Category Archives: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

The Squirrel is Wearing a Blue Dress

On sensory perception vs. awareness, The Dress infernal, and empathy.

After the internet juggernaut that was The Dress – about which I think we can say 1) interesting things have been written, good job! and 2) horse is dead, people, move on – another article has started making the rounds, having to do with how our perceptions of color have changed over time.

No one could see the color blue until modern times, argues Kevin Loria over at Business Insider. This article is a pretty great read for anyone interested in how language, perception, and awareness interact in our minds. But – and this is an important but – the headline is completely inaccurate, and buries the most interesting points of the discussion in clickbait’s characteristically sloppy swagger and panache. Continue reading

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A Better Suggestion

See, for example, the great thinking of bell hooks and Kate Losse.

NO YOU

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I’ll just stop at “Why?”

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A “GYPSY-worthy” canal has fewer carcinogenic heavy metals that will kill you. Except that it doesn’t. And “GYPSY” is an ethnic slur.

I was admittedly not at my best when I first came across the glib “Happiness = Reality – Expectations” equation in Wait But Why’s now-ubiquitous “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy”: I had just cleaned dog vomit off of a suitcase full of clean clothing. So I tried, sincerely, to take my desire to find and strangle the person who wrote the piece with a post-dog-vomit grain of salt. I mean, vom happens, right? I clearly needed to adjust my expectations so that I could be happy.

Except that NO. Because there are just so many things this piece gets wrong. And it does so stealthily, cleverly, and cutely, so that it comes across as optimistic coping advice based in humorous tough love ethics. And the more I tried not to engage, the more I knew I couldn’t let it lie (and lie, and lie), because this piece crosses the line from “poorly-written, vaguely trolling fluff” into “sinister, inaccurate, damaging misinformation” and keeps on going until it arrives at “reader-bullying strawperson arguments about things that did not actually happen with a side of apologism/denial re: a good many things that did”. And there it stays. And it’s really awful and depressing and infuriating.

So here is an alternate list of reasons why Gen Y yuppies are unhappy, with bonus extra-credit reasons why it’s maybe kind of stoopid to call us “yuppies” at all. It is based on reality, and features no rainbow-spewing unicorn adversaries. Sorry.

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We Are Ruining Society by Putting Babies in Our “Creepy” Old Uteruses, Only Having One Bathroom: Priv-lit, Damaging Inanities Strike Again

Kitty Facepalm

I just can’t.

So here is an article by Allison Benedikt over at Slate’s XX Factor (“what women really think”). It’s currently being promoted on Slate’s main page with the headline “It’s a Terrible Mistake to Wait Until You’re 35 to Have Children”.

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And Here is a Fabulous Virginia Woolf as Cathy Comic.

With thanks to the wonderful and amazing Johnny Schmidt for his graphic stylings.

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