Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 15:19 on 28-02-2012, Wardog
Oh dear God, that's an excellent review incidentally. Also I was going to, err, read this but now I think I might just... not. I mean I knew it was it was racist and sexist but, I don't know, it seemed to be getting such a lot of attention...
at 15:03 on 28-02-2012, Arthur B
Then there is still hope for your friend.

/twitches, fumbles at laudanum bottle.
at 14:33 on 28-02-2012, valse de la lune
In other news, if you remember Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns (the one with the rape queues and the nameless magical "Nuban"), here's a lengthy, thorough review of it from a twitter friend of mine. No worries though Arthur, it's a few thousand words shy of catching up with your Conan article. <3
at 10:53 on 28-02-2012, valse de la lune
Oh, but he doesn't want to teach anyway! It's why only gap-year western students teach English in Thailand and go back home to get a "real job." Really the amount of contempt his breed has for my country would raise the question of why they even come to live here, but that's a rhetorical one. When they are here they can be as racist as they like and never be called out for it, since they'll be doing it mostly in the company of like-minded neo-colonialist shitstains.

I'm not sure this man is pumping quite the requisite amount of oxygen to his brain, or whether his testes are just wandering off to grip his brainstem.
at 07:53 on 28-02-2012, Adrienne
Gah. From his post, valse, it looks likely to me that the reason he can't get a job teaching Thai is because he can't even speak/write his theoretically native language. It continually amazes me how much people shit all over your blog, srsly.
at 07:43 on 28-02-2012, Shim
@Jamie: much like 'fruit', the definition depends what you're using 'bilingual' for, is the only real answer. Linguists tend to use more explicit terms, like 'native bilingual' (for two native languages), 'balanced bilingual' (for someone with equal fluency in two languags) and so on. Depending on what you're interested in, 'bilingual' may or may not include languages learned later in life. Basically bilingualism is really complicated: if you acquired native Swedish as a child, but the context meant you can only use it to discuss family matters and farming, rather than politics, technology, work, hobbies, etc., are you bilingual? What if you haven't spoken Swedish in twenty years, even if you were a native speaker? What if you learn a language as an adult to the point where you can do anything you need to in that language? For some purposes anyone with a moderate grasp of a FL is considered bilingual.

Laypeople, on the other hand, tend to use 'bilingual' to mean 'you grew up speaking two languages more or less equally', except when they mean 'you can have an actual conversation in a foreign language! ZOMGMTMIB!' :)
at 07:22 on 28-02-2012, Axiomatic
Edit: And yeah, I didn't mean that people grow up in households where everyone normally speaks more than one language, I just mean it's the norm to start learning a second language very early on.

You don't just go "Welp, I know Slovenian/German/Swedish/whatever, that's good enough!"
at 07:20 on 28-02-2012, Jamie Johnston
Sorry, me again on 'bilingual': I realize we've run onto the rocks of semantic vagueness. Looking again at the source valse's post links to, it seems to be using 'monolingual' to mean 'speaks only one language at home' and 'bilingual' to mean 'speaks two languages at home'. Which is not what I thought 'bilingual' meant but this isn't my field. In any event I wonder how much this data therefore tells us about the number of white USians who can understand and use languages other than English to any satisfactory degree. I have a (non-American) friend who speaks at least ten languages to a conversational language but would be counted as 'monolingual' by that study because his household is strictly Anglophone.

None of this is to detract from valse's point, mind you. I need no convincing at all that white people are on average less multilingual, however we define that, than others, and especially that white native Anglophones are on average not very multilingual at all. And of the white people who are multilingual, many are probably still only familiar with Roman script, which makes it hard for them -- for us, I should say -- to grasp that we have a substantial advantage in areas like computer programming and access to information.
at 07:16 on 28-02-2012, Axiomatic
Good point - I think that any definition of "white" that would exclude either Spaniards or Italians to be ridiculous.

I mean, more ridiculous than is normal when it comes to arguing about race and what is and isn't white. But then, all you need to know is that Irish people used to be considered non-white, and it should be clear that "white" is a meaningless word with no hope of ever being useful.
at 23:48 on 27-02-2012, Jamie Johnston
Also when reading across from North America to Europe we have to negotiate different concepts of whiteness -- it seems that in Europe a Spaniard would generally be considered white but in North America they sometimes seem to be treated (perhaps by analogy with Spanish-speaking South and Central Americans?) as people of colour. So maybe what the US study took as its definition of 'white people' wouldn't work here anyway.
at 23:42 on 27-02-2012, Jamie Johnston
I strongly suspect that in continental europe at least, the majority of people are bilingual

If being bilingual means having native fluency in two languages (does it? Shim?) then I'd be surprised if such people were really in the majority. Anecdotally, I don't think any of my friends from the continent are, although many of them are close to native fluency in several later-acquired languages.
at 20:48 on 27-02-2012, Melissa G.

