Posts by BenWilson

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  • Up Front: The Up Front Guides: How to Be…,

    More importantly, collective nouns can't sue for defamation.

    They can't take collective action? Oh, duh, yes, true, then they would be verbs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Where nature may win,

    And in other news, North Korea is shelling South Korea.

    And over 300 people died in a stampede in Cambodia. Now THAT is a crowd out of control, this business of saying what you ignorantly reckon on the internet has nothing on it. A curious parallel to something a formerly depressed friend said to me today, that the dangers of mining sure put his boring desk job in perspective.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: That's Inappropriate!,

    Well perhaps most, just. I know many bearded men. My husband wore a beard for several years. Not any more, but once.

    They were way more common when I was a lad. My Dad had a huge ginger beard, so it's always symbolized male adulthood to me, but my own beard put me right off - too bloody itchy. Also, too easy to yank. When I woke up in the middle of the night choking on mine, it had to go.

    I think they symbolized rebellion at that time, a time when rebellion was popular, even unto middle-age. Nowadays beards on young men seem to convey "mean" or "green". I'm sure this will change.

    Older men get away with it, as they do with many eccentricities. It also compensates for going bald, somewhat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Where nature may win,

    That's charitable of you. I'd say that some commentators just don't quite get that real life isn't a Stallone/Willis movie, or even a reasonable facsimile of Backdraft

    That's uncharitable. No one is seriously suggesting hero time. It is also worth discussing the risk/benefit analysis, it sheds light on why decisions are made the way they are. Of course it's wrong to say that there must be no risk at all. The rescuers aren't saying that either. Even if there was no methane build up, sending people into a mine that has exploded is risky and could kill people. But at some point a decision is made. Knowles said it himself, that if there was any evidence at all that the people are alive down there, that far more risky actions would rise in consideration.

    The robot that was sent was not a total failure. They discovered something very important, that there is significant amounts of water down there, possibly even a "waterfall". Of course it's a pity it cost the only robot they had to find that out, but it's added to the picture without any further human cost. Perhaps the whole place is flooded and the robot basically drowned? Mucking around waterproofing it would have only delayed this discovery.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: That's Inappropriate!,

    I've never seen growing a beard as in any way relating to sexual signs or growing up.

    Ever seen a beard on a prepubescent child? Or a woman? Well OK, women can have noticeable facial hair, but I've never seen anything like what I sported after 3 weeks of laziness at age 19.

    Still, I agree, They're not sexy. Nor is massive sprouts of pubic hair, despite the obvious symbolism of it. But this is probably again just a comment on time and place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: That's Inappropriate!,

    Growing a beard is surely, if anything, a symbol of the achievement of manhood, shave it off and you return to boyhood (plus pimples).

    Then most of the men in this country return to boyhood every day!

    I think it's something that has different symbolism in different times and places, I'm only really commenting on Anglo-NZ, right now. It seems to me that there's a perception that shaving is a rite of passage. Letting a downy teen beard grow is refusing to man up to a (rather tedious) daily responsibility.

    Of course it's silly. Social rules around facial hair always have been. As you say, it could be about 'neatness', which denies the blatantly obvious possibility of having a neat beard, or a really poor shave.

    I seem to remember McDonalds had a no-beards, and even no-sideburns rule when I worked there. They claimed it was for hygiene reasons, but I think that was BS, and it was entirely for appearances. You were required to be McFaceless.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: That's Inappropriate!,

    Yes, and we got to see you! ;)

    Fair's fair :-) Being a waterpolo player I even got to enjoy tussling with scantily clad girls during training. There was nothing slutty about it - sport is a totally different, of course, all above board, even what was going on under the water. If a young lady wrapped her legs about my waist in an attempt to get to the ball, and we disappeared under the water in a roiling mass of bubbles, from which we both emerged breathless, it was simply good hard training.

    But why not whiskers?

    Indeed, seems very silly to me, as any kind of haircut control is.

    But I think it's the reverse motivation to slut-shaming for girls. Being forced to shave is symbolic of being forced into manhood. It would seem more comparable if shaving were banned. The teasing about shaving is mostly in reverse, if you refuse to shave it's because you refuse to accept that you're growing up. If you don't need to shave it's because you haven't gone through puberty. That sort of thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Where nature may win,

    The obvious thing to do here is contact Hollywood and assemble a team of crack actors led by Bruce Willis to go into the mine.

    What you all don't seem to realize is that Sylvester Stallone has already found the back way out for all 29 guys, and will himself emerge from the front, cresting a self-ignited blastwave that will catapult him safely to the Pike. But the Balrog is in hot pursuit of the survivors, and there is dissension in their ranks....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: That's Inappropriate!,

    From my high school years I know of a girl who did actually end up as a prostitute. From memory she never dressed "like a slut" at school, even when uniforms were eventually gotten rid of.

    The end of uniforms did not end the slut-shaming, though. There was still a dress code, and brazenly showing bra was not allowed, although I think bra-straps passed muster. Very short skirts were stopped, but shorts were ironically not only allowed, but required during PE, and of course during swim sports days we pretty much got to see everyone except the teachers in their undies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Where nature may win,

    TV news in Australia started every piece I saw there with "Still no news about the two Australians trapped in Pike River, along with 27 foreign nationals". It's a little scary to be called a foreign national in one's own country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10093 posts Report Reply

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