That New York Times Magazine's article on the dangers of yoga has made a lot of people mad. It didn’t really make me mad—I do too much yoga to get mad, though I do still sniff disdainfully—but I did want to address why many of the arguments in it are totally lame.
1. The Times' health coverage often gives way to local news-flavored hysteria. You can’t expect the Sort of People Who Tend to Read The Times to freak out about Amber Alerts and Child Molesters. The readership simply isn’t concerned with anything that has no direct effect on them, unless that thing is cool (design), epic in [...]
If you’ve been dating someone for 10 years (!) and you’ve never had sex with anyone else (!), but all of a sudden there’s this guy who you’re kind of infatuated with, and who’s into you, too — oh, and also your boyfriend once cheated on you years ago, but you’ve moved past that — what do you do? Do you cheat on your boyfriend and see what it’s like to sleep with someone else? I mean, I know the obvious answer is “no,” but also what if it’s yes? What if I don’t know anything about sex? What if there’s so much I’m missing!?
Well, so this is [...]
Getting into a PhD program, getting a prestigious residency, getting a book deal, getting married, getting a raise — these things happen. (YAY! GOOD JOB!) But so often, it seems, they happen to people who have no idea how to judge who's an appropriate audience for their understandable joy. The Internet has made it harder to figure out how and with whom to share, we've heard. But one thing even otherwise clever people with otherwise good judgment seem not to have figured out is how not to be obnoxious when their lil' cups overfloweth. So let's talk about it, and figure out handy rules that will help eliminate the [...]
History steers clear of the masturbators. It sidesteps erectile dysfunction and abortions in favor of tidy genealogies whose bustling branches confirm the basically Darwinian principle that, when it comes to sexual habits, those who propagate leave better paper trails. The exceptions aren't exactly razed from the Book of Life, but their contributions are usually buried in cavernous parentheticals and shady marginalia. They don't pop up much in the main text.
Luckily for us, there's the Athenian Mercury, the wildly popular advice column to which many a nameless 17th-century Londoner turned with his or her burning questions. If the Mercury avoided mentioning the unmentionable, it made up for [...]
"Remember, this is her gun, not yours, and the most important thing is her having a pistol that she is extremely comfortable shooting…. As most of you guys know, figuring out what a woman wants is more difficult than trying to get Donald Trump to watch Rosie O’Donnell River Dance naked. Having a-one-size-fits all approach to arming your ladies is not wise. Let them report. Let them decide."
I'm an advice column junkie. I've never submitted a question but I read them obsessively. I also enjoy eavesdropping in the comments sections below as "Willow07" and "Jim no avatar" wrangle over the thorny issue of whether the obsessive-compulsive should or should not apologize for reorganizing his mother-in-law's Ladies of the American Revolution tampon collection. And if my reading has taught me anything, it is this: The debate is never really about the tampon collection. It's actually about defining standards we can all agree to when we condemn people and how we prioritize them. This kind of extra-legal self-legislation is—let's be honest—the only form of democracy we can actually [...]