ow October 28, 2004 11:16 PM   Subscribe

Why did mathowie ax Miguel's AxMe post? [text inside]
posted by trharlan to Etiquette/Policy at 11:16 PM (95 comments total)

"A political question: it used to be the case that the Left was traditionally weighted towards human rights and differences and the Right was more authoritarian and laying-down-the-law. In Europe, this is (just about) still the case but in the U.S. the positions seem to have been reversed. What gives? [More inside.]"

"I get the impression that in America today, the list of prohibitions ("don't smoke; don't get fat; don't opt out"; "don't let your prejudices sgow" etc.) is far longer on the Left that it is on the Right. Although there are still a lot of ungainly demands on the Right (in fact increasingly to do with religion, sexuality, gender and blind "patriotism"), it appears to me that, of the two sides, the Left is far more puritanical and even intolerant.

For instance, in Europe there's not only sympathy for smokers and fatties (in my own country, Portugal, admiration) but solidarity amongst the supposedly afflicted. In the U.S. it seems a majority of smokers and overweight people make a point of condemning themselves and publicly wishing they were more disciplined and therefore purer and thinner.

In terms of political philosophy, it comes down to individual freedoms and society's responsibility to include as much as they can, i.e. an old-fashioned discussion about the values (and desired extension) of utilitarianism.

My general question is: has the puritanical, prohibitive, authoritative and even dogmatic onus been slowly and subtly transferred from the Right to the Left?

P.S. I realize an extreme case - an overweight smoker who drives a SUV and votes Republican - is, in practical terms, freer in the U.S. than his or her equivalent in Europe, where he'd be taxed almost into submission. But the fact still remains that social and cultural attitudes are more agressive and antagonistic in America and that this critical atmosphere is, in essence, puritanical and moralistic, as if there were a set of guidelines of what was desirable, correct or praiseworthy.

As a long-time observer of American culture and politics, I'd appreciate any ideas on this matter. Thanks!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:44 PM PST on October 28"

posted by trharlan at 11:18 PM on October 28, 2004


ow
posted by angry modem at 11:20 PM on October 28, 2004


1) because it was an almost non-question. The question was what, "why is the left against human rights and the right is for it, I think?"

2) because it feels like we're doing Miguel's homework. He's had a string of questions asking about american attitudes. I suspect he's writing a story involving americans and treating the space as "research"

3) because the things Miguel was saying were ludicrous, so much that someone even said "this might be a troll".

4) was it a question at all?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:21 PM on October 28, 2004


I admire Matt and have never protested about his (several) deletions of my posts, for the simple reason that I thought he was right.

I've just e-mailed him, though, because the thread itself was very intelligent, useful and uncommonly civil (I learnt a lot from it) and, for the life of me, can't understand why he axed it.

Mainly, I'm selfishly hurt by the fact that my question was actually being answered - to the point of changing my opinion. There was no sourness or snarkiness - just true debate.

I think it's cruel and wasteful to just eliminate a variety of well-considered and evidently well thought-out opinions which, I believe, have an important bearing on current affairs and the apparent divide between European and American politics.

Matt's generally right. So he's human.

Still...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:30 PM on October 28, 2004


The question was what, "why is the left against human rights and the right is for it, I think?"

That was not my question. It was a little more complex than that.

because it feels like we're doing Miguel's homework

I write novels and, for newspapers, a weekly column about food (Portuguese food) and another about music. In 25 years of writing, I've never written about American politics. I've published 12 or 13 books; founded and edited a national newspaper. Never felt I knew enough. Believe me: I was interested in reading what other users had to say about my question.

I suspect he's writing a story involving americans and treating the space as "research"

I am a bona fide MetaFilter user and I have never abused it. I enjoy being a member. If I had to do research - which I never do - I'd entrust it to myself or to a more academically or journalistically reputable partner than whoever happens to comment on MetaFilter.

because the things Miguel was saying were ludicrous, so much that someone even said "this might be a troll".

Majick did say he suspected it was a "carefully crafted troll" but he proceeded to offer an extended, superbly reasoned explanation.

If you think what I said was "ludicrous", you are also disrespecting the many users who took the trouble to consider the questions and argue their opinions.

was it a question at all?

I'm sorry to say it - because it might seem disrespectful - but you really need to understand that questions are problems which people discuss, in search of the best way of dealing with them, rather than simple queries like "How much is 2 plus 2?" or "Where can I download Adware?".

