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18 November 2004 @ 03:48 pm
I'm telling you - a genius  
iceowl is a genius. Spend some time reading his writeups if you feel like reading some truly beautiful stuff.
(Deleted comment)
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 18th, 2004 06:15 pm (UTC)
To be rude and argumentative
Yes, and?
Oυτιςerragal on November 18th, 2004 03:10 pm (UTC)
I'm not too impressed with iceowl. I'm more amused with NoBoDy.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 18th, 2004 06:20 pm (UTC)
You should read the lightning men - I would consider it his best writeup, next to Packing For and Traveling to Antarctica.

Is NoBoDy a catbox person? They don't seem to have any writeups.
Oυτιςerragal on November 19th, 2004 01:19 pm (UTC)
Those are better articles. The story about the secret transmitter was amusing and the arctic packing was enjoyable. I don't think he's left hyperbole entirely behind him though. When he waxes poetic about neckless men and gods of lightning he's left his plainspeak elsewhere. To me his writing seems like macho geek elitism patting itself on the back. That's fine, Neal Stepheson is largely in the same geek ideal sphere, and that's cool. It's when you step out and tell people absolutely how things are that causes conflict.

Iceowl specifically made his "Things I need to tell my teenaged daughters about boys" article exportable, going so far as trying to make it appliable even if a father is missing, but doesn't constrain his advice to circumstance at all. He wants to help but also to perpetuate his mindset. His advice isn't as universally applicable as it would claim to be. Those answers aren't always the true or best answers. It usually sets off alarms in people when a point of view conflicts with their experience and reality. Any generalization averages out a number of facts.

If by genius you mean a particular aptitude or an influence among people then perhaps in that sense he could be a genius. By my standards he falls a little short.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 19th, 2004 01:49 pm (UTC)
No advice is as univerally applicable as it claims - advice is now, and always will be, re-painted memories.
lyght on November 18th, 2004 03:15 pm (UTC)
Um? And you rail against male stereotypes because?

Granted, I sure don't claim to know what was in any guy's head at that age, but they had to pass a basic "not fitting this stereotype" test before I would even think of befriending them (let alone date them), starting with that little bit about having the ability to carry on a decent conversation.

And interestingly, I was just having a conversation over lunch today about how girls are the "aggressors" more often these days. Maybe not sexually, but let's face it, the trend is towards them getting interested before the guys do.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 18th, 2004 06:15 pm (UTC)
Re: *confused*
I don't agree with most of what he's saying - I like the style in which he wrote it, and how personal he made it.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 18th, 2004 06:23 pm (UTC)
Re: *confused*
Also, he nails down a lot of what it was like for me as a teenage guy; no matter how nice a person seems, raging hormones are different for men than they are for women.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 19th, 2004 10:14 am (UTC)
Re: *confused*
Also, I'm as confused about this whole thing as I think I'm ever going to be - if genius is to hold two contradictory ideas in your head at once, I think this is what it feels like.
ninja in the shadows: murrseiryu_16 on November 18th, 2004 04:55 pm (UTC)
"All men have a contemplative side. Your job is to stay away from it until you can handle what's inside there."

Er. What?

And what about if WE do things like spend evenings eating chips and playing on the ol' X-Box?

"A big, dangerous toy"?! ::frowns::

Yeah. I agree with Lyght on her statements Two and Three. I had a very keen Jerk-dar when I was in high school, and would patently avoid any asshats who were just out to get some tail. And I had plenty of male friends and interests who were nice guys who had far more consideration and depth that that writeup seems willing to give them.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 18th, 2004 06:22 pm (UTC)
I didn't say I agreed with him - I said I thought he was a genius. Maybe I didn't select a representative sample of his work, but when you're 44 with a daughter maybe you'll think differently than you do now.
ninja in the shadows: samus_aranseiryu_16 on November 18th, 2004 09:07 pm (UTC)
Ah, indeed. Mayhaps, mayhaps. After I posted this I actually read through some other of his stuff, and some of it is really intriguing. Not all stuff I agree with, but intriguing nonetheless. I get you now. ::nod::
Josiah Carlsonchouyu_31 on November 18th, 2004 09:38 pm (UTC)
I know I'd handle having a daughter precisely the way he is describing it. Of course then again, I knew guys who were assholes and had no troubles finding their ways into girls' pants.
Jennyguipago on November 18th, 2004 06:51 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'm going to be completely contrary
I didn't think it was sexist, any more than I thought that it was correct. I think it's about a father attempting to protect his children.

