Author Archives: Emily Saidel

Cynthia Nixon: Gay Is A Choice

EMILY SAIDEL: That the idea of choice and sexuality would raise hackles is not a surprise. What is surprising is that the gay activist community would be so quick to scold someone for telling her personal story. Cynthia Nixon never suggests that sexual preference is a choice for all people; she simple describes her own progression from preferring men to preferring women.

CHRIS PUMMER: I agree that activists shouldn’t scold anyone for their personal choices, but I also sympathize with the position of some that Nixon is clouding the picture by talking about it at all. Continue reading

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More Vital Skill: Making Coffee vs. Using Excel

EMILY SAIDEL: A good night’s sleep can usually balance the need for coffee. But the ability to mail merge or to perform a regression. Priceless.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I take strong exception to the idea that Excel skills are more important than knowing how to make coffee. Continue reading

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Should Parents Lose Children Over Obesity?

HOWARD MEGDAL: Let’s consider this: if a parent procures marijuana for a child, and lets him/her smoke it in the home, that parent stands a damn good chance of losing custody, right? Now, what are the relative health risks of doing that a few times relative to consistently providing a child with food that leads to extreme obesity? Significantly worse on the food side. And after all, the drug laws are aimed to protect the citizens from the scourge of drug laws, right?
EMILY SAIDEL: his is not a case of big bad government wanting to interfere with parenting. This is an example of the government acknowledging that just having sex and carrying a baby term does not make one a successful, smart parent. But in this situation the government is not demanding of people to be successful, smart parents. They are demanding people to be parents who do not allow medical harm to come to their children.

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Moving

EMILY SAIDEL: Unfettered or unsettled? Those were the emotional poles between which I vacillated while selling off furniture to facilitate a cross-country move. Continue reading

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In Briefs: A Baby Story

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: There are nine hundred giant flat-screen televisions at my gym, and most of them seem to be on TLC. Can anyone explain to me the appeal of shows that follow a couple through their pregnancy to the birth of their baby and then the first few weeks after that? It’s like a boring home movie of someone I don’t know. What the helly hell?

CHRIS PUMMER: Been there. Done that shit. Twice now. I’m finished with it now, thanks.
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Music and Messages

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The other day on my way to work I found myself listening—and I mean really listening—to the lyrics of Katy Perry’s newest hit single, “E.T”.

EMILY SAIDEL: Katy Perry’s hit song “E.T.” (featuring Kanye West) has been in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 14 weeks. While there is a lot to be said about the lyrics–sexually fetishing “the other”, a female voice asking to be a victim–I am far more fascinated by the music video, particularly when contrasted with Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends.” Both pop stars are dealing in apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic visual images, potentially weighty images for dance songs in difficult economic times. However, each deftly avoids delving into the consequences of the destruction of civilization by concentrating on sexuality. Continue reading

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New York Times Digital Subscriptions

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely worship the New York Times. I adore the New York Times. Around 30% of the sentences that come out of my mouth begin with the phrase, “Did you see that article in the Times…?” As a New Yorker who currently lives in North Carolina, reading the New York Times reminds me of home. Not only that, but I have long felt guilty for spending many hours each weekend perusing the Times Online. “Why is this free?” I’ve moaned, to many a friend. “I feel like I’m taking advantage of them! This is top-notch, well-researched journalism. I love their columnists. Their website is fabulously well-laid-out and easy to use. I would PAY to read this newspaper online! They should be charging!”

EMILY SAIDEL:There has been a lot of discussion on the web about the New York Times’ imminent paywall. Pros, cons, and commentary abounds. Much of the con falls into two categories 1) that paywalls are anathema to the democratic spirit of the internet 2) that the pricing is too high. This second point is the far more interesting one to me. Continue reading

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Oscar Hosts

NAVA BRAHE: As someone old enough to remember Johnny Carson as an Oscar host, here’s what I propose: Exhume his body, extract some DNA, get a sample from Billy Crystal, Jon Stewart and Ricky Gervais, throw them all into a Petri dish and see what happens. Of course, that’s improbability bordering on lunacy, but all the same, that’s what I got. In a perfect world, the Oscars would go down like this: red carpet parade (presided over by Joan Rivers, of course), the reading off of the award recipients, then the parties. That’s really all you need.

ZOË RICE: Who’s with you, Jon Chattman of the Huffington Post? I’m with you! I’m so with you. Justin Timberlake would be the awesomest Oscar host ever. Hear that, hyperbole haters? Awesomest of all time. Continue reading

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Cultural Influence of Gender

ZOË RICE: Despite being a Manhattan-based woman with a full social calendar, I am not an “ista.” I enjoy clothes, but I am not a fashionista. I like a bargain, but I’m not a frugalista. And I have some style,…

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In Briefs: Undergraduate Education

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: People go to school and take out enormous loans, banking on having a high-paying job in the future, and then the gamble doesn’t pay off. It seems like education has always been thought of as something that will pay for itself and will never go down in value (like houses), but we’re seeing some ugly scenarios that say otherwise.

CHRIS PUMMER: If I had graduated high school in 2008 instead of 1998, I might not have been able to afford college. And from a pure what-I-learned-for-what-I-paid, I might not be worse off for it. Continue reading

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