments why you disagree, but I think we may just have to disagree on this point.
posted by josher71 at 2:55 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


So while I had never thought about what his ethnicity or racial heritage might be, I can easily see people assuming he is Jewish

As far as I can tell, it's been pretty widely assumed, including among Jews -- e.g., The Jewish Daily Forward and Washington Jewish Week both refer to him as being Jewish, his inclusion in a Jews Rock! photography exhibition, etc.
posted by scody at 2:59 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


But when a white person is nosy and physically invasive toward a black person, that exists in a very different cultural context than when a car driver is nosy about a pedestrian.

The assumption is pretty universal that the only reason I have no car is because of poverty. I did give up my car in part due to financial problems and I certainly couldn't afford a car right now, but I also have strong beliefs about environmental issues and I also likely won't ever drive again due to my medical condition. I think a lot of whites, yes, are coming from a place of privilege and oblivious when they speak to blacks in an overly invasive/disrespectful fashion but I suspect that most white Americans just view blacks as "poor" and also view me as "poor" and so I don't know that the distinction in behavior is really all that big. (I do get that you are saying the blacks themselves might experience it very differently. But I think disrespect is disrespect and is no less hurtful to my life in spite of my different skin color/ethnicity. It feels pretty dismissive of me to act like homeless people are not up against massive cultural barriers. But I don't want this to get too far off track.)

I am reminded of this FPP about skin color and color photography. I don't think I said it in that discussion, but at some point it occurred to me that I assumed historical photos of blacks were not flattering because blacks were typically poor and thus maybe had less lovely skin due to not eating as well and maybe were not dressed as well. I feel pretty lied to with learning that, no, part of that is due to basically racist assumptions about which skin tones mattered and which didn't.

I mention that to say that I suspect a lot of whites just view blacks in terms of "poverty" in the present day, which does not really do the history justice but means that when they talk down to a poor white or a homeless person (of which I am both), the behavior from their end is probably essentially the same.

For what it's worth, I have had both blacks and whites grill me like a zoo animal about how I live without a car. Most of the time, I assume no malice. I assume they don't mean to be disrespectful and are oblivious to how negatively it reads from my end. I think from their end, it's just something weird that makes them go something like "Wow. You can do that?? How on earth do you get around? etc etc" because I had a corporate job in a city with sucky public transit when I gave up my car, so it was not uncommon for strangers at my place of employment to stop me in the halls or parking lot and grill me and I think it was something that just didn't quite compute for them. But it was still just a big boundary issue. I was very aware that if I grilled them it would seriously have gone badly.

But I also have had people grill me because they assumed I was homeless (which is an accurate inference) and, man, no respect at all. If you are poor enough, human dignity is apparently not due at all. And this is often from people who view themselves as "good Christians" or the like and who would like to offer me help of some sort. And I don't even know how to tell them how very wrong they are going about it. I don't even know where to begin with letting them know that their assumptions and behavior are more harm than good.

With thinking about my earlier remarks, I think my curiosity about how black hair feels is rooted in the fact that I grew up in Columbus Georgia, which is roughly half black and half white with a smattering of Koreans, Hispanics, etc. So I guess part of my mind feels this as a conspicuous absence, like surely this is something I should know? I also don't know what, say, Inuit hair feels like but I didn't spend fifteen years of my life surrounded by just as many Inuits as whites. I don't know that I have ever met an Inuit. So why would I know such a thing? And perhaps in that sense it is rooted in racism because it feels sort of "so close, yet so far away."

This is sort of far afield, tut I think these distinctions matter. I think if someone is black and a celebrity, it makes far more sense to assume "weird fanboy behavior because he's a star" than "gosh, that's a problem for blacks because of cultural context and history." I think getting all weird about "you can't have weird fanboy reactions to black celebrities" would be worse in terms of keeping racism alive. Racism is about making different rules for people based on completely irrelevant criteria like skin color/ethnicity, so getting affronted at weird fanboy behavior towards black celebrities but not white ones is still a form of racism.