It makes no difference whatsoever - why shouldn't you make a mistake now and then? I've made lots and most people here have made several. The problem is that, in this case, you weren't happy enough to delete the thread - you insulted me too. And that, I thought, was beneath you.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:46 PM on October 28, 2004


You challenged the view of the left on metafilter. That's officially against the bylaws. Change the liberals to conservatives and vice versa and you would have been just fine.

Really, you should know better by now.

;)
posted by justgary at 11:47 PM on October 28, 2004


But Miguel, was it for an article or book or something? Using the site for research is one thing, but using it to do your job makes me feel like we're being played.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:49 PM on October 28, 2004


justgary, I stated my reasons, and it wasn't because of the viewpoint or the labels Miguel used. It felt like a non-question for someone's job.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:50 PM on October 28, 2004


Matt, regardless of why you deleted it, you've always been fair with all viewpoints, no matter if you agreed with them.

Just a little sarcasm about mefi in general, nothing against the decision, hence the super geeky smiley face.
posted by justgary at 11:56 PM on October 28, 2004


Miguel, I just skimmed the question and the answers, so I'll freely admit I didn't dig deep and could have been rash on the delete draw.

But for some reason I feel like posts on the site that are research for someone's job that could be done with some googling and wikipedia-ing are abusing the site somewhat.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:01 AM on October 29, 2004


using it to do your job makes me feel like we're being played.

I'm sorry if I seemed a little aggressive, but I am quite angry and offended and it would be false of me to pretend otherwise.

Before I had the happiness of joining MetaFilter (and in the fun! I had already established my life's work - a long time before. I came here - and am here - strictly for the excellent company and atmosphere. For fun - this is very important too. MetaFilter is the first place I've written for pleasure.

My "job" is, thank God, secure. After José Saramago (and just because he won the Nobel, damn him) I'm the Portuguese writer who's sold most books. I write about passions and difficult stuff. I have never used anything learnt on MetaFilter - though I would if it were, you know, ground-breaking.

I'm almost 50; a happy man; settled in my ways. I thoight this was apparent. I'm a "pure" user: here for the company and the links and the electricity. Ask any Portuguese - whether young or old - and they'll tell you how fiercely independent and scrupulous I am.

I can do my job alone - very well. Your implication that I resort to my fellow members - that I cherish - to do my work is deeply offensive and unfounded, as you're not only bringing into question my professional honour (such as it is...) but my hedonistic and intellectual commitment to MetaFilter.

In short, I am very sad.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:08 AM on October 29, 2004


Sorry Miguel, I was out of line. Please accept my apologies. I didn't mean to attack you and your profession personally.

In the future, you probably could find everything you need to know about American life on wikipedia, it is an American-centric web after all.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:13 AM on October 29, 2004


Wikipedia et al. tend to want their entries written neutrally. Worse, a significant chunk of answers I find from Googling are taken verbatim from Wikipedia, which I know is permitted but still annoys. Majority of the rest seems to be dense articles hidden behind academic servers or registration-only, which may be the only things that would ever address Miguel's question directly.
Answers on AskMefi tend to come a bit colored with the poster's own viewpoint, which I find quite a bit more interesting when it comes to sociopolitical issues.
Never actually saw the thread, am very sorry I missed out.
posted by casarkos at 12:15 AM on October 29, 2004


Miguel, I just skimmed the question and the answers, so I'll freely admit I didn't dig deep and could have been rash on the delete draw.

But for some reason I feel like posts on the site that are research for someone's job that could be done with some googling and wikipedia-ing are abusing the site somewhat.


That's big of you, Matt - honestly. Thanks. But I beg you to consider what possible job could be helped by the excellent discussion on that thread? As a writer (and I think it's clear on MeFi), I'm naturally opinionated and have no problem in publishing whatever strikes me as interesting. Why in the hell should a writer and columnist who relies on being his own man quote other opinions? About American politics, no less. That's like discussing the importance of Portuguese cataplanas for cooking geoducks in New England, in the main article of the NYT's Food and Wine section.

You should just put the thread back, Matt - even if you close it to further comments. There are quite a few valuable comments there and the overall question is, I maintain, far more lasting than the election or whatever.

Sorry for being so talkative. :(
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:19 AM on October 29, 2004


I'm sorry too for being such a pain over the years - but thanks a lot, Matt. It means a lot to me.

Hey, I take it all back! ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:22 AM on October 29, 2004


Just as a data point, I appreciate what Migs was trying to get at, and it's really the sort of thing that I would love to sit down with many good strong drinks and cigars over the course of an evening with a few smart, inclined-to-disagree friends, and talk the living crap out of.

