Gen Z is awesome and generational fighting is bad, but I do sometimes talk to Gen Z folks and I’m like… oh… you cannot comprehend before the internet.

Like activists have been screaming variations on “educate yourself!” for as long as I’ve been alive and probably longer, but like… actually doing so? Used to be harder?

And anger at previous generations for not being good enough is nothing new. I remember being a kid and being horrified to learn how recent desegregation had been and that my parents and grandparents had been alive for it. Asking if they protested or anything and my mom being like “I was a child” and my grandma being like “well, no, I wasn’t into politics” but I was a child when I asked so that didn’t feel like much of an excuse from my mother at the time and my grandmother’s excuse certainly didn’t hold water and I remember vowing not to be like that.

So kids today looking at adults and our constant past failures and being like “How could you not have known better? Why didn’t you DO better?” are part of a long tradition of kids being horrified by their history, nothing new, and also completely justified and correct. That moral outrage is good.

But I was talking to a kid recently about the military and he was talking about how he’d never be so stupid to join that imperialist oppressive terrorist organization and I was like, “Wait, do you think everyone who has ever joined the military was stupid or evil?” and he was like, well maybe not in World War 2, but otherwise? Yeah.

And I was like, what about a lack of education? A lack of money? The exploitation of the lower classes? And he was like, well, yeah, but that’s not an excuse, because you can always educate yourself before making those choices.

And I was like, how? Are you supposed to educate yourself?

And he was like, well, duh, research? Look it up!

And I was like, and how do you do that?

And he was like, start with google! It’s not that hard!

And I was like, my friend. My kid. Google wasn’t around when my father joined the military.

Then go to the library! The library in the small rural military town my father grew up in? Yeah, uh, it wasn’t exactly going to be overflowing with anti-military resources.

Well then he should have searched harder!

How? How was he supposed to know to do that? Even if he, entirely independently figured out he should do that, how was he supposed to find that information?

He was a kid. He was poor. He was the first person in his family to aspire to college. And then by the time he knew what he signed up for it was literally a criminal offense for him to try to leave. Because that’s the contract you sign.

(Now, listen, my father is also not my favorite person and we agree on very little, so this example may be a bit tarnished by those facts, but the material reality of the exploitative nature of military recruitment remains the same.)

And this is one of a few examples I’ve come across recently of members of Gen Z just not understanding how hard it was to learn new ideas before the internet. I’m not blaming anyone or even claiming it’s disproportionate or bad. But the same kids that ten years ago I was marveling at on vacation because they didn’t understand the TV in the hotel room couldn’t just play more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on demand – because they’d never encountered linear prescheduled TV, are growing into kids who cannot comprehend the difficulty of forming a new worldview or making life choices when you cannot google it. When you have maybe one secondhand source or you have to guess based on lived experience and what you’ve heard. Information, media, they have always been instant.

Society should’ve been better, people should’ve known better, it shouldn’t have taken so long, and we should be better now. That’s all true.

But controlling information is vital to controlling people, and information used to be a lot more controlled. By physical law and necessity! No conspiracy required! There’s limited space on a newspaper page! There’s limited room in a library! If you tried to print Wikipedia it would take 2920 bound volumes. That’s just Wikipedia. You could not keep the internet’s equivalent of resources in any small town in any physical form. It wasn’t there. We did not have it. When we had a question? We could not just look it up.

Kids today are fortunate to have dozens of firsthand accounts of virtually everything important happening at all times. In their pockets.

(They are also cursed by this, as we all are, because it’s overwhelming and can be incredibly bleak.)

If anything, today the opposite problem occurs – too much information and not enough time or context to organize it in a way that makes sense. Learning to filter out the garbage without filtering so much you insulate yourself from diverse ideas, figuring out who’s reliable, that’s where the real problem is now.

But I do think it has created, through no fault of anyone, this incapacity among the young to truly understand a life when you cannot access the relevant information. At all. Where you just have to guess and hope and do your best. Where educating yourself was not an option.

Where the first time you heard the word lesbian, it was from another third grader, and she learned it from a church pastor, and it wasn’t in the school library’s dictionary so you just had to trust her on what it meant.

