Truth and Consequences

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In the March/April 2014 issue of Industry I look at some of the effects that social media has on our real, actual social lives. Truth and Consequences: How to find a balance between a productive social media/on-line dating identity and an attention-hungry cyberbot.

I really do think social media can alter our experience of ourselves in a social beings, especially when it replaces part or all of our social life. I prefer to use it mostly logistically, i.e. to set up plans, parties, events with friends. Self-consciousness is something I personally am glad I outgrew in my 20s, and its reemergence in the context of my online persona is a bit, well, disturbing. Are we creating strange publicized hybrids of ourselves and a brand? One day maybe we’ll all know what celebrities must feel like, even down to having your (not to mention other people’s) livelihood depend solely on your online popularity.

From the article:

I’ve never really thought of myself as a private person. Ask me a question, the more personal the better. I’ve always erred on the side of too much information. Over the years, though, I’ve learned that many times people prefer to be lied to sweetly, to be let down gently than told the ugly truth. I’m more discerning now about what I share, not only to preserve my privacy but also, the mystery. This goes against the tide of social media and on-line dating–realms in which we are compelled to give more and more information and about ourselves to a more general audience.

Read more here: Truth and Consequences

After writing this I realized that now, when I share something with someone in person, or even on the phone in a one-on-one conversation, it feels very intimate. It’s only in contrast to social media, where everything feels flatter and less risky in a real way. But that’s kind of cool as an unexpected outcome.

The Long Mile: How did a car come to mean so much?

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.47.28 AMFor the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Industry, I contrast two moments in my life: buying my first car and, years later, my potential second.  The Long Mile: What our shifting desires can tell us about where we are on our own journey.

 

 

Recently, I drove a big, smooth, sleek, insulated ride–a Ford crossover called the Edge. My reliable little Corolla was in the shop. Whenever anything happened to it (this time a hit-and-run while it was parked) I thought back to the good old days when I had just three things total to worry about…days when I opened my mail monthly.

…I had to admit that despite its size, its gas mileage, its flashiness, I liked living in the Edge. It was comfortably a level up–sleek, self-announcing, not remotely soccer mommy. It seemed made for me, and it made me want to fill in its promise, whether with children or camping gear and a dog.

Read more here: The Long Mile

How about you? Have you had an experience with a purchase that gained an outsize significance in your life?

Games Worth Playing

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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.

Read more here.

Motion & Heart

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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.

Read the rest here.

Inside Game of Thrones

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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.

Read more here.

Marriage: A New Territory

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.

Keep reading here in the May/June Industry.

Feminist Mystique

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.

 

What Man Wants

“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

The New Girl: How Does Change Happen?

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