But I don't know if even the best.website.discussion.evar! could do it much justice. There are some kinds of conversations that the walkietalkie-like nature of posting here ('...and that's why I think that. Over.') just doesn't serve well. Kudos for trying, I guess, and would that anyone who was interested in having that conversation with Miguel could sit down together with the brandies and Coronas in a cobbled-street cafe somewhere, but I'm not sure that given that the second best is discussing it in a thread on AskMe, that the discussion would be well-served in that second-best forum.

That said, if it turned out well (and judging by comments made while I typed this, it did, to some degree, which invalidates my point above I guess, damn it), it'd be a fascinating read. No need to feel sad, though, Miguel, other than about the tyranny of distance.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:27 AM on October 29, 2004


Nothing fills out an anime cutie-tyke mask like a sly Portuguese writer. Nothing. And most amazingly, after he's thrown off the mask, and the entrapped-within cloud of cigar smoke eventually thins to a diffuse magic mist, slowly, hauntingly, will reappear those same wide pleading eyes, diminished only marginally, and only toward believability, and enhanced by the fact that they occasionally blink.

I'm sorry Matt, but the only way to unmask a Portuguese writer is to rip off his face.
posted by Opus Dark at 12:35 AM on October 29, 2004


Well, by all means, someone please do so posthaste.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:48 AM on October 29, 2004


ow
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:53 AM on October 29, 2004


Using the site for research is one thing, but using it to do your job makes me feel like we're being played.

Is this a new rule? Aren't most of the CSS, MySQL, PHP, etc. questions to help someone do a job? Why wouldn't we help someone do their job?
posted by timeistight at 1:09 AM on October 29, 2004


Is it even possible to restore the thread? Doing so would, I guess, set a dangerous precedent. Still, a precedent is only a precedent if it eventually becomes an antecedent. Otherwise it's just a singularity - which seems altogether appropriate, somehow.

An antiseptic singularity, please, with chives.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:19 AM on October 29, 2004


Why wouldn't we help someone do their job?

Once or twice is ok, but if someone keeps doing it, at some point we have to stop doing someone's job or get paid for it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:33 AM on October 29, 2004


or get paid for it.

DEAR SIRS,


I am writing to you on behalf of mr. mathowie, who sadly was hit by an errant blink tag serversl years ago.

We have found that mr. mathowie was in posesion of multiple accoutn which have not been claimed by metafilter users. Together these accounts present a value of over several (7) million interweb dollars.

If you can assist us to move these accuont away from the metafilter network to your local bank we are prepared tp present you with 20% (twenty percent) of the values.

PLEASE PROVIDE US WITH ALL CONTACT INFORMATION, PRONTO!

KIND REGARS,

DR. PHD. ASSHAT
posted by sebas at 2:04 AM on October 29, 2004


Metafilter: I am quite angry and offended and it would be false of me to pretend otherwise.
posted by PrinceValium at 3:09 AM on October 29, 2004


Uh.... buck fush!
posted by bargle at 4:02 AM on October 29, 2004


Miguel, really,


My "job" is, thank God, secure. After José Saramago (and just because he won the Nobel, damn him) I'm the Portuguese writer who's sold most books. I write about passions and difficult stuff.
...
I 'm almost 50; a happy man; settled in my ways. I thoight this was apparent. I'm a "pure" user: here for the company and the links and the electricity. Ask any Portuguese - whether young or old - and they'll tell you how fiercely independent and scrupulous I am.

I can do my job alone - very well.


no matter how hard it is to accept for you, but a 32-year-old American kid who hasn't sold as many books as Jose Saramago (how dare he) is your editor, around here.

your. editor.
no matter how famous you are.
live with it. you can self-moderate your posts, but you can't self-edit them. this is not your blog, nor mine.

I am sorry to deflate that Hindenburg-size ego thing, but your supposed fame in Portugal is irrelevant here on MeFi, it just doesn't count. it's the beauty of the game.
over here, an American kid can delete this hugely famous (in Portugal) Portuguese writer's output, if he doesn't like it. hah.

4) was it a question at all?

Miguel's MetaFilter output in a nutshell.
that said, I like you, and I'm sure you're so much above the unwashed, unhappy masses that crowd this place. but bragging won't take you very far.
I mean, I'm sure that more than a few of the thousands of male users here have a larger-than-the-norm dick. but you don't see them bragging about dick size here, because in this context it'de irrelevant. this is not a Portuguese blog, so we feel free not to know who you are, frankly. some us like you anyway.

personally, I like much of your MeFi stuff Miguel. I'd like it even if -- ah, the horror -- you'd pump gas for living.
posted by matteo at 4:05 AM on October 29, 2004


*tries to wash, become happier and more successful*

;)
posted by matteo at 4:08 AM on October 29, 2004


matteo, mate:

why do you think Miguel mentioned his career and success in his native land? Shrinking Penis Syndrome?

