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“I pull up to a dusty Palm Springs conference center whose lawn is littered with people doing aerial yoga and energy healing, not to mention a lady who is literally marching to the beat of her own drum as she flails with a bongo. This is Wellspring, a mindfulness festival from Wanderlust (a company in the business of self-actualization events). Wellspring has everything you could want from a “wellness gathering”—free CBD massage, sound baths, a machine emitting blue Back to the Future-like currents that supposedly electrocute your chakras into alignment, flower crowns, meditation intensives, and, of course, Russell Brand. It’s the Coachella of natural highs.
I’m wearing typical conference gear—a nice dress, jewelry, and heels—which is all wrong. I’m the only one not in yoga pants. (Side note: I’ve never seen so many flawless backsides in one place.) For a crowd that values diversity and individuality, they all seem to be pulling from the exact same shelf—it looks like a his-and-hers Lululemon ad.
I part the sea of tanned, chaturanga-chiseled arms and dodge inquiring looks at my attire. Call it jealousy if you will, but I find the perfection radiating out of every pore in this place kind of gut-churning.
Right away I happen upon a meditation circle. For years Hollywood’s depiction of a meditation teacher was an old Asian master with a long white beard at the top of a mountain. The leader of this circle is as far from that guy as you can get. She’s young, blond, gorgeous and knows it. Her history with meditation is shorter than the Bird scooter fad. After reading to us about how today’s alignment of stars might affect our practice, she begins telling us that she wasn’t the nicest in high school. As she goes on, I get the sense that’s an understatement and we’re dealing with a reformed Regina George from Mean Girls. She says she was that way until she was about 19, which, so far as I can tell, was five minutes ago. She leads a mantra meditation, spending the full 15 minutes with a hand over her heart, head tilted dreamily to the side, whispering, “May I forgive myself” over and over again. We all do the same mantra, bringing to mind our own misdeeds—may I forgive myself for not packing yoga pants?—as the kind of music they have at Chinese foot-rub places tinkles in the background.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Let’s hope the February meeting does not occur. Trump had been successful through the middle of May of last year when he was pressuring—but not talking to—the North Koreans."
"...taking seriously Dr. King’s critique of Northern liberalism means also calling out liberal public officials and residents who profess commitments to equality yet maintain a corrupt criminal justice system and a segregated school system."
"There are now three “states” involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Israel. Any attempt to move the peace process forward must account for this reality."
"In director Chris Smith's new Netflix documentary, Fyre – about the "elephant of a clusterf--k" that Fyre Festival actually became – we see footage of tech entrepreneur and Fyre founder Billy McFarland telling a bunch of the world's biggest supermo"
"The government shutdown flooded folks with fear. Yet it shouldn’t. The aftermath of shutdowns is also great, with U.S. stocks averaging 12.8 percent in the next 12 months."
"Channel surfing feels futile, if not obsolete. TV is no longer a remote-controlled menu to peruse as much as it’s a Tube Goldberg machine carrying our eyes from one diversion to the next."
"Natalie Wynn, the creator of the comico-philosophical YouTube channel ContraPoints, wanted to make a video that was both more trenchant and entertaining than the others. "
"Fukuyama’s new book does contain a thesis. As it happens, the new idea stands in the sharpest possible contrast to the older one. Liberal democracy, far from showing us a glimpse of a universalist future, now, we are told, faces a severe crisis. "
"...the FDA's newfound sense of urgency regarding teen e-cigarette use is overdue. Beyond the nicotine in e-cigarettes, there are other less well-understood chemical threats like diacetyl..."
"Vegetable-themed snacks like cauliflower puffs and Peatos aren’t traditional potato chips, but they’re not not chips, either."
"Homo erectus was in the news over 2018 thanks to new discoveries in the Philippines and China, which have transformed our understanding of this not too distant family member."
"I am Jewish and queer. But neither of these identities managed to make an impact on the co-chairs of the Women’s March as I begged them, again and again, to take my pain seriously."