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Posts tagged "Wall Street Journal"

Another Week Ends: Ancient Riddles, Death by Treadmill, Buzzing Bees, Sad Smartypantses, Physical Dependence, the Rise of the Monotaskers, and How to Burn a Witch According to Radiohead

Another Week Ends: Ancient Riddles, Death by Treadmill, Buzzing Bees, Sad Smartypantses, Physical Dependence, the Rise of the Monotaskers, and How to Burn a Witch According to Radiohead

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with author/theologian John Newton.

1. Let’s start with this weird and beautiful story from The Washington Post: “The key to these ancient riddles may lie in a father’s love for his dead son.” For a hundred years, archaeologists have been trying to make sense of an extensive series of ancient Swedish runes which bear the dedication: “In memory of Vämod stand these runes. And Varinn wrote them, the father, in memory of his dead son.” Although many of the riddles that follow seem completely unrelated to this mysterious father/son…

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The Difference Between Christmas and Easter

The Difference Between Christmas and Easter

A few paragraphs from James Martin’s remarkable article in this past Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, “The Challenge of Easter”:

The Christmas story is largely nonthreatening to nonbelievers: Jesus in the manger, surrounded by Mary and Joseph and the adoring shepherds, is easy to take. As the Gospels of Matthew and Luke recount, there was no little danger involved for Mary and Joseph. But for the most part, it can be accepted as a charming story. Even nonbelievers might appreciate the birth of a great teacher.

By contrast, the Easter story is both appalling and astonishing: the craven betrayal of Jesus by one…

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Another Week Ends: Un-Free Shoppers, Artists, Procrastinators, Middle Class Ambitions, Celebrity Spectacles, Keanu Talks Bill and Ted Three

Another Week Ends: Un-Free Shoppers, Artists, Procrastinators, Middle Class Ambitions, Celebrity Spectacles, Keanu Talks Bill and Ted Three

1. Good news for the procrastinators out there. The Wall Street Journal published “How To Be A Better Procrastinator” this week, which analyzes when and why procrastinators procrastinate–and, surprise suprise–it has a lot to do with judgment and perfectionism. Normalizing its symptoms, the article gives some gracious comfort to those who have always looked at their habits as a hedge to their successes. In fact, it’s just a part of being human. And more than that, the dawdling before getting down to business doubles as a fruitful getting lost that actually aids productivity and creativity. Still, people are inclined to view…

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Little Lies and Not-So-Little Lies (We Can’t Disguise)

Little Lies and Not-So-Little Lies (We Can’t Disguise)

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely hit an anthropological home run in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend with “Why We Lie,” a preview of his ridiculously well-titled upcoming book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves. (You can watch the Predicatably Irrational author’s wonderful TED talk here). What Ariely and his team of researchers have uncovered will come as no surprise to those familiar with the New Testament: everyone lies, everyone is both perpetrator and victim in this respect, lying is primarily an emotional phenomenon (as opposed to a rational one), the basis of which is…

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The Crazy-Making IPO: Facebook Madness and the Compulsive iDisorder

The Crazy-Making IPO: Facebook Madness and the Compulsive iDisorder

Add one more to the tally, after Franzen, after Marche, after Turkle. The Wall Street Journal‘s “Smart Money” blog, Pay Dirt, which does a lot of interesting behavioral economics writing, performed a quick psychoanalytic survey of the madness of Facebook “liking,” in wake of the IPO attention the company is getting. Its findings were telling if not all that remarkably surprising: we compulsively compare, and the comparison to such inaccurate standards leads to compulsive modes of depression. When we see standards with whom we are well- (or at least perceivedly well-) acquainted, the Law of Liking meets us where we…

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Another Week Ends: John Carter, Obesity FAILs, Mary Karr on Suffering, Winning!, Friends with Kids, Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball and Community Returns

Another Week Ends: John Carter, Obesity FAILs, Mary Karr on Suffering, Winning!, Friends with Kids, Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball and Community Returns

1. “I am not Jesus, but I have the same initials.” Thus sang Jarvis Cocker on the classic Pulp track “Dishes” (at bottom), and it now looks like he has a new contender to the throne, Tim Riggins himself, Mr. John Carter of Mars. That’s right: Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton’s first live-action feature is out this weekend, and the consensus thus far is that there’s no consensus. Some claim that it’s an overblown mess, others that it’s the sort of exceedingly fun pulp adventure that doesn’t get made anymore. But Stanton is a filmmaker that I trust over any…

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Another Week Ends: Inner Machiavellians, Lutheran Insults, Whisky Priests, Monkees, Mets, Parenthood, Veep, Viola Davis and Frankenweenie

