1. First off, The Onion has been doing marvelous things lately. Their insight into the human condition is always surprising, especially their sense for all the pressures of social life, how ridiculous they are, and how strange is our reliance on them for identity. Cue Mothershould, their new web series on how to be a better Mom. Our frequent use of scorekeeping as a description of our obsession with metrics and comparison has found its best video example since King of Kong, below:
2. In the dystopian scare department this week, Vicky Price of The Independent reviews a new book by William Davies called The Happiness Industry. Our unprecedented ability to…
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Holy lord they got me good today:
PROVIDENCE, RI—Shedding new light on the biological underpinnings behind the behavior, scientists at Brown University announced Tuesday that eating appears to serve a number of key functions besides relieving anxiety. “While a considerable portion of food is indeed ingested in order to distract an individual from feelings of panic and insecurity, our research shows that eating actually confers several benefits beyond temporarily holding despair at bay,” said Dr. Sandra Lutkin, who explained that consuming food has been found to provide vital nutrients to the human body and in many cases replenish it with energy, suggesting that its primary purpose may not be as a coping mechanism at all. “In fact, we observed dozens of subjects and discovered that only a portion of the items they ingested were intended to assuage their apprehension about their job, relationship, or body image…” Although she cautioned the findings were tentative, Lutkin posited that there might be additional methods of eating besides frantically devouring a meal directly over a trash can or sink.
1. Where to start with a hierarchy of most severe ‘little-l law’ in ‘secular’ society? We could start with body image, health, having cool experiences, and the like, but prosperity honestly takes the cake. And among the people who have already checked that box, it’s fast becoming political correctness. Political correctness is important, but its ascendant, uncompromising severity and occasional use as a class-code leads to a totalization which is, to say the least, in tension with the traditional (L/l)iberal ideal of discourse. Cue Camille Paglia, who had some fantastic things to say in America Magazine (Jesuits) about the backslide of feminism and…
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And then, one Friday morning in February, a front-runner for Onion article of the year emerged, pun intended, ht BJ:
Another slice of verdict-related brilliance from America’s Finest News Source. That final line being particularly perfect.
SANTA CLARITA, CA—Instantly mobilizing in response to a coworker’s positive remark about his job performance, local marketing assistant Devin Brandt’s neuroses really put the genuine compliment he received through the wringer Monday, sources confirmed. “There had to be an ulterior motive hidden in there somewhere, right? Or maybe he was being sarcastic,” Brandt reportedly thought as three decades of neurotic impulses worked over the honest-to-goodness praise from every conceivable angle, quickly ripping it to shreds. “Oh, God, what if he complimented me out of pity? Maybe I’m doing such a bad job that he felt he had to say something nice just to make me feel better about myself.” Sources confirmed that while the compliment was forced to run the full gauntlet of Brandt’s neuroses, a tiny slight directed toward him later in the day was able to take root in his brain unhindered.
1. One subject that’s been on our minds lately is political correctness, the orthodoxy of speech by which the progressives are divided from the bigots. It’s a division almost as absolute as that between righteous and sinners, and the press and universities – places supposed to be bastions of the liberal ideal of open speech – have instead been on the forefront of the new censorship. Fredrick deBoer, a leftist activist and grad student at Purdue, weighs in:
I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19 year old white woman — smart, well-meaning, passionate — literally run crying from a classroom…
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NEW YORK—Saying that sometimes she just needs a little break from her daily regimen, law-abiding citizen Karen Garver told reporters Tuesday that she keeps herself on track with a weekly cheat day in which she allows herself to commit any crime she wants. “I’m pretty strict Sunday through Friday, but come Saturday I tell myself it’s okay to bend the rules a little and improperly dispose of hazardous substances or rob a liquor store,” said Garver, explaining that by setting aside one day a week during which she can evade tax regulations, cause thousands of dollars in property damage, or assault a stranger, she’s able to resist temptation the rest of the week. “Being able to pause from living within the law now and then definitely helps keep me on the right path. Sometimes I’ll make a big day out of it with my girlfriends and we’ll all go out and set a forest fire, and then lead police on a high-speed chase through a crowded residential neighborhood.”… Read the rest here.
NEW YORK–In an alarming shift of mindset that is said to have occurred so gradually that he failed to notice it at first, Westport Data Systems senior manager and career-driven man Matthew Bowers expressed concern Friday that his identity was no longer exclusively tied to his job. “I always saw myself as a high-performance individual who was focused solely on working my way up to VP, but lately I’ve been worried that I may be developing aspects of my personality that have nothing to do with climbing the corporate ladder,” said Bowers, 42, noting that he has recently observed in himself an “unhealthy” level of preoccupation with personal interests, activities, and relationships that can in no way give him a leg up professionally. “Just the other day, I was telling my boss about my son’s soccer game—at work, mind you—and he responded by calling me ‘a real family man.’ My boss called me that. It was a huge wake-up call.”…
Read the whole thing here.
1. The Net’s been a little sparse this week due, I assume, to people traveling and days off work and such, so here’s a brief week-ender with a few good links. First off, at The Atlantic, Emma Green wonders why 2014’s most religious movies were some of its worst, citing Noah (which was pretty good in our books); Exodus, which seems pretty over-the-top/plain bad; as well as Left Behind, God’s Not Dead, and Heaven Is for Real, all of which we’d probably have theological (not to mention critical) reservations about. Anyway, she diagnoses a few interesting problems of the God-movie genre in our day:
Despite their varying…
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1. If anyone thought that medical records couldn’t be riveting and deeply touching, you’re not alone. But George Scialabba, an acclaimed thinker, writer, and book reviewer, voluntarily posted his psychiatric medical history in the current issue of The Baffler. Apart from the courage and vulnerability such a move shows, as well as the compassion for fellow sufferers which presumably undergirds his release, Scialabba’s post offers a curious mixture of elements as a reader: self-reproach for such intimate voyeurism combined with a feeling that you’re really seeing yourself; wonder at how far short even highly accomplished people can fall far short of…
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1. In an unintentional bit of foreshadowing, yesterday’s dispatch from The Onion condensed a number of today’s (anti-Gospel) themes into a succinct bit of satire: the frenetic pace of modern-day America, the exhaustion and restlessness and the humble-brag workaholism endemic to our way of life, the overvaluing of accomplishment/career and the cult of productivity, the fear of idleness and aversion to ‘being’, the compulsive, non-stop proving afforded by technology–the sum total being what we not-so-lovingly refer to as the World of Demand. The stakes were drawn afresh for me this week in an article that came across my desk from an unexpected source, Elle magazine….
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The hits just keep coming. Check the original here:
GRESHAM, OR—Underscoring the benefits of working for a laid-back company like SocialFire Marketing, founder and CEO Matt Avalon told reporters Tuesday he had instituted an office-wide policy permitting employees to work from home anytime after 6 p.m. “If it helps them be efficient and get more done, I have no problem with people working remotely once they’ve left the office for the day,” said Avalon, who noted that as long as they’re doing their jobs, the location where his staff members choose to work between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. is “completely up to them.” “That’s the kind of relaxed culture we strive to create here—one where you can even be working from your living room couch at two in the morning if you’d like.” Avalon added that since they don’t have to be in the office for any meetings, employees are free to work from home on weekends and holidays as well.