Wow...that...doesn't even make sense. You could always post it to SRSBusiness for lulz. You'll at least get to read comments from people making fun of the dude.


Which makes me imagine all these dudes running their finest PUA game on their favoured hands.

Honestly, very few of their "field reports" seem to end with actual sex so...I can't imagine they are that successful no matter how much they talk about their "game". My eyes, they roll so hard.
at 19:51 on 27-02-2012, Axiomatic
For some reason, my brain kept rejecting the idea that 90% of all white people are monolingual, until I finally found that he didn't actually mean ALL white people, he meant all USA White People.

I strongly suspect that in continental europe at least, the majority of people are bilingual - or maybe it's just the impression I get from having a mother who speaks italian, a father who speaks german, a sister who speaks french and speaking fairly good english myself - and we're all actually Slovenian.
at 18:30 on 27-02-2012, Arthur B
First they came for the Atredes, and I said nothing, because I was not an Atrades...
at 18:00 on 27-02-2012, valse de la lune
Well excuse me for not having made friends with pre-born babies. You and your spice privilege.
at 16:39 on 27-02-2012, Arthur B
You're assuming that white people are born speaking a language corresponding to their name. That's so name-ist. Anyone who has spent any amount of time conversing with verbal and articulate white babies will know that isn't the case.

@Melissa: So, I took a look at seddit, and I noticed that the tag for posts which point to a discussion on the seduction subreddit as opposed to offsite content is "self.seduction". Which makes me imagine all these dudes running their finest PUA game on their favoured hands.
at 15:58 on 27-02-2012, Wardog
About about Arthur son of Uther Pendragon, King of the Britons ... which I think technically means you should have been born Welsh...
at 15:53 on 27-02-2012, valse de la lune
You must admit, "Arthur the Skald" lacks a certain something. Maybe if you'd been given a Germanic rather than Roman name...
at 08:00 on 27-02-2012, Arthur B
Well, if he'd said "all the stuff white people have not actively tried to forbid you from obtaining provided you have the money/Internet access necessary" it wouldn't have helped his case much, would it?

You claim that 90% of white people are monolingual yet they are all born knowing only one language.
I was born knowing Old Icelandic and was quite the skald when I was a newborn, but I didn't keep up my practice so I forgot it all by the time I was 2. :'(
at 07:26 on 27-02-2012, valse de la lune
I wish I could set SRS on this guy.

The real fact here is White people accomplish fluency in a language other than their own more often than elephant riding thais! Go back to farming rice and leave the internet tv’s radio’s cell phones all the stuff White people have given you including the blog your writing on (from whiteys in New Zealand).

Hey guys, when did you ever "give" us any of this stuff?
at 17:58 on 26-02-2012, Shim
Effectively the person Shim was quoting has it *exactly the wrong way around*.

To be fair, the writer of the article is using it to point out that economic theories about how standards arise are flawed, and points out that petrol stations do in fact exist. I just found it vaguely amusing that the example he used to highlight the flaws doesn't actually work as an example of it. The Betamax one is much better both for him and the theories.
at 17:45 on 26-02-2012, Melissa G.

It actually depresses me that after hanging with SRS and arguing with Seddit (Reddit's PUA community) more than is healthy for me, I pretty much understand all their stupid terms. I really wish I didn't know what they mean. It was a happier time. Sigh.
at 17:23 on 26-02-2012, Arthur B
That sounds awesome, though a lot of the stuff they were making fun of I found completely incomprehensible due to PUA bullshit being the Scientology of the Internet misogynist scene. Still, I love SRS and everything they do to make the Reddit community actually think about what's being hosted on there.
at 17:17 on 26-02-2012, Melissa G.

Have you seen the SRSPUA subreddit yet? It may be my favorite thing ever. Just post after post of mocking PUAs. Actually, I'm really enjoying that SRS has branched out and created multiple subreddits where we can just hang and not worry about all the dumb people. A little slice of reddit all for us! (^_^)v