Now, that aside. There are many stereotypes that he portrays within that do not shed teenage boys in a good light. And lets be serious. We all had guys that were good friends, and guys that were our friends because they were good. But can anyone tell me that there weren't any young boys that they met who were all about kissing and telling, and if not telling at least all the kissing and the pressure?

If all of you say that there weren't then I must truly live in some fucked up world where 3/4ths of the boys I met, or grew up with were like that. And the other 1/4th were the ones I dated or who became my close friends. Over the years that 1/4th has multiplied itself and the numbers have grown exponentially.

And he does sorta slam girls too with wanting to play and all that.

And I do personally think it was well written ;)

Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 19th, 2004 10:15 am (UTC)
Re: Okay, I'm going to be completely contrary
Thank you for your comments - see my comment to erragal for my other two favorites of his.
devilstears on November 18th, 2004 11:54 pm (UTC)
I didn't think it was genius, actually--I thought it was very representative/definitive of the views of a part of the population, but not genius. Perhaps our definitions are different though. Writing-wise, his opinion was put forth in a clear, no-nonsense manner, but so are many writers. It didn't have any brilliant twists of phrase, nor did it have a particularly select vocabulary, or apt metaphors or anything of the sort. It was also in bullet points, but did not take advantage of the medium--other than to give me the impression that he might be a computer-scientist.

I think the main problem I had with it was the "this is what you must do" part of it. I tend to have problems anything that says, "this is the way it is and this is what you have to do." But that could just be the phrasing. It's a style I associate with insecure people, actually--not to say he's insecure, but a lot of people who try to tell people what to do seem less comfortable with their reality than those that can leave others be. I decided to ignore this by resolving that I was not the intended audience for the article. What's funny is that it sounds like its aimed at teen girls, but I don't think that's the appreciative audience.

Not to attack you (as you said you didn't agree with him necessarily), but I did think he was pretty far off on a number of factors when it comes to applying it to me (as a girl who was a teen). Then again, so are most measurements. A lot of it is that I think he just misses things. Like, he seems to miss a big aspect of what I see to be teaching--and that is that at some point, you have to trust your raising of your children or the students, and let them make their own mistakes.

I think that it is a common conceit of young people, male and female in different fashions, to like to think that they are powerful and dangerous. At the office, there's a whole style of novel that tries to target that range of people. It's an identifiable part of the slush pile. I think that many parents think that every hurt of their child is their failure and the end of the world for their young ones. I think that it's important to realize that everyone can hurt or be hurt, and that they'll heal.

I am really proud of the way my parents raised me--father and mother. They did exactly that--and they told me what they were doing every step of the way. They didn't do any of the things the article said. When I've been put in positions of teaching and authority, at work, with children I've worked with as a camp councilor, and with the kittens, that's been my philosophy, and it's worked surprisingly well.

I won't go into the particulars, because I've already said I disagree with them, and you have said that you don't necessarily agree with them.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on November 19th, 2004 10:12 am (UTC)
Being familiar with most of his other work, I found it a clear and concise description of his views - as a professional editor, you will have a different opinion of how far this goes. I enjoy a large number of different styles of writing, as I'm sure you do. But to be frank, I could give two shits about how clever he is, since that's not how he writes, and his intended audience is definitely men. I can appreciate a clever turn of phrase as much as anybody, but there is something about plain talk that sets the masculine neurons in my brain on fire. To me, this article was all about those shitkicker boots I keep in the back corner of my mind, hoping I never have to put them on. Every man owns a pair of those boots, and the good men know to keep them in the closet as long as they can.

Being raised in rural Wisconsin, this attitude towards teenage boys is ubiquitous, and there are good reasons for that. Your mother and father seem like committed parents who value their family. That was not the norm in the town where I grew up, and it was definitely not the case for my own family. This article was the most compact coverage of the advice every father gave each of his daughters, because the art of parenting was largely missing in our community; advice like this was the only polite way to say "most parents treat their boys like shit, and their boys are shit" at a time when Midwestern politeness forbade you from saying just that. And as sad as that is, the article makes me nostalgic for a time when there was a stereotype that I could rebel against.

