One consequence of this rise in perfectionism, Curran and Hall argue, has been a series of epidemics of serious mental illness. Perfectionism is highly correlated with anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and suicidal thoughts. The constant compulsion to be perfect, and the inevitable impossibility of the task, exacerbate mental-illness symptoms in people who are already vulnerable. Even young people without diagnosable mental illnesses tend to feel bad more often, since heightened other-oriented perfectionism creates a group climate of hostility, suspicion, and dismissiveness — in which the jury is always out on everyone, pending group appraisal — and socially prescribed perfectionism involves an acute recognition of that alienation. In short, the repercussions of rising perfectionism range from emotionally painful to literally deadly.

Under Neoliberalism, You Can Be Your Own Tyrannical Boss

From the “America Causes Mental Illness” files…


I’ll be curious to see how consensus shakes out on Star Trek: Discovery, the first new Trek TV series since Enterprise. In the hours since the season-one finale ended…I’ve seen mostly expressions of disappointment or outright hostility, mingled with affection for certain characters, moments, and episodes.

This baffles me. To paraphrase what people tell me every time they disagree with one of my reviews, I feel like we saw two different shows. I thought Star Trek: Discovery delivered the strongest first season overall since the original series, which premiered on NBC almost 52 years ago, and that, on evidence of this first run of episodes, it could be one of the all-time greats if it plays its cards right.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Finale Review

With the exception of a smidgen of Kirk Drift, this review is SPOT ON.


Sloan, whose debut novel, Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore explored the future of the printed word, clearly believes the traditionalist and the futurist need not be locked in combat. That may seem a little optimistic, and yet there’s something so unjaded about his story, and so plucky about Lois that I found myself captivated by its tiny dramas despite myself. Perhaps it’s that Californian can-do spirit. Or perhaps it’s just a relief to read a novel about breaking bread rather than broken humans.


[Congress], I need not remind you, is a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order, and of liberty; and it is here – it is here, in this exalted refuge – here, if anywhere, will resistance be made to the storms of political frenzy, and the silent arts of corruption; and if the constitution be destined ever to perish by the sacrilegious hands of the demagogue, or the usurper, which God avert, its expiring agonies will be witnessed on this floor.

Aaron Burr’s Farewell Address To The Senate, 1805

I’m not going to tune in to watch tonight’s expiring agonies. 


So, it doesn’t matter how much we love a thing – if we think what we’re doing is meaningless, if we think what we’re doing is being taken apart in front of us – we will stop doing it, no matter the money being offered.

The Keynote | Liza Palmer

Read Liza’s amazing keynote. Then go buy all of her books. 


Is that it? Are we left with the unanswerable ontological question: “To be, or not to be?” Or, “if philosophy could find it out,” might there not be another moral to draw from the play? A different line of thought is suggested by the deeply enigmatic speech given to the ever-trusty Horatio just before Hamlet is about to fight with Laertes in a conflict that he intuits will cost him his life.

“We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all. Since man, of aught he leaves, knows aught, what is’t to leave betimes? Let be.”

Generations of readers have interpreted these lines in relation to a Christian idea of Providence and linked them to Hamlet’s earlier words, “There is a divinity that shapes our ends.” This might be correct, but perhaps these words can withstand another, slightly more skeptical, gloss.

Our thought here is that a possible response to the question, “To be, or not to be?” is “Let be.” But what might that mean? It is the defiance of augury, or omen, that is most interesting in the preceding passage, the refusal of any ability on our part to predict the future, to foresee the course of events. But if that is true, then the second verse might be intended slightly ironically: “What, you mean, there’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow?” The point might be that if there is any providence at work, then we know nothing of it. Such knowledge is the unique attribute of the divinity of whom we mere mortals can know nothing, rough-hew him or her how we will. Knowing nothing, letting be, means for Hamlet that “the readiness is all.”


It’s truly an odd experience to look back at Homestar Runner from the lens of today’s app-dominant internet world in which social media is essential to building and retaining an audience. The site is still running on the all but obsolete Flash, a format that went from cutting edge to nostalgic in the site’s ten-year run. (Flash is largely not viewable on most smartphones and tablets, which comprises more than half of people’s digital media time today.) And as the internet operates at an increasingly breakneck speed, it’s hard to imagine that a site that updates only once a week would have the power to hold the fleeting attention spans of modern users. To operate today, the Chapmans would have to add social media platforms to their duties—Twitter accounts for each character, daily Facebook dispatches, Vine memes, etc.

“It would have to be on all that stuff—an amalgamation of Vine and Twitter and Instagram and YouTube. It’d have to live in all those places simultaneously,” says Mike. “You used to be able to come to the Homestar website and spend ten or 15 minutes there if you hadn’t been in a while, but now, I don’t think people would have the attention span to do it. Careers are born and fizzle out in a week on YouTube now.”


Some authors try to recreate Austen’s prose, which usually falls flat if you’re looking for Austen. But I don’t think you should look for Austen. The continuations make the case for adaptation and imitation as a different mode of writing,” says Kathleen James-Cavan, an Austen expert based at the University of Saskatchewan.

James-Cavan recently delivered a paper at a Sanditon conference hosted by Cambridge University. Her topic was Welcome to Sanditon – a vlog spin-off of the Emmy-winning web series The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, in which Georgiana Darcy replaces Charlotte and is tasked with beta-testing a new social media app on the residents of Sanditon. Though the vlog lasted just three short months in 2013, it got very meta. “I thought it was rather lovely the way art meets life there. What interested me is the satire of entrepreneurship, in the original and 200 years later,” says James-Cavan. What would Austen herself have made of it? “I think she would have had a hoot and then asked for royalties, rightly so.”


Then, slowly, it began. It was so tiny at first that I thought I was imagining it. My left shoulder started to jump. It was minuscule, like I was doing the smallest mouse dance possible to a continuous beat. I laughed a little at it. Then, the shrugging began. My shoulder leaped up to my ear, stayed there locked for a few seconds, then rolled back intensely, the muscles in my upper back seizing and flexing. Ingrid reminded me that the first priority was not to appear high-maintenance, so I waved it off and naturally … got in my car. To get on the highway.

There, in standstill traffic on the 405, my entire upper body began to dance. A continuous violent spasm shot from my left hand up my arm, across my shoulders, down the right arm, and back again. It sent me jerking forward and body rolling backward, like Elaine Benes on a dance floor in Hades. I could not stop what was happening. It was terrifying. I was saying “You’re OK, it’s OK, shh shh shh la la la” like a self-demon-doula, then Crags laughed for a while, and then it was very quiet. I tilted the mirror on myself. The spasms yanked me against the seatbelt so hard that it left a deep red line across my neck.