I am not joking, I did not know the actual definition of the word “fuck” until I was in high school. Not for lack of trying! I was a word nerd, and I loved research! It literally was not in our dictionaries, and I knew I’d get in trouble if I asked. All I knew was it was a “bad word”, but what it meant or why it was bad? No clue.

If history felt incomprehensibly cruel and stupid while I was a kid who knew full well the feeling of not being able to get the whole story, I cannot imagine how cartoonishly evil it must look from the perspective of someone who’s always been able to get a solid answer to any question in seconds for as long as they’ve been alive. To Gen Z, we must all look like monsters.

I’m glad they know the things we did not. I hope one day they are able to realize how it was possible for us not to know. How it would not have been possible for them to know either, if they had lived in those times. I do not need their forgiveness. But I hope they at least understand. Information is so powerful. Understanding that is so important to building the future. Underestimating that is dangerous.

We were peasants in a world before the printing press. We didn’t know. I’m so sorry. For so many of us we couldn’t have known. I cannot offer any other solace other than this – my sixty year old mother is reading books on anti-racism and posting about them to Facebook, where she’s sharing what’s she’s learning with her friends. Ignorance doesn’t have to last forever.



This just applies to so many things in life. If you don’t know that you don’t know something, how can you ASK about it?

Also research is a skill, not an innate ability in all humans. Research is actually a variety of skills and they’re not always exactly the same when you’re talking about when and where you’re researching.

Knowing the best way to google something isn’t the same as knowing how to find something in a reference book isn’t the same as knowing how a card catalog works and how to navigate research when you have limited access to physical materials.

Sometimes even when people want to educate themselves, they’re lost and confused.

And then when they ask… They get beaten down for daring to ask instead of “educating themselves” because people forget that asking questions from sources you trust is part of trying to educate yourself.


#(I don’t actually endorse a lot of the OP‚ I’m too hobbity‚ but:) #FTR I was 12 when I learned what ”fuck” meant #(so this would’ve been…December 2005‚ I think) #my mom got a copy of The Time Traveller’s Wife for Hanukkah that year and I read it while she wasn’t looking #that is also how I learned what oral sex was #I’d heard the *term* before (mentioned in news articles)‚ but I’d figured it was‚ like‚ phone sex #but no it is *so* much less sanitary than that #(meanwhile I hadn’t realised beforehand that ”fuck” would *have* a meaning) #(I’d assumed it was pure expletive‚ kind of like an interjection) #also‚ part of the trouble with tech changing so fast is that it can be hard to distinguish lack-of-autonomy-because-you-were-a-child with #lack-of-autonomy-because-your-society-was-incapable-of-giving-people-as-much-autonomy-as-it-can-now #do Kids These Days still have book series where #they’ve only read books 1 and 5 because they haven’t yet had an opportunity to get their hands on 2 – 4? #I can really see that going either way #God knows an adult in the early 00’s who wanted a copy of The Reptile Room could have driven to Barnes and Noble and bought one #if–and here we come back to one of OP’s points–it had *occurred* to them to do so #I was *used* to operating under very limited resources as a child #and if my standards and knowledge had been higher I *could* have done more with what I had #(I checked *new-to-me* series out of the library all the time) #(yet somehow it never occurred to me to check out the missing books of series I owned part of) #(even when the library totally would have had them) #(I still haven’t read half the Chronicles of Narnia) #tag rambles #politics cw #discourse cw? #our roads may be golden or broken or lost #my childhood



I love pressing Ctrl + Shift + V to paste text without the original formatting. I love it so much I do it almost every day.

shout out to that one app that flips it so <c-v> pastes without formatting while <c-s-v> preserves formatting. keeps me on my toes


#…yeah okay it makes sense that there would be a non-kludgy way to do this #the more you know


ANYWAY you cannot convince me that the air nomads didn’t have any sort of trade good based on the flying bison and aang just didn’t have the time or safety to make and sell any of these while trying to stop ozai. they probably did so much spinning just because drop spindles are super transportable, it’s something to do while flying long distances, there’s always a weaver somewhere willing to buy yarn, and there’s always, always large amounts of shed fur just. around. look at how much came off of appa that one episode. so much fur

so three things happen the summer after ozai is defeated and appa starts shedding in earnest again