In a perfect world, with loving committed parents who know how to raise children right, this article wouldn't exist. Most of it does not apply to the people I called friend as a high school student. That doesn't make it less true about other people I knew growing up. And maybe it's only true to iceowl because that's the kind of teenage punk that he was in the culture he calls home.

This is not his best work, as I have said elsewhere. I happened to like it a great deal, and I appreciate his style of writing. If you want to get into it more, we can. I won't mind.

I've been over this response a couple of times, and I don't want you to confuse my blind passion for blind anger. What it means to be a good man is a subject very close to my heart.
devilstears on November 19th, 2004 11:54 am (UTC)
You and me both, going over our responses. ;)

I did believe it to be clear and concise and a definitive statement of the views of a part of the population (I haven't read enough of his to say that they're definitive and complete of his views). And I do enjoy many kinds of writing--Hemmingway, for an instance of simple writing, who addicted me to conversations without tags for who is saying what, because it makes you work more--subtly. I just didn't particularly think it showed him for a genius. As there are a lot of definitions for genius (you mention one about keeping two ideas in your head at the same time), I was using this one, 5b-c from M-W: "extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity c : a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; especially : a person with a very high intelligence quotient." I would, however, say that he has a genius in understanding of that point of view, 5a from M-W: "a single strongly marked capacity or aptitude."

I think a lot of my resistance to the article is a lack of growing up in the Midwest, and thus a different realm of experience. I was extremely lucky with parents--and I also know that a lot of people around me growing up were not so lucky. And that's unfortunate on a deep level--that many children don't have parents that raise them well. Rape was common enough among my acquaintances.

I think that the article does much better with its intended audience, as a conversation between men of their worries and thoughts than it does as an instructional device for girls, however. I think that raising a child the way my parents did, while perhaps not permissible in the midwest, does prepare the child for a world in which there are those who would rape you or mistreat you, and allows the girl freedom, growth, less bitterness than many methods, and personal strength. It also allows for a girl to make her own choices--for instance, choosing not to date for a while instead of dating someone she doesn't get emotional and intellectual satisfaction from, and waiting for them to mature. I do think that this is highly dependent upon parents being willing to be open with their children, however. And I do think that most people, of any age, could benefit from getting used to the idea that it is not so easy to break someone forever--that people do get hurt and heal, and that it is not the parent's or the person's failure. That it is part of life.

The advice for how to deal with boys does not match up with my experience--which is why I think it works well between men, but not as an instructional agent for girls (unless it’s an instructional agent for how many fathers think). In rape situations, for instance. It's not superior strength one has to worry about from what I know of people who have been raped(there are many ways to fight back against superior strength as weaker men beating stronger men can attest to--on a more gruesome and fundamental level, eye gouges work. The funny part here is that females are socially cultured that it is unacceptable to hurt someone, even if someone trying to hurt you. There was an article in the paper recently about that and about a class that taught women pressure points so that they could cause pain to an attacker with a series of pinches that would not leave lasting damage or marks, and whose pain would quickly go away--it was popular because of the number of women who are terrified of injuring people.). But, back from that, it’s not strength one has to worry about--it's more often than not guns. How do you fight against being raped when a gun is held to your head? And that can happen anywhere, with anyone. It just comes down to making friends you can trust, and staying away from young men with access to guns in my opinion--which is a slightly different lesson, and maybe an east coast thing.
devilstears on November 19th, 2004 11:56 am (UTC)
Also, I think that if your father dislikes your boyfriend, that is a good sign that your boyfriend may be a not so good person at least for you because you should value his opinion as an older person, and one who cares for you and has experience--but I don’t think it means that you should just have to break up with him immediately because your father doesn’t like him and that’s the law. It’s one of those respect and value your father’s opinion versus obey your father in all ways things. As for the not dating someone older--I think that while that is important as a teen, it becomes increasingly less important as you age. I don’t think I’m better off dead than dating Chase. In fact, to go to the previous point, Chase is the first boyfriend my father has approved of--after spending a couple days with us, he actually gave Chase care of me. And he wants us all to go camping together. Which is weird, because my father is pretty antisocial.

So, anyway--thanks for taking the care to go over your response so well--I found it clear, and it did not upset me in any way. I hope that I have achieved the same result with mine.