Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Analog Body in a Digital World: What Have You Got to Lose?

Has Binge-Watching Hijacked Your Dopamine?

What Gets You Sober — God or Your Neurons?

Don’t Let Bigots Occupy Your Mind

Occupy Oakland and Aggrieved Truckers Can Learn From Each Other

Analog Body in a Digital World: What Have You Got to Lose?

When the weather is cooperative, I eat breakfast on the porch in front of my apartment. My nervous system is soothed in the presence of squirrels scampering, hummingbirds zipping around my neighbor’s pear tree, and bumblebees bobbing on jasmine blossoms, heavy with pollen. From my perch, I exchange greetings with neighbors as they garden, walk dogs, and push strollers down the street. This time is precious because I make sure it happens before I’ve plugged in to the digital realm. I

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Has Binge-Watching Hijacked Your Dopamine?

I don’t trust anything that I look forward to too much. And topping that list is the double-edged sword of prestige television. For over half a century, critics have railed against what we used to call the “boob tube,” usually objecting on moral or political grounds.

If they knew dopamine like I know dopamine, they could have made a stronger case.

I’m neither a Puritan nor a Luddite. I’ve thrilled to the Emmy-winning dramas of television’s new Golden Age. And like so many others, I fell victim to what TV critic James Poniewozik calls “The Suck“: “that narcotic, tidal feeling of

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What Gets You Sober — God or Your Neurons?

sober neuronsCutting-edge, 21st century neuroscience and a certain Depression era, Christian-based, self-help fellowship probably rank among the strangest of bedfellows, but they do have one thing in common: when it comes to the treatment of addiction, both rely on the brain’s innate capacity for transformation. Read more…

Don’t Let Bigots Occupy Your Mind

by Lisa Martinovic

Despite a generation of sensitivity trainings and multicultural studies, an astonishing number of people still feel emboldened to express their misbegotten bigotry in very public arenas. Cops and vigilantes alike are caught on tape throwing down racial slurs before they kill, Rush Limbaugh has no compunction about “slut-shaming” for a national audience, and classroom bullies drive a steady stream of gay youth to suicide. In the face of such madness we may be tempted to question the wisdom of the old nursery rhyme:

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

That’s what we were

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Occupy Oakland and Aggrieved Truckers Can Learn From Each Other

by Lisa Martinovic

When the Occupy Movement hits ninety-nine percenters in the pocketbook, do we have the right to say it’s for their own good?

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Though I am in no condition to camp out in public plazas, I take every opportunity to participate in actions—be it a march in San Francisco, a general strike at UC Berkeley or a speak-out against police brutality in Oakland. I am thrilled to be alive in this historic awakening.

Still, I had mixed feelings as I trekked down to the Port of Oakland to support the

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