Author Topic: Life According to the Comments Section  (Read 3277 times)

jdoolin

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Life According to the Comments Section
« on: April 28, 2013, 10:02:54 AM »
So I've spent probably too much time swatting flies on MMM's washingtonpost article.  I've read far too many comments, yet gathered some insight on how people think.

Here is the life of the average person in the US, according to the commenters, starting with college.

First is college.  It is very, VERY expensive, and you will have to get loans for all of it.  This debt will keep you poor for the rest of your life.  Your degree also probably sucks and you won't be able to get a job unless you're lucky.

You get your first job, but life already sucks because of your huge student loan that is hopeless.   Everything is extremely expensive because everyone in the country lives in an expensive place and housing prices are through the roof.

You get better jobs, but healthcare and insurance is so expensive you don't have any money left to save.

You try to save, but there's nothing to save, even though you live "frugal".

You have kids, which are also extremely expensive and you must begin immediately saving for the entire college education that will be just as expensive as the one you're currently paying for.  There is no other way for kids to get an education than to pay for all of it yourself.  So now you're paying for several complete college educations, including yours, your spouse's and all your children's.

You eventually retire at the respectable age of 60, because if you retire any earlier, you're being unproductive, selfish and lazy.

But unfortunately, as soon as you retire or perhaps even in your mid-life, you are cursed with chronic heart problems, cancer of Everything and several other catastrophic diseases and accidents, and you must now pay millions in healthcare.

You aren't allowed to do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, otherwise you aren't actually retired.

You die.

In addition, MMM is:

-not actually retired
-still Canadian and using their healthcare system
-lying about things to the IRS
-will suffer greatly when he's caught by our government
-running a meth lab
-lazy, selfish and unproductive
-a hypocrite
-not telling the whole story
-is hiding something
-is lying
-isn't paying taxes
-doesn't have health insurance
-will come crashing down because of a catastrophic illness or accident
-will run out of money because he doesn't have enough
-could never have paid for his homes
-could never be earning that much from the rental
-living a miserable life
-sacrificing a lot

Whew... had to get that off my chest.  Thanks for letting me vent.  :-)

Mrs MM

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 10:09:42 AM »
MMM and I both love you, Mr. Doolin!!  We saw you doing all that fly swatting and greatly appreciate you jumping in and participating so much in the discussion.

My favorite comment was the guy that said: "his wife looks crazy, and the kid is longing to go home to his real mom and dad."

Haha!  I think I'm finally getting used to all the complaints and can finally let most of them slide... :)

Anyway, thanks again!

limeandpepper

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 10:13:11 AM »
Ha, I spent too much time reading the comments the other day, too, and this is an awesome (not to mention hilarious) summary! For those who haven't read the article comments, this summary is all you need.

Jamesqf

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 10:19:25 AM »
My favorite comment was the guy that said: "his wife looks crazy...

Yeah, crazy like a fox - pun intended :-)

As for the summary (for some reason I can't see the comments on the WP site), once again I'm so glad I'm not average.

arebelspy

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 10:40:28 AM »
Brilliant summary jdoolin.

The article is still on my Pocket reading list, but now I can skip the comments.  Very enjoyable.

Haha!  I think I'm finally getting used to all the complaints and can finally let most of them slide... :)

That's gotta be tough, when someone says something factually incorrect (and just plain idiotic, at times) and you want to correct them, but it's just not worth it.
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Flynlow

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 11:02:12 AM »
Ughhhh......most online comment sections are about the bottom of the barrel as far as societal cross sections go.  YouTube is by far the worst, online news places aren't much better.  It's like the worst amalagation of Jersey Shore, Honey BooBoo, and Jerry springer.  In contrast, most forums and the mmm comments section are far more helpful and pleasant :).

Don't let those idiots get you down!

cats

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 11:13:18 AM »
WP comments are (I think) really awful relative to the alleged quality of the newspaper.  It's amazing how many kinds of articles people seem to be able to use as a pretext for spouting off about how Obama is ruining the country, for example.  I find the online comments in the NYT and SF Chronicle (to cite two similarly "major" or "serious" papers) to be much more valuable (though there's still plenty of crap).

daverobev

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2013, 11:22:53 AM »
Interesting thought though - if today's children see their parents moaning about the cost of University education, I wonder if the numbers will go down, down, down in a few years. The "university is the next bubble" thing is kinda fascinating..

