Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

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

Why No Town Hall Meetings in the Bay Area?

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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Why No Town Hall Meetings in the Bay Area?

One congressman is hung in effigy; swastikas spray-painted on the office door of another. And outside community venues where President Obama is speaking, people roam the streets with six shooters and AK-47s. All this in response to the notion that the government has a role to play in ensuring that every American has adequate health care.

Town Hall meetings to discuss health care reform. It sounded like such a good idea; so, well, democratic. Sadly, many of these well-intentioned gatherings are being disrupted by the few who seem bent on scaring the many—and stopping debate in its tracks.

The intimidation tactics are

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