My latest column for Industry is up! Games Worth Playing: How a ritual based upon the I Ching can change the way we think about life and love
Perhaps readers are aware of the concept of the filter bubble: that with more and more tools to personalize online offerings, we are more in danger of seeing only the news we want to see. The term, while a nice coinage for the internet and indebted age, is not new. In relationships, too, we see what we want to see.
The bubble first grows in our heads, a fact I learned from a 3,000-year-old book
of divination called the I Ching, or the “Book of Changes.”
I’ll risk my reputation as a serious individual here to admit that, when it comes to relationship deciphering, I’m addicted to what could be considered a tool for magical thinking.
I wrote about dancing—why I stopped, why I started again, how it was different—in my latest column for Industry.
This is dedicated to an ex with whom I rediscovered dancing. To my aunt who’s from the 80s. And to Late Bar, where I’ve had lots of fun escapades.
I’m still serious. I have to check in with myself sometimes. Maybe I’m feeling more “library” than “club” tonight. Did I just let my friends drag me out because I don’t want to be that silly loser alone on a Saturday night?
Or am I feeling circumspect? Maybe someone here will engage in a good, fleshy philosophical debate with me. About parties, pickups, or hookups, or hookahs, or high-tops, or highballs.
I still notice how others react to me. Maybe it’s a foible of being a girl, or maybe it’s just human. I’ve never been a particularly fine dancer, but it turns out that it doesn’t matter. It only matters that you mean it. The attitude is already half a put-on, winking, oversold to sell–to be appreciated but not awed.
Yes I know everyone’s obsessed with Breaking Bad right now, what can I say? Print waits for no show. In my latest article for Industry, I look at the themes of Game of Thrones, which offers a case study of personal politics and the rules of cause and effect, if we are paying attention. HBO shows do not kowtow to our hero myths, and one could argue that they’ve influenced mainstream entertainment away from the old watered down, picture-postcard universe of blockbuster fantasy (we won’t talk about Sex and the City right now). That’s why we love them (Sopranos, Enlightened, GoT) and why they are better than most TV, even most really good TV. Plus, GoT has a lot of awesome female characters (looking at you, Breaking Bad, but I love you anyway!).
It is always interesting to think of why a certain trend happens at a certain time. And as little as I want to overstretch some tenuous pop cultural connection, it does seem strange that we are lapping up HBO’s Game of Thrones series’ political intrigue, lax morality, and wanton disregard for others’ personal freedom with an almost sociopathic appetite.
One nice thing about writing a relationship column is that I can justify my long years of obsessive thinking about relationships. It legitimizes all that wasted time. Another is that I can rope others into my endless questioning of certain matters that for most are long settled.
So it was that I asked some friends on Facebook, “How’s marriage different from a long term relationship?”
As more straight couples are opting for simple cohabitation over marriage, the worth that gay people attach to it is prompting me, and perhaps others, to reconsider. Yes, far from depreciating marriage, as some fear, gay marriage has made boring old parochial institution a bit sexy again.
A half-century after Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique awakened us to feminism’s meaning and implications, a tally of what we’ve accomplished, and just how far we have to go.
This is also about men who dominate conversations, men’s preternatural self-confidence versus women’s (whose is hard-won, due to a sometimes self-negating tendency to keep harmony), and of course, those who circumvent and misdirect our ambitions. Men don’t get this. They can hardly be argued out of knowing what they want.
Read the rest here in this month’s Industry magazine.
“Pleasure, success, and duty are never man’s ultimate goals; at best they are means which we assume will take us in the direction of what we really want. What we really want are things which lie on a deeper level. First, we want being. . . , Second, we want to know, to be aware. . . , The third thing men seek is joy. . . Mention any good and man can always imagine a bit more of it and in doing so wish for that more. Medical science has doubled man’s life expectancy, but is man today more ready to die once that expectancy is reached? To state the full truth, then, we must say that what man would really like is infinite being, infinite knowledge, and infinite joy. Disregarding for the moment what he might have to settle for, these are what he would really like. To gather them together in a single word, what man really wants is liberation—complete release from the countless limitations that press so closely upon his present existence.”
The Religions of Man
- Huston Smith
Chinese new year seems more suitable for making resolutions (or setting intentions, in the parlance of our time) than Jan. 1, post-holiday, when we are tired and overfed. In Industry‘s Jan/Feb issue (and its first Brooklyn edition!), I try to sort out how change actually happens.
The new year is a time for turning over a new leaf, they say. We all know how that goes, though. Some years are better than others. In real time, the future is a promise and the past a memory. Around this time of year, we do have a moment’s pause, a sense of the last year being over and the next not quite here. This moment in between may last only a day or two, as we scramble to tease the disparate strands of experience, integrating them into a larger story, “My Life,” (with chapters “My Love Life” and “My Career”) and reorient ourselves. Then, the portal closes up, and we are left in the middle again to muddle through.
Read the rest here: The New Girl: On the Thrill and Terror of a New Year
My latest column for Industry Nov/Dec. 2012 issue:
Red Flags …and all the things we’re worried about in relationships that are really not that big of a deal
Maybe the writers of these one-size-fits-all relationship articles are trying to be helpful, but they are little better than hucksters selling us a panacea, that holy grail of the “right relationship.” We chase apocryphal fantasies, that outlier couple who knew each other only a short time before getting married, and who are happy thirty years later. But these ideas have little personal meaning for us. We haven’t earned those insights. As much as we’d like to be able to make rational decisions based on unbiased observations, relationships and our perceptions of them are pretty much the opposite of that: they are emotional, partial, and incomplete, and our love flows from some intangible source while our knowledge lags behind.
My latest Industry article Cosmo Grrl …On sex icon Helen Gurley Brown’s passing, finding mojo in print, and some advice on writing relationship articles.
Maybe Cosmo indoctrinated me into lady concerns, or gave me a slight complex about my body, but that HGB took her readers more seriously than did the tween mags on offer was obvious. I might never have shiny hair or wear skirt suits, but I was a Cosmo girl in independence.
Also in this month’s Industry, in my latest relationship column I continue to parse out the things that test relationships, including those that lead to its strengthening as well as dissolution. Ain’t life a bitch that way, sometimes? Can’t always separate the experience.
from the article:
What we fight about, over and over, comes to define the outlines of the relationship, the bigger themes, and the irreconcilable differences. But so often we end up on one end of a binary that seems to offer no middle ground. Yes or no. Hold your ground or give way. You are being selfish, or they are asking too much.