  1. aang starts spinning and selling yarn because that’s What You Do and he’s clinging REAL HARD to every possible air nomad tradition because, well, who else will remember these things?
  2. toph hears about this and scruffs him before he can sell too much because she’s a merchants daughter and holy shit aang do you understand what you’re selling?? yarn from the last known sky bison! the avatar’s own spirit guide!! spun by the avatars own hand!!!! what are you doing aang!!!!!! she has to drag katara in at this point because aang is real unhappy with the idea that his normal flying bison yarn of, uh, questionable quality is being sold to exclusive high class weavers so they can make shawls for filthy rich nobles for baaaaaank just on the basis of his name. this isn’t how the monks did it :/ and he doesn’t WANT a lot of money anyway! he’s a monk!! he only asks for what he needs to survive!! anyway katara manages to talk toph around to donating most of the money to reconstruction efforts, charities, and orphanages and convinces aang that having an emergency fund is a good thing and he should keep something. aang accidentally ends up with a reasonably full bank account and is really confused about how that happened, why it’s there, and what he’s supposed to do with it
  3. there is a real weird period of time where it’s In Fashion for high noble ladies to have shawls and scarves dyed the same color as aangs clothes (because that’s how you know it’s made with special avatar yarn!) or have images of appa woven into them (can you imagine a shawl that’s just a full length body shot of appa?? amazing) and all the earth kingdom nobility are just rocking green and orange like nbd. weaving decorative shawls with slubby yarn becomes really in fashion, too, because aang is not great at spinning. he’s 13 and it’s boring, ok?
  4. BONUS sokka is just. so mad. you could have been making bank with appa the whole time we were scrambling around the planet aang? do you realize how much more food we could have had? how many more hot baths?? how could you betray me like this

(probably the air nomads also did a lot of weaving but it was mostly the pregnant nuns and the really old nomads so it’s a little off aangs radar. and does aang eat cheese? it never comes up in series but I would also believe that the nomads made a lot of air bison cheese and bison butter tea)



headcanon accepted re: sky bison products



you said SPINNING on a DROP SPINDLE and i instantly went YES. OH GOD YES.

i bet sky bison yarn is really strong but probably not super soft – we see in the show that the fibers are really long, which lends itself well to strong yarns that can stand up to a lot of wear and tear (silk yarn is INCREDIBLE when it comes to being hard-wearing, and that’s mostly because silk is basically an INFINITELY LONG FIBER). But because it’s so long and comes from such a large animal, it’s probably really coarse and thick.

I’m imagining most of those high-class ladies would be wearing at least one layer underneath their shawls, because bison yarn is probably pretty itchy if you’re used to high quality wool, silk, or fine linen. Especially bison yarn spun by a 13yo who doesn’t really like spinning.

unless of course the air nomads bred their bison specifically for soft fur, but generally when you’re breeding for stuff like that, you need different breeds for different purposes. appa’s pretty clearly a long-distance riding bison, which would probably have been a different breed than whichever ones would have been bred for soft fur. most species of domesticated animal that are dual+ purpose (i.e. meat/milk/wool/transportation) have breeds that can only do one or two of those well, and the others not as great.

the air nomads obviously would not have been breeding for meat, because vegetarians. For long distance travel and a nomadic lifestyle I bet they would have wanted a travel/milk dual purpose breed, but because they can regulate their body temperature with airbending, soft warm yarn might not have been a high priority for that breed.

which is a lot of words to say “appa-fur yarn is ITCHY”



My impression is that the sky bisons aren’t actually domesticated, so much as semi-sentient and choosing to partner with the air nomads, so I don’t think they’d be bred for anything, much less soft hair.

I actually headcanon spinning as something air nomad kids would be taught to do from a young age to burn off energy and stress and make it easier for them to learn to meditate, so I think Aang would probably be decent at making yarn that’s evenly spun, but probably wouldn’t have the experience to make super fine thread.