I can see arguing that weird fanboy behavior is guache and maybe something we should discourage generally because celebrities are still human and that sort of thing but that's a completely different argument than saying weird fanboy behavior towards Slash is a racist thing that keeps racism alive even if it wasn't intended as a racial question. I mean, hair is not peculiar to blacks. Whites also have hair. Having hair is not a peculiarly black trait and having a particular smell to your hair (because of product or whatever) is also not peculiar to blacks.

tldr: agree to disagree. Thanks for chatting. :-)
posted by Michele in California at 3:49 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know I have seen some of these astonishingly fast good first answers before. Can we do a Greatest Hits of them? Post your linkies here if you got 'em

Decoding cancer-addled ramblings
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 9:09 PM on April 24, 2014


"OP here. A friend asked this question on facebook and there were some predictably funny answers but I got to thinking "I wonder if someone on Mefi might actually know the answer to this question". And, here we are. The online part of it was guessing that it was more likely someone had seen it discussed somewhere online rather than having any kind of direct knowledge. "

Smelling Slash's hair is one of the less cool parts of meeting Slash.
posted by klangklangston at 10:21 PM on April 24, 2014


I knew that Mariah Carey has one black and one white parent but she also sings a different kind of music from Slash. Slash is a rocker. That isn't typically associated with black musicians.

Sorry, I can't let that go by without comment, because what?
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 PM on April 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


I knew Slash is biracial, I am well aware that hair is a huge cultural issue for Black Americans , I know that complaining personal odor is a way that members of the ethnic and cultural majorities Other, and still my first thought about that question was "even if it's cigarettes and sweat, I bet he smells nicer than Lindsay Lohan" and it didn't cross my mind to read the question as racialized. Intent is no excuse for racism, but it does have some bearing.
posted by gingerest at 11:46 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


...his inclusion in a Jews Rock! photography exhibition, etc.

That's funny. And a bit weird. How on Earth did they not check with him or his agent/manager beforehand?

Noting that specific famous people are in fact Jewish (of Jewish heritage) is an odd insular cultural game amongst some of us. Similar to some folks who have fun identifying celebrities that are Canadian, not American.

Adam Sandler should have Slash play backup on a fourth Hanukkah song. Educate the masses.
posted by zarq at 3:13 AM on April 25, 2014


Wikipedia is super weird, generally, about making sure anyone who is the least bit Jewish is marked as Jewish so yeah if they say he isn't, I bet it's true.

My friend's father is a Very Successful Businessman and even though he is (mostly) not a public figure his Wikipedia page has him tagged as Jewish. I'm Jewish and was really taken aback when I saw that because it's not relevant to his business dealings at all. As far as thinking Saul "Slash" Hudson is Jewish, maybe it's partly because Saul is a traditionally Jewish name? Occam, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Sorry, I can't let that go by without comment, because what?

I submit this amicus brief.

Adam Sandler should have Slash play backup on a fourth Hanukkah song. Educate the masses.


Or the next edition of Jew, Not A Jew!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:16 AM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Slash holds a special place in my heart as he is a supporter of Stoke City, as well.
posted by josher71 at 7:00 AM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


his Wikipedia page has him tagged as Jewish.

My uncle's Wikipedia page goes so far as to outline that one of my grandparents was Sephardic and one was Ashkenazi and included my uncle's Hebrew name (he's non-observant and is actually a lay Buddhist priest) until someone changed it. It's very odd and a little unsettling to me. Somehow my Wikipedia page doesn't mention that my mom is Jewish.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:08 AM on April 25, 2014


Well, until you mentioned it. Give it ten minutes.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:11 AM on April 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was going to say... now that you've mentioned it that could be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
posted by zarq at 7:18 AM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


[A couple comments removed, please cool it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:57 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


*CTRL-F for "cling film."*
*nods with approval*
posted by emelenjr at 5:19 AM on April 28, 2014


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