He talked at length about why he didn't need to do the things he was accused of, because he's busy writing on other matters, not on US issues. It was central to his defence, not a bloviating adjunct.

Turning this into the ancient 'anti-Miguel's ego' theme is missing the point and re-opening old wounds. Matt has apologised & accepted Miguels explanation: is it too much to let it lie there, and move on?

I'm fairly neutral in the Cardoso wars, usually keeping schtum or even criticising Miguel. Simple justice demands he be defended on this one.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:43 AM on October 29, 2004


I think Miguel has laid a major hurting on Matt here, and he's more right than wrong, but you can't play any kind of "writer who's sold most books" card without being guilty of excess egotism.

I can sympathize with him. I'd love to find an excuse to mention the number of computer books I've sold and the number of languages they've appeared in, but it always looks terrible in preview, and it wouldn't convince anyone I'm less of a dink.
posted by rcade at 5:09 AM on October 29, 2004


P.s. For a profilic writer, Miguel, where's the English-language translations? I wanted to find something Cardoso to give away as a presidential contest prize, but I couldn't find merda.
posted by rcade at 5:12 AM on October 29, 2004


Miguel, is your email working? If not, can you email me?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:44 AM on October 29, 2004


I'm sure that more than a few of the thousands of male users here have a larger-than-the-norm dick

Sorry, matteo - you can't just go around making unsubstantiated claims like that. Some of us require proof. Scanned, highres 5 X 7s will do fine, thanks.
posted by iconomy at 5:58 AM on October 29, 2004


I'd love to find an excuse to mention the number of computer books I've sold and the number of languages they've appeared in, but it always looks terrible in preview, [...]

So, leaving only the actual numbers to our imagination satisfies Preview's aesthetic? ;)
posted by Opus Dark at 6:00 AM on October 29, 2004


*scratches "cm" off of his rulers and replaces it with "inches"*

I'll get right back to you on that one, iconomy.
posted by DaShiv at 6:20 AM on October 29, 2004


i ♥ iconomy (though for authenticity's sake maybe it should be scanned, highres 5 X 7s with shoutouts?)
posted by romakimmy at 6:21 AM on October 29, 2004


If you can fit it on a 5X7, you're not going to win.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:34 AM on October 29, 2004


I completely agree with mathowie's listed reasons for deleting the post and think it was the right choice. Miguel says of the ensuing thread that "There was no sourness or snarkiness - just true debate," but that has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the question was appropriate for AskMe, just as the quality and/or quantity of participation in the thread has nothing whatsoever to do with whether it meets the site guidelines. The ends do not justify the means.

Don't get me wrong, I would greatly enjoy a place where questions of this sort (though this particular one, admittedly, not so much) could be raised and discussed, but it has been made clear that, for better or worse, AskMe is intended for "answerable" questions only, not speculative or philosophical ones.
posted by rushmc at 6:46 AM on October 29, 2004


It always ends with someone's penis being measured.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:46 AM on October 29, 2004


Slightly incorrect crash.

Given that the hypotenuse of a right triangle can be found using the formula:

a2+b2=c2

then a photo of MeFi members taken on a diagonal, filling the entire space possible with no under/overhang:

52+72=c2
25+49=74=c2
c=8.602 inches (approx.)

All puns intended ;)
posted by romakimmy at 6:49 AM on October 29, 2004


"I'm sorry too for being such a pain over the years"

This is what happens when you try and take over a website and make it your own. The admin runs out of grains of salt to take you with. You made your bed. Don't be so shocked when your history bites you in the ass.

I know you didn't explicitly try to remake MetaFilter into something better suited to your own style. But you did just the same. I for one will always resent it. You are a major influence on what MetaFilter is right now, and to my mind, it's for the worse.

Playing the pity card is so like you.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:49 AM on October 29, 2004


Some of us require proof.

iconomy: strictly between you and me, I can give you my eyewitness report. two words: Ufez Jones.

almost inhuman, that boy.

(eat your heart out, Kim)
posted by matteo at 6:50 AM on October 29, 2004


crash davis always wins.
posted by ashbury at 6:52 AM on October 29, 2004


almost inhuman, that boy.

Oh, the inhumanity!
posted by iconomy at 6:57 AM on October 29, 2004


52+72=c2
25+49=74=c2
c=8.602 inches (approx.)