Another Week Ends: Inner Machiavellians, Lutheran Insults, Whisky Priests, Monkees, Mets, Parenthood, Veep, Viola Davis and Frankenweenie

1. I’ll admit it: I’ve been trying to lay off the David Brooks, at least in the Weekend columns. As insightful as he frequently is, there are plenty of fish in the digital sea, are there not? Well, to paraphrase a Pacino, every time I think I’m out, he pulls me back in. That is to say, giving anything top billing other than his NY Times column from yesterday, “The Machiavellian Temptation,” would be dishonest. It’s getting to the point where I suspect we’re being punked a la Candid Camera. Anyway, this time around Herr Brooks is contrasting recent breakthroughs…

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Another Week Ends: Joseph Mills, Commitment Devices, Anxiety Rights, Bible Rescue, Imposter Syndrome, Hitch on Chesterton, Elmer Bernstein and Liz Lemon

Another Week Ends: Joseph Mills, Commitment Devices, Anxiety Rights, Bible Rescue, Imposter Syndrome, Hitch on Chesterton, Elmer Bernstein and Liz Lemon

1. One of the many things to adore about David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is the cover (of the US edition). The collage manages to capture the torrential intellect at the heart of that wonderful collection without losing the humor. But it wasn’t until this past week that I knew anything about its designer, photographer/artist/pumpkin farmer Joseph Mills. The Washington City Paper did a feature on him back in 2003 in conjunction with an exhibit at the Corcoran, and Joseph’s words–and personal history with psychosis and depression–pack quite a punch, ht SJ:

When asked about…

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We (Don’t) Need To Talk About Pierre: The Benefits of French Parenting?

We (Don’t) Need To Talk About Pierre: The Benefits of French Parenting?

Judging from the amount of forwards to my inbox, Pamela Druckerman’s “Why French Parents Are Superior” has some relevant things to say. The article is another in a line of Wall Street Journal humdingers about parenting, and also the first time I’ve come across the brilliant new term, ‘kindergarchy.’ The gist of Druckerman’s argument is that French parents produce more well-behaved kids (or at least more self-controlled ones) because they are less worried about saying No to their children, that they believe that one of the parents’ primary tasks to teach the child about patience, and that temperament is not…

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Another Week Ends: Immortal Smartphones, Jefferson Bethke, Adolescent Rewards, Profound Comedy, Therapeutic Irony, more George Lucas, Pixar and Hunger Games

Another Week Ends: Immortal Smartphones, Jefferson Bethke, Adolescent Rewards, Profound Comedy, Therapeutic Irony, more George Lucas, Pixar and Hunger Games

1. In last weekend’s NY Times Magazine, Carina Chocano explained “The Dilemma of Being a Cyborg” – AKA what our current obsession with “data” has to say about our humanity – dropping her usual allotment of insight bombs along the way. Not only does she point out the increasingly prevailing illusion that if something wasn’t ‘documented’ it didn’t happen, she gets at the real crux of our smartphoned existence: the false promise of immortality. In other words, a familiar serpent has found its way into the, um, Apple Store:

This is the dilemma of being a cyborg: It’s not just that…

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Unaccompanied Minors and the War Against the Goonies

Unaccompanied Minors and the War Against the Goonies

A fitting follow-up to the recent post on the tragic decline of unstructured play in the lives of children, not to mention yesterday’s one on insomnia, this time in a Wall Street Journal editorial by Lenore Skenazy, “The War on Childhood.” She uses Amtrak’s recent decision to bump their unaccompanied minor age from 8 to 13(!) to talk about the competing forces of control and freedom when it comes to the treatment of children. Control appears to be winning by landslide these days, and, as reasonable as some of the decisions in question might be, the hidden cost of the…

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Another Week Ends: Zombied Church, The Hill and Wood, Full Eyes, Soda Bans, (The Paradox of) Dysfunctional Families, Joe Pa and Scandal Love

Another Week Ends: Zombied Church, The Hill and Wood, Full Eyes, Soda Bans, (The Paradox of) Dysfunctional Families, Joe Pa and Scandal Love

1) Something’s in the water at The Atlantic lately, because inspired after inspired article seems to be finding its way into the proverbial stream, including an intriguing article about tv show The Walking Dead‘s “Come-to-Jesus Moment.” As the review is aware (and mind you, if you’re not caught up on the show, spoilers), it’s certainly a dissatisfying presentation of faith’s power in crisis, but it has a lot to say about the human compulsions to lean on something in hard times, and the ease of and inevitable infidelity of that leaning becoming a leaning on one’s self. In a hellish…

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