BlueMR2

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2013, 11:49:41 AM »
What really gets me is the college debt complaints.  If spending all that money to go to school just results in a worthless degree that you can't pay the debt for...  WHY DID YOU WASTE YOUR TIME GOING!?!?  Wouldn't it just be better off to not go instead of going and then complaining how the system is rigged to cause ruin?

I'm firmly of the belief that not everyone should go on to college.  We've gotten so wrapped up in the idea of that as a requirement, that we've missed the point on WHY one would choose to go.  Guess what, if everyone has a degree, those factory jobs still gotta get filled.  Except they now get filled with people that blew $100k+ on unnecessary education...

Frugal_in_DC

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2013, 11:50:51 AM »
Hello from the DC 'burbs!  Please don't waste your time reading, let alone trying to make sense of, the comments below all Washington Post articles.  No one who lives around here pays attention to them because we know that most of them are such crap.  If WP managers were looking for an easy way to raise revenue, they would charge at least $1 per comment.  Believe me, despite the crazy cost of living there are plenty of sane, frugal people in and around DC.

Frugal_in_DC

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2013, 12:01:52 PM »
What really gets me is the college debt complaints.

Yup.  As if there was no other choice but to get into tens of thousands of dollars of debt to get a college degree.  Let's not even talk about parents using their homes as credit cards to finance their children's education.

There are so many other viable options…starting at a community college and then transferring to a state college, living at home, going part-time, going to an in-state state college.  I have to wonder how smart someone is if they think the only way to get a college education is to be in debt for years and years after graduation.  I do feel sorry for young folks who have to postpone having kids and have to live far from work because of their loans, but hey you make your bed and you lie in it.

And for crying out loud, if you have undergraduate student loans then don't take out even more loans to go to graduate school. 

KingMe

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2013, 12:49:29 PM »
Frugal in DC and others are 100% correct about the comments section of the Wapo. It's a dark, dark place inhabited by trolls and the demented.

Living in many parts of DC and its surrounding suburbs is pretty expensive, but there are affordable areas. I see many co-workers moving further out as their families grow. This leads to more car purchases, longer and more expensive commutes, and less time with their families and free time.

MMM isn't an expert on living in DC, so here are some thoughts on how to answer the writer's question about applying his precepts to this area.

Get a bike and use the great trail and bike lane system
Telework as much as possible
Don't have a commute that includes paying for parking
Don't get a dog if you need to pay for a dog walker or doggy day care
Pack hour own lunch and don't fine out often
Pay next to nothing for entertainment because there are so many free options in DC

The expensive commutes that people choose for themselves is unbelievable. Many things on my list would apply to many areas, but are especially true in DC.


Paul der Krake

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2013, 01:07:31 PM »
I'm firmly of the belief that not everyone should go on to college.  We've gotten so wrapped up in the idea of that as a requirement, that we've missed the point on WHY one would choose to go.
This. Germany goes even further and has 3 kind of high schools: one prepares its students for university studies, the other two place focus more on apprenticeship and tangible skills. The early selection of kids is debatable, but mostly the system works and you see people who went to the "dumb" school go on and achieve great things.
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Frugal_in_DC

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2013, 02:01:20 PM »
MMM isn't an expert on living in DC, so here are some thoughts on how to answer the writer's question about applying his precepts to this area.

Get a bike and use the great trail and bike lane system
Telework as much as possible
Don't have a commute that includes paying for parking
Don't get a dog if you need to pay for a dog walker or doggy day care
Pack hour own lunch and don't fine out often
Pay next to nothing for entertainment because there are so many free options in DC


Totally agree with this list.  When I scan the Post's Weekend section, the only word my eyes are trained to pick out is Free.  I would add these to the list:

- New to the area?  Don't get your own place, share a room in a group house or an apartment with someone else.  This is how I saved $ for a down payment on a house.

- Choose a place to live where you won't need a car to commute or run basic errands.  This is especially a no-brainer if your employer offers a public transportation subsidy.  Register with Guaranteed Ride Home to get door-to-door transportation home in case of an emergency (I've tried it and it works like a charm).  Anywhere near a Metro stop tends to be pricey, so look for places near Metrobus or other regional bus stops.  The main purpose of buses is to link commuters to Metrorail.

- If you buy your own place, rent out any extra bedrooms.  One of my neighbors pays for most of her mortgage this way.

- If you go to happy hour, pick places that offer free food.  I enjoyed lots of free dinners this way BK (Before Kids).

- You can borrow books and DVDs from any of the library systems in and around DC, but obviously don't drive crazy distances just to go to the library.  I read constantly and can't remember the last time I bought a book.  I have cards to 5 city and county library systems near me.

