Xark began as a group blog in June 2005 but continues today as founder Dan Conover's primary blog-home. Posts by longtime Xark authors Janet Edens and John Sloop may also appear alongside Dan's here from time to time, depending on whatever.
By Courtney E. Martin, AlterNet Posted on November 28, 2007
In Esther Perel's insightful, beautifully written book Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic,
out in paperback this month, she argues that we have lost sight of the
critical balance that makes a relationship great -- intimacy and
distance. In her private psychotherapy practice in New York, she's seen
too many couples wrapped up in our workaholic, kid-focused culture; the
true loss, she argues, is sensuality and pleasure -- vital ingredients
to a life well-lived.
Her seemingly paradoxical argument -- that less togetherness can lead to more intimacy -- has been a global hit. Mating in Captivity
has been published in the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany, Canada,
France, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, Brazil, Israel, Australia, the United
Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands, and it will soon be available in
Greece, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Turkey. AlterNet caught up
with this global traveler long enough to ask a few questions about her
vision for more satisfying partnerships. Her answers are telling, but
perhaps even more refreshing is that she embodies her message. Esther
is playful, thoughtful, sexy and thoroughly independent. See for
These came via our friend Mike Fussell yesterday, but I was so busy that I didn't click the links until this morning. It's a Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator, and with verbiage like this now available for free, I expect we'll see expensive consultants across this great land training for new employment any day now.
Of all the sports clichés that I dislike—and there are more than a boatload of them--the one that bothers me most is “Act like you’ve been there before.”Someone inevitably makes this claim each time a home run hitter celebrates his ball going over the fence and each time a wide receiver makes a one handed end zone catch and celebrates wildly.That is, every time a player does what he or she is supposed to do, and takes a moment to celebrate it, someone will ask them—or at least ask the player on their television--to act as if it’s a routine day at the accounting firm.
This phrase has never made sense to me, and it makes less sense the more often I think about it.
On the emotional side, it doesn’t make sense because I’m the type of fan, the type of person, who simply enjoys big emotions and larger-than-life personalities.I want players to celebrate wildly, to physically show how much fun it is to feel like they are the greatest, if only for the moment.I love big personalities and big moments befitting those personalities.I’ve never like the accountant approach to sports in which a player is supposed to act as if their great moments are mundane.Hell, when I have a good day of teaching, or write a good line in an essay, I jump up and down and shout. Why shouldn’t the athlete do so as well?
This morning's confounder? A David Brooks column that ran locally under this headline: "Once-unifying music fragmented by society and technology."
The gist? Hipsters and technology are ruining the country. And the Long Tail (Brooks doesn't capitalize it, or explain it) is bad for the culture.
There is just so much here to discuss that perhaps a fisking is in order. But for those of you with lives and/or better things to do, I'll state my conclusions first:
Brooks' true subject isn't music or economics or technology or even the "hipsters" who seem to bother him so much. What he's really writing about is the desire for a world that is simple, a world mediated by trusted gatekeepers and ruled by institutions that set the boundaries of everything from legality to morality to taste.
That Brooks could write this piece without even mentioning the monopolization of commercial radio betrays his selective myopia. But for the love of Gawd how do you write about "all-purpose" Rock and Roll as some canonized marketing wing of The One True Establishment without even a trace of irony?
Brooks is popular because he speaks to a common anxiety: The world is spinning out of control. Then he provides a reassuring answer: People like you who remember the old values have the right answer. He explains how things got this way: Hipsters and elites have caused a general breakdown of authority and good order. And he prescribes a solution: Stop it!
But here's the way it's going to be, folks: The world is going to change. Rapidly. More rapidly than you remember. More rapidly than you may be prepared for emotionally. Values and ethics and cultural connections are going to be hugely important to us, as they are now, but they must be portable. Offering them as talismans against change will fail to prevent change and succeed only in damaging the very concepts you claim to hold in such esteem.
Imagining alternatives to your accepted reality is uncomfortable, but it's an absolute requirement for staying relevant in the 21st century. Our country's established conservative voices seem intent on disqualifying themselves from credibility with the next generation, and believe it or not, that's going to become a problem soon. We're going to need conservatives who understand cultural symbols, technology and change as a force of history. But that's a topic for another day.
Nothing really all that surprising about the Wikipedia entries. But the Conservapedia traffic says something that's really nothing short of amazing -- if it's true. Nine of the conservative encyclopedia's top 10 pages are basically variations on the same subject, which I suppose makes my bullshit meter pulse just a bit. Could it be part of a clever hack by somebody trying to make a point?
You'd think that fundamentalist homeschool parents looking for lesson plans on Intelligent Design would at least show up somewhere in the rankings.
Speaking of which, here's what the site lists as its popular articles. You don't need suggestions of gay obsession to make this bunch look disconnected from reality (And for the record: I know plenty of conservatives, but I don't know ANYBODY who reads this site).
The "One Laptop Per Child" program has designed a pretty cool device for 3rd world ("developing nations") use, including extreme power efficiency, an even more extremely power efficient reading mode, zero config shared networking, no moving parts, stable free OS, etc, etc, in a ruggedized case. These guys have really put a lot of thought into a good laptop for the environment.
Their target is a $100 laptop. Right now they're at $186 or something like that.
I don't know why they don't just make this generally available on the market. I'm guessing because it would piss off some of their business partners by competing with them.
However, for a LIMITED TIME ONLY (until 11/26), they're doing this "buy two/get one" program where if you pay for 2 laptops they'll send one to you and one to their target non-market: a child in a developing country. It cost $400 and $200 of that is a tax-deductible donation.
So, basically, this is like buying a $400 laptop, and it's probably a good deal at that price. It's more limited than something from Dell, but it's got some cool features you wouldn't find "commercially" for $400.
I've never personally seen one, and I look forward to it (a friend of mine just ordered one for his kid). The reviews are interesting.
So, if you're into this kind of charitable giving or just want a pretty unique laptop for a good price, check it out.