Like the man said, if it fits on a 5x7, it ain't gonna win.
posted by jpoulos at 6:58 AM on October 29, 2004


For what it's worth, it seems to me that Miguel's post just wasn't AskMe material, interesting though it was -- too complicated, too subjective, too discussion-oriented. Not at all like "How can I get the cat pee odor out of my handbag?" It would have been unexceptionable (to me anyway) if it had been rephrased with some links instead of the "I get the impression..." and posted to the blue.

As to whether Miguel's interest in the topic was work-related, I'm sure he had no particular project in mind but... does a writer ever stop working? I get the impression that the collecting-material mindset is a constant, which may partly account for the impression the question created, namely that it was or could have been the seed for an article or essay.

I used to frequent rec.arts.books, which newsgroup one Cliff Pickover annoyingly used to litter with "provocative" questions and what-if scenarios in the obvious hope of extracting free ideas for one or another of his numerous books. I expect I will always be a bit gunshy because of having been thus picked over.

posted by jfuller at 7:01 AM on October 29, 2004


MetaFilter: In short, I am very sad.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:36 AM on October 29, 2004


Although there are still a lot of ungainly demands on the Right (in fact increasingly to do with religion, sexuality, gender and blind "patriotism"), it appears to me that, of the two sides, the Left is far more puritanical and even intolerant.


Yeah.


That.
posted by dhoyt at 7:46 AM on October 29, 2004


I agree (for once) with rushmc: it was a lousy question (if it could be called a question) and didn't belong on AskMeFi. (If there were no AskMeFi, you know it would have been one of Miguel's patented "what's on my mind today" MeTa wankfests.)

And never mind the penis size -- this is what I want documentation for:
After José Saramago (and just because he won the Nobel, damn him) I'm the Portuguese writer who's sold most books.

True or not, it's a pathetic point to bring up in trying to defend an AskMeFi post. And if anybody but Migs dared using the "my feelings are hurt!" ploy, they'd be mocked to within an inch of their lives.
posted by languagehat at 7:59 AM on October 29, 2004


Jfuller that was my first thought. If Miguel was to add some links into that opus of a question and rephrase it slightly it would make a great FPP.
posted by Mitheral at 8:20 AM on October 29, 2004


Just for the record, mine's like a baby's arm holding an apple...
posted by i_cola at 8:23 AM on October 29, 2004


I agree with Matt's #1 point, above, that it wasn't really a question. It was a great big loaded thesis with a prompt to discuss, and it was on a theme that Miguel has harped more than half to death: wither the soul of America? It's shlock, and I wince whenever I see these threads he posts. He used to post the exact same kind of thing in the Grey. "Do Americans feel a connection to Europeans? Discuss." He loves to put a question mark at the end of his theses, opening up discussion with the semblance of intellectual modesty. But it's still the same "here are some fatuous generalizations about America - discuss" crap.

I'm not sure I would always go as far as deleting them, but Matt hasn't always deleted all of them. So he did this once, and Miguel is now sad, offended, singing his own praises and questioning Matt's judgement length. Grah. This MeTa thread is probably a worse stain.
posted by scarabic at 8:27 AM on October 29, 2004


But it was the thesis that was the question--they always are. I thought it was good, and interesting (and mistaken, of course).
: >

Do deleted AskMes live on in lofi or anywhere?
posted by amberglow at 8:46 AM on October 29, 2004


Just for the record, mine's like a baby's arm holding an apple...

You mean it often ends up in a baby's mouth?
posted by biffa at 9:03 AM on October 29, 2004


I missed this in AskMe, but I think it's a great question. While AskMe is practically oriented - and I think this is how Matt sees it as functioning - right Matt? - I do also like to see more philosophical questions posted there, as they can generate good discussions. I guess if philosophy/politics doesn't float your boat you don't have to read the thread; although I also appreciate the need to prevent the apparent threat of philosophical noise drowning out the practical help signal.

FWIW, I have also been under the impression that Miguel is 'researching' in a general way here, although that's just been my *personal* impression, without any evidence to back it up. Just my way of reading some of Miguel's posts. Anyway I don't mind, as I think Miguel contributes a lot. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think other people have done research here, albeit asking permission first.
posted by carter at 9:13 AM on October 29, 2004


everything y6y6y6 said, and more.
posted by crunchland at 10:00 AM on October 29, 2004


I understand and share the opinion that a question is an abuse of AskMe if it it is easily answered through some Googling or too open-ended. But I think the "using AskMe to do homework" complaint is arbitrary and unenforceable.