- If you have babies or young kids, buy their clothes used and resell them.  Better yet, ask friends or coworkers if they have old kids' clothes that they want to get rid of.  They may hand you bags or boxes of kid stuff for free.  A friend of mine actually made money from her kid's clothes.  She bought them at yard and church sales, and then consigned them.  There are always tons of yard and church sales in the DC area.

grantmeaname

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2013, 02:10:00 PM »
This. Germany goes even further and has 3 kind of high schools: one prepares its students for university studies, the other two place focus more on apprenticeship and tangible skills. The early selection of kids is debatable, but mostly the system works and you see people who went to the "dumb" school go on and achieve great things.
That's interesting -- I've never heard anyone speak so highly of the German school system as it exists now. My impression of it was that it's much like American schools: the gymnasien are like the US's rich suburban schools, among the best in the world, while the lower tiers, like urban public schools, are largely failing their students. It's terrific if you're in the top echelon, but deeply problematic for everyone else.

I think the larger point, in the context we're discussing it, is valid, and I think that the vocational centers and community colleges in this country are incredibly valuable and have great potential, of course. The wrinkle is in the implementation.

BPA

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2013, 02:25:57 PM »
Love it!  I was particularly perturbed about the accusation that MMM is such a dominant personality that he must boss his wife around.  I agree he seems to have a dominant personality, but I don't at all get the feeling that a) MrsMM would let herself be pushed around and b) that he would do that even if she allowed it.  Funny how protective and defensive a feeling I get for a family I know only barely on the internet. 

Also, how does someone "look crazy?" 

Bah!

I hope MMM doesn't decide to pack it in because of the attack on himself and his family.  Jaysus!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2013, 02:28:16 PM »
Grant, some of them suck, there is no doubt about that. I used to live close to a Realschule and it was definitely a different crowd from the local gymnasium. Hell, the building itself looked like crap and this was in one of the richest cities in one of the richest states.

All in all however, Germany manages to have an unemployment rate about half of France's, the other economic powerhouse neighbor, and that is quite a feat. Another (subjective) indicator I use is how little resentment there is towards people at the top, unlike, in France or the UK. This to me is proof that social mobility is alive and kicking.
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arebelspy

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2013, 03:02:55 PM »
I was particularly perturbed about the accusation that MMM is such a dominant personality that he must boss his wife around.

If you'd ever met them, you'd find the idea laughable, and not be perturbed in the least.

From personal experience and all the feedback I've heard from those who have (from reader meetups, FinCon, etc.), he's such a nice guy that anyone wouldn't even think this even remotely possible of him.
A silent voice is as powerless as a silenced one.

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BPA

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2013, 03:07:46 PM »
I was particularly perturbed about the accusation that MMM is such a dominant personality that he must boss his wife around.

If you'd ever met them, you'd find the idea laughable, and not be perturbed in the least.

From personal experience and all the feedback I've heard from those who have (from reader meetups, FinCon, etc.), he's such a nice guy that anyone wouldn't even think this even remotely possible of him.

Just a clarification:  I was perturbed by the douchebag who posted that comment, not by the chance that it was true. 

As we all know, whenever anyone defies the norm, he or she must be crazy or stupid according to the masses.  I need to remember that when reading stupid comments. 

KingMe

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2013, 04:14:33 PM »
Oh yeah, the free food happy hours. Forgot about those. The Mayflower Hotel had a particularly good one, but they were all over the place when I came here as a student. I assume they still are.

pbkmaine

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2013, 04:35:10 PM »
I am a huge fan of the entire MMM clan, but the family photo the WP commenter referred to WAS taken at an odd angle. Maybe it's time for a new one? Taken by a family friend, of course.

dragoncar

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2013, 04:45:57 PM »
Brilliant... feels like a guest post in the making.

jdoolin

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2013, 05:23:35 PM »
No problem, Mrs. MM!  Good to know it wasn't for naught.  It was impossible to allow so much misinformation go by without responding.  I knew at times I was just beating my head against the wall, but if any of it got people to think twice and check out the blog, then I'd say it was worth it.

I finally closed the browser tab this morning and walked away.  Too many other fun things to do this evening. :-)

Nords

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2013, 11:17:09 PM »
Also, how does someone "look crazy?" 
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BPA

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Re: Life According to the Comments Section
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2013, 04:27:01 AM »
Also, how does someone "look crazy?" 

Ha!  What do you suppose his diagnosis was supposed to be?