I would assume that appa has a double layer coat like most high altitude herd animals, so even without selective breeding the insulating inner layer would probably be suuuper soft. just look up qiviut for an idea of how soft and expensive muskox fur can get, and the skeins of bison fur yarn I have aren’t noticeably different from something like alpaca. assuming that appa sheds a proportionate amount of undercoat to muskox or bison (up to seven pounds a year) there is going to be a LOT of snuggly undercoat to turn into snuggly Soft Things

and I’ve seen a couple people say that aang would probably have learned spinning pretty young and be fairly competent at it, and I agree! I def meant the questionable yarn quality to be a statement on his attention span and post-war schedule, not skill (I don’t really know how to spin so idk if constantly starting and stopping and not paying any attention anyway would effect the consistency any? it just Felt Right)



I’ve never spun anything like qiviut – the most exotic thing I’ve spun is alpaca, unless folks think silk is more exotic – so I didn’t think about the double coat! Don’t they usually need special treatment to separate the topcoat from the undercoat, tho? I wouldn’t be surprised if Aang either didn’t know or wasn’t very good at separating from them.

I *do* spin on a drop spindle, tho, and the biggest problem with stopping and starting often is keeping the single the same width, but you have the same problem stopping and starting ANY kind of spinning project. In some ways, a drop spindle makes it easier to control that than a regular spinning wheel – you have a lot more control over the fiber and the yarn you’re spinning, so you can be more precise. My drop spindle yarns tend to be very regular and compact, while my spinning wheel yarns are more varied and lofty.

However, now I’m picturing the moment when you spin your single a little too thin, and the drop spindle lives up to its name – from hundreds or even thousands of feet in the air! Plummetting off the side of the air bison, with the older nomads scrambling to catch it…



I can totally imagine that the air nomads hat special spindles with gliders (like his stick where he glides with) to spin with airbending as a practice for beginner benders, or in a similar stile as the hand spinning wheels from India, but for air nomads!

And wouldn’t the process from start to finish be a good lesson in great fullness? Like how long it takes from baby bison to clothes

Maby even a live milestone. From first bison who chosen you to your first own robe/Stola??



It could even be that the Air Nomad’s robes were MADE out of sky bison fur, if the under coat was a) incredibly soft (I bet they’d wear the over coat too just because they didn’t really care about worldly possessions and comfortability) and b) their only farm animal was the sky bison. That’s what the Air Nomad’s wear, is Sky bison wool clothes.

Also, to the person who said Sky Bisons would only shed about seven pounds a year, I would like to counter that idea with the fact that Appa is GARGANTUAN. He has enough room on his saddle to carry literally six or seven children and their equipment on his back without much complaint, of which these children are not too much smaller than adults. An ox or an Alpaca or a normal Bison are tiny compared to Appa.

Appa’d have a metric butt ton of under fur on his body. I’d say about twenty to thirty pounds of under fur, with more on top, at the very least.



ok so I didn’t know that supported spindles existed and YES, very much yes to those. I love that.

I was actually trying to say that if muskox shed seven pounds we could use that to extrapolate how much appa shed if he shed proportionate to his size, not that appa would only shed seven pounds

ok, adhd rabbit hole time because I just looked up the average size of muskoxen and the approximate size of appa and, uh. apparently muskoxen are 900lbs full grown and appa is ten tons. over TWENTY TIMES THE SIZE OF A MUSKOX. obvs that’s doesn’t actually tell us anything about appas actual height and length but that’s the only solid number the show gives us and thirty pounds of underfur is starting to seem pretty conservative. it might be closer to 120lbs???

which is a weird way to say that I bet the air nomads had lots of crazy air powered spinning contraptions (and I’m still assuming that anything they had that wasn’t easily transportable was dealt with by pregnant nuns and aang wasn’t really introduced to it yet) and they just churned out textiles. literally everything fabric the nomads used was probably bison fur in some way because there was just. so. much. fur.