Suppose Miguel did post a research question and use the answers for something he was writing (assuming, of course, that he attributed proper credit to his sources), and profits thereby. Why would it be wrong for him to make money from this, while it isn't wrong for me to save money by using AskMe answers to fix a phone jack myself?

And then too, we all know Miguel is an author, but how many others of us write too? How is Matt to know which of us might be doing our research that way and so be able to fairly axe those questions as he axes Miguel's? Of those of us asking questions about computer software, how many will use it for home computers and how many will use it for work? Or what if, as an editor, I post some question about an obscure point of grammar, and I do use it for work, but a few thousand other people think, "Hey, I didn't know that!" and incorporate the information into both their personal and job-related communications. Is that really an abuse?

All Matt could really do as far as policing this "we're not here to do your homework" rule is clean up the most obvious abuses - such as a MeFite who continually posts questions on the same topic and who never otherwise contributes to the site

I don't think there's any way to know who is using the information for what. Information is a valuable commodity, and the reality is that practically everyone who uses AskMe content will inevitably use it to make and/or save money.

When I look at the questions on the green and wonder what the answers will be used for, I often suspect that the question is work-related. But it doesn't bother me. If I felt that I was being exploited, I wouldn't answer it. I keep in mind that information in this tremendous database that we're building is bound to be used in a myriad of ways. And at the end of the day, if I feel that if my "gave help:got help" ratio is a healthy one, then I've pulled my own weight.
posted by orange swan at 10:02 AM on October 29, 2004


On rereading my comments I have to agree that I was guilty of ridiculous dick-swinging, when it would have been enough to just state that my work isn't in the least MetaFilter-related. I'm sorry for the bigshot antics - if it were someone else I too would wince. God, it's embarrassing to actually be the obnoxious, pompous little tyrant who screams "Do you know who I am?" at the maitre d' if he doesn't get the table he wants, ruining everyone else's dinner...

Many thanks to those friends who made it into a joke and helped let a little air out of the ridiculous balloon I blew up.

Though I am still sad and angry I promise to use these emotions for the greater benefit of humanity, as it is expressed here on MetaFilter with a life of its own, according to the principles laid down by Dr Albert Schweitzer and The Simpsons, although I reserve the right to become a paying member of the Grudgefilter cabal at any point in time. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:06 AM on October 29, 2004


I think that Cabal meets in a catacomb underneath the Eiffel Tower on each alternate Tuesday that's a Full Moon. A pony's "neigh" is the password. ; >
posted by amberglow at 10:10 AM on October 29, 2004


Dead horses neigh not.

Boy, it's dusty around here....
posted by konolia at 10:29 AM on October 29, 2004


> mine's like a baby's arm holding an apple

Mine would fit on a 5x7. Just barely, in cross section. Oh, and it's uphill both ways.
posted by jfuller at 10:35 AM on October 29, 2004


The question and wording was that of something you'd ask an American coworker at a swank Paris hotel at about 11PM after a few cocktails. Whatever AskMefi is, it is not an intellectual discussion board. I do find philisophical differences between similar cultures interesting, but AskMefi is not the place to address them. Of course AskMefi is not like Catholic Dogma, it can change but at the present if it veers off course (the course being questions that have answers, either from anecdotal or objective examples) and if it encompasses too much then it is no better then the Korean knock-off gadget that tries to do too many things.

Perhaps you just learned more about American culture from what just happened then any question would have answered.
posted by geoff. at 10:56 AM on October 29, 2004


After José Saramago (and just because he won the Nobel, damn him) I'm the Portuguese writer who's sold most books.

Wow, you've sold more books than Lobo Antunes? Why are his books easier to find in translation? :)
posted by vacapinta at 11:06 AM on October 29, 2004


I would just say, if you wanted to have that discussion, you should have crafted a nice post in MeFi, with appropriate links to document your initial hypothesis.

You would have fostered a great discussion, probably.
posted by cell divide at 11:12 AM on October 29, 2004


it is not an intellectual discussion board

i've noticed that ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:28 AM on October 29, 2004


Whatever AskMefi is, it is not an intellectual discussion board.

Word. How many times does Matt have to repeat that he's not interested in hosting a generalized message board?

People need to relax about the "doing homework" angle. That was 1 out of 4 reasons to delete. But FWIW: AskMe is for helping one another solve problems. "I'm out of ideas" doesn't qualify.

Actually, if I were Miguel I would worry more selfishly about pissing away my creative energy spinning up conversations on MeFi. For the novelist, the cycle of creation / audience consumption / feedback is very long, and the temptation to get instant sparks a-flyin' here is no doubt great. I'm sure that the great Mr. Cardoso feels a very strong pull to put his novels down from time to time and enjoy some fun time on MeFi. But I sincerely wish he would stick to writing novels I can't read.
posted by scarabic at 11:42 AM on October 29, 2004


Well, it is a loaded question. The governing board of county next door to the one in which I reside in Georgia (in the Augusta area) recently passed - with much ease - a law banning smoking in restaurants. The board is all Republican, in a county that is about 80 percent Republican. My county, by contrast, is about 65-70 percent Democratic, and the debate over such a law here has been furious.
posted by raysmj at 11:48 AM on October 29, 2004


iconomy: strictly between you and me, I can give you my eyewitness report. two words: Ufez Jones.

Keep spreading them rumors around the Italian MeFi contingent, matteo. That's a good boy.

Still, no match for quonsar's fish.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:49 AM on October 29, 2004


And if the left - or Democrats or whatever - is so against fat people, what's with Michael Moore and the wife of John Edwards? The Puritanical streak unfortunately runs through all of American culture, and always has, and isn't limited to one particular subculture or ideological grouping.
posted by raysmj at 11:54 AM on October 29, 2004


dude! Edwards' wife isn't fat. She's just a few pounds over normal for a 40-something woman with children. I kept hearing "omg she's such a cow" comments on blogs and then I went to google and searched for images. She looks like 80% of the women in my town, and I don't appreciate anyone trying to denigrate her by calling her fat.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:19 PM on October 29, 2004


Hey, I'm voting for her husband! And she seems like a fine person to me. Not that I care about that sort of thing, particularly.
posted by raysmj at 12:29 PM on October 29, 2004


it is not an intellectual discussion board

i've noticed that ...


*heh heh*
posted by timeistight at 12:32 PM on October 29, 2004


I thought the point Miguel was trying to make was that being fat - or heavy, shall we say - shouldn't be something one gets a hard time about from puritanical types. So ... oh, never mind.
posted by raysmj at 12:36 PM on October 29, 2004


From the size of Miguel's resume, to penis size, to the size John Edward's wife.
posted by euphorb at 12:40 PM on October 29, 2004


A 5 X 7 will do just fine. I was hoping for a full body shot. Just so certain things can be put into the proper perspective, you see.
posted by iconomy at 12:43 PM on October 29, 2004


I can do my job alone - very well. Your implication that I resort to my fellow members - that I cherish - to do my work is deeply offensive and unfounded, as you're not only bringing into question my professional honour (such as it is...) but my hedonistic and intellectual commitment to MetaFilter.

I'm trying to write an essay ... and desperately need sources...

I've been asked to present a special three-hour radio programme on pop/rock bands from Manhattan...Any suggestions ...?

First Tuesday in January, I'll be starting a weekly column in Blitz the main Portuguese music newspaper...This is a bit of a homework assignment plea, I know - but does anybody have any suggestions?

I have never used anything learnt on MetaFilter - though I would if it were, you know, ground-breaking.

Never? I honestly don't know *where* anyone might have gotten that impression!
posted by filmgoerjuan at 1:12 PM on October 29, 2004


Miguel, we don't have geoducks in New England, and a lot of us actually do use cataplanas to cook our native clams because there's a huge Portuguese and Cape Verdean population in Massachusetts (also a big Brazilian population, but they seem not to be interested in the cataplanas).

I have a very nice cataplana myself that I bought in New Bedford.

Other than that, I have no comment about the thread because I didn't see it. I'm sure it sparked an interesting discussion, but the question itself was bizarrely tendentiously worded, I thought.

I think there's plenty of puritanism to go around on both right and left in the US. "Don't smoke/don't wear fur/don't eat red meat" on the left is, to my mind, more than balanced out by "Don't be gay/don't use curse words/go to a Christian church" on the right.

And as for the "slimness" thing, it knows no political boundaries. To suggest that it's limited to the US left would be to overlook such noted conservative anorexics as Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, "Dr." Laura Schlessinger, and Pat (Mrs. William) Buckley.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:18 PM on October 29, 2004


AskMe is intended for "answerable" questions only, not speculative or philosophical ones.

Perhaps a new page: DiscussMePhi

just, y'know, saying
posted by kamylyon at 1:27 PM on October 29, 2004


Once or twice is ok, but if someone keeps doing it, at some point we have to stop doing someone's job or get paid for it.