Textiles Tumblr coming in clutch to build the air nomad trade empire


#Avatar: The Last Airbender #meta


I started reading Carolyn Elliott’s Existential Kink because of this blog post, am 1/3 through, and cannot imagine a book that could more appeal to me while also belonging to a genre that will say, “What [this book] is presenting to you here is … a witchy, tricksy, feminine path to enlightenment that’s quite a bit different than the more publicly vaunted, masculine routes of asceticism, contemplation, and yogic saintliness.”

The ultimate operation the book is trying to perform on the reader, assuming the reader has preexisting masochistic tendencies they can amplify, is to get them to notice the pleasure they can potentially take in the most uncomfortable moments of their lives and reframe it as pleasure. 

The worldview/aesthetic the book tries to impart:

[I thought,] “God is one kinky-ass motherfucker. God—the divine—whatever He/She/IT is—creates this world, and this world is a gonzo horror show of war and rape and abuse and addiction and disaster. If God is running the show, God must like it this way!” Now, you might guess that a thought like that would lead to some kind of terrible nihilistic breakdown. But for me… actually, it didn’t. Instead, it made me smile—perversely—and gave me a feeling of lightness, play, and possibility. …
Well if God is a kinky freak and I’m a part of God like all these “spiritual” people say, maybe deep down I’m a kinky freak too. And maybe I can get more in touch with my divine nature by giving myself permission to like all the scary stuff in life, instead of just resenting it. …
I propose that all our suffering and stuckness in life comes from forgetting that we’re divine sparks playing a wild kinky game and that great miracles can come forth in our lives when we reverse the process of forgetting by deliberately reclaiming the pleasure of the game.

The title is well chosen! The book is trying to get the reader to treat life itself as one big BDSM scene that they can lean into if they want.

Which, this is a weird sell, but it happens that I’m totally into this and have been doing it on my own*, so having someone dump a whole framework of doing life that extends this is delightful and intellectually stimulating!

* I used to be normally socially anxious where I just felt awful, but these days when I’m uncomfortable because I said something stupid or cruel, or someone’s pushing my boundaries, 50% of the time I notice and go, “whoa, I’m uncomfortable, that’s interesting and nice in a way”. I do this simply because it’s better to feel nice and interested than awful. Raw misery is hard to spin this way, but anything complicated where there’s some human nuance in it provides a launchpad for this transition.

The author describes “orgasmic meditation” where she lies down for a time-limited period, focuses on the sensation as someone rubs her clit, and does not attempt to change the kind of stimuli she is receiving. There are obviously strokes she likes and strokes she is less into, and part of the point is to expand the range of things she can enjoy – going from “oh, not this one” to “yes, even this one”. And you can apply this same process to, well, life:

This practice of “getting off on every stroke” can, by analogy, be extended beyond the context of Orgasmic Meditation (or sex) and be applied to life, wherein one considers everything that happens as a “stroke.” As in, comments that other people make to you—those are strokes. Surprising situations that arise—those are strokes. A critical monologue from some inner voice—those are strokes.

Also very congruent with how I (would like to) think of life.

I would never recommend this book broadly. Either you’re open to being expansively masochistic like this appealing or you aren’t. But man is it good at articulating a cohesive is+ought framework that, if you could lean into it, can get you to do this top-down reinterpretation of more experiences as pleasurable.


#(I’m going to be ragging on this‚ so I want to say upfront that if you are someone who gets something valuable out of this then that’s great #and you should live your joy) #(I reserve my emotions here for the pattern‚ not the readers) #…okay maybe this is overly meta but I *am* kind of fascinated by my visceral revulsion at this? #it’s kind of trainwrecky‚ I think #somebody actually managed to combine #”zealousness-of-converts!Buddhists waxing lyrical about how being a p-zombie is the highest form of existence” #and ”those assholes in kink spaces who think that because *they’re* into BDSM that everyone with non-normative sexual interests is too” #(with a touch of salvia memory-game shit for flavour!) #I did not expect to see *those* synthesised #(and yet it makes so much sense in hindsight) #and I have to take my hat off to it even as I hate every fibre of its being #tag rambles #sexuality and lack thereof #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #nsfw text #amnesia cw #death tw? #I don’t know‚ what’s the content warning for enlightenment