I'd think that the payback for Ask Me questions would be something more like giving answers to the community, rather than paying it

I think I've asked four questions that were work related, and had my butt saved in at least one case by doing so. Conversely, I try to make the effort to write good answers whenever I think I might have something helpful to say.
posted by weston at 1:48 PM on October 29, 2004


MiguelCardoso: that was a fantastic, thought-provoking question.
has the puritanical, prohibitive, authoritative and even dogmatic onus been slowly and subtly transferred from the Right to the Left?
Were there a thread left, I would most certainly argue that yes, the onus has shifted, and I date this shift beginning in the 70s with the advent of political correctness.

But.
Unfortunately such questions, in my opinion, do not belong on AskMeta, which is to be a repository of matter-of-fact knowledge that is meant to be of practical use to many.

And I wouldn't want a DiscussMeta: mainly because, well judging from the Blue, some people umm, just can't really seem to be able to logically discuss things for which they feel strongly.
posted by ruelle at 1:52 PM on October 29, 2004


mathowie: dude! Edwards' wife isn't fat.

As a canadian this whole line of conversation is bizarre. The only spouse of a Prime Minister (or seeker to that office) that I know what they look like is Margaret Trudeau and that only because she was totally hot.
posted by Mitheral at 1:53 PM on October 29, 2004


Miguel:
Enough with the hurt indignations, innocent protestations and testing the boundaries. The inevitably swift mea culpa sent from Cardoso Towers, having drawn out of the shadows those who thought they understood your position and sympathised with you (clealy not a large demographic, if this thread is anything to go on), is totally undermining you and damages credibility for sympathisers. It won't happen again.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:54 PM on October 29, 2004


Pssst... Hey, Miguel... Over here...
posted by wendell at 3:22 PM on October 29, 2004


Good old Wendell
posted by ZippityBuddha at 3:44 PM on October 29, 2004


Who's old?
posted by wendell at 4:25 PM on October 29, 2004


I ? Romakimmy -

did your Dr. Pepper ever get successfully delivered? We *need* follow-ups!
posted by jasper411 at 5:06 PM on October 29, 2004


Aaargh - that was a heart on preview!!!
posted by jasper411 at 5:07 PM on October 29, 2004


Metafilter: It always ends with someone's penis being measured.
posted by sharpener at 1:31 PM on October 30, 2004


Metafilter: it is not an intellectual discussion board.
posted by Keyser Soze at 6:04 PM on October 30, 2004


"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one" Liebling
posted by semmi at 7:32 PM on October 30, 2004


Metafilter: everything y6y6y6 said, and more.

I'm y2karl and, excluding comments regarding Miguel, I approve this tagline
posted by y2karl at 8:58 PM on October 30, 2004


Aw, man. There goes the thread where I got to say "social conservatism in a filthy knitted dreadsack." I finally turn myself a half-decent phrase, and down the crapper it goes.
posted by majick at 12:22 AM on October 31, 2004


For what it's worth, I'd like to ? Romakimmy someday too.
posted by chicobangs at 9:35 AM on October 31, 2004


- Aaargh - that was a heart on preview!!!

- Metafilter: It always ends with someone's penis being measured.

... and then the broken hearts.
posted by taz at 10:23 AM on October 31, 2004


For what it's worth, I'd like to ? Romakimmy someday too.

I'll offer you my couch while she's here, chico. Otherwise, I'll have to ? her all alone...
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:11 PM on October 31, 2004


Miguel - you're onto something, a profound shift underway and at the deepest recesses of Americana.

It both resembles what you describe....but not : both stranger, and more terrible and - if George W. Bush wins on Nov. 2, it's coming right 'atcha. Maybe even if he loses, just a little later perhaps.

"Oh America, thou art sick! The postmodernist worm that flies in the night in the relativistic wind has found thy bed of Lincoln's joy......and his dark secret love does thy moorings destroy." ( apologies to William Blake )

But my thoughts - most of them anyway - are not hidden. If you want to know what I'm getting at, put my themes into your blender along with crushed ice and rum, and ruminate the lime pulp and grist of my strange obsessions....as you fall asleep to the lazy Lisbon sun drifting to the sea, dream of Whitman, John Edwards, Einstein and Derrida, Foucault and Cheney, Bernays and Yeats and Tim laHaye.....

Yeah, I have a sense for the lay of the land you're groping through - as a box of strangely intertwined essays spat up from my unconscious as puzzle pieces lying in wait for a key, a framework that catalyzes them to an interlocking whole that is a recipe for the new American zeitgeist, a recipe for a secret sauce on a barbecued rib roast of a crusade that would march out and, with fire and sword, bring terror to the world - even your world. But I'm not telling - that awaits a cookbook of my own.
posted by troutfishing at 6:06 AM on November 1, 2004


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