Whole Foods Is An American Temple Of Pseudoscience

Whole Foods

The Article: Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience by Michael Schulson in The Daily Beast.

The Text: If you want to write about spiritually-motivated pseudoscience in America, you head to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It’s like a Law of Journalism. The museum has inspired hundreds of book chapters and articles (some of them, admittedly, mine) since it opened up in 2007. The place is like media magnet. And our nation’s liberal, coastal journalists are so many piles of iron fillings.

But you don’t have to schlep all the way to Kentucky in order to visit America’s greatest shrine to pseudoscience. In fact, that shrine is a 15-minute trip away from most American urbanites.

I’m talking, of course, about Whole Foods Market. From the probiotics aisle to the vaguely ridiculous Organic Integrity outreach effort (more on that later), Whole Foods has all the ingredients necessary to give Richard Dawkins nightmares. And if you want a sense of how weird, and how fraught, the relationship between science, politics, and commerce is in our modern world, then there’s really no better place to go. Because anti-science isn’t just a religious, conservative phenomenon—and the way in which it crosses cultural lines can tell us a lot about why places like the Creation Museum inspire so much rage, while places like Whole Foods don’t.

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The Tragedy Of Venezuela

Venezuela Protests

The Article: The Tragedy Of Venezuela by Moisés Naím in The Atlantic.

The Text: “Even in tragedy, Latin America can’t compete,” a cynical friend told me. He was referring to the fact that the region’s poverty is not as grim as Africa’s, armed conflicts not as threatening as Asia’s, and terrorists not as suicidal as the Middle East’s. The problems in Latin America are often overshadowed by those in the rest of the world. Elsewhere, tragedies are more serious and more likely to spill over into other countries.

The shocking images of repression in the streets of Caracas are at a disadvantage when compared with the scenes in Kiev, where most international media and political attention is currently focused. The developments in Ukraine are bloodier, the images more startling, and the stories more tragic. Dozens have been killed Ukraine, while thus far 13 lives have been claimed in Venezuela. So much more appears to be at stake in Kiev: European borders, energy security, Russian dominance in the former Soviet Union, and Vladimir Putin’s domestic and international reputation all depend on the outcome of Ukraine’s uprising.

What’s happening in Venezuela, by contrast, seems far less critical. For many, the student protests there are just one more episode in the protracted confrontation between a pro-poor, anti-American government and a so-called “middle-class” opposition too clumsy and unpopular to win elections. This description of Venezuela’s political conflict is as common as it is inaccurate. In fact, electoral results and most opinion surveys show that half of all Venezuelans are opposed to the government of President Nicolás Maduro. That is why, despite all its well-documented abuses, dirty tricks, and ploys, the government has only managed to eke out marginal electoral victories recently. In 2013, for example, Maduro won the presidential election with a meager 1.5 percent lead over Henrique Capriles, the opposition’s candidate.

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5 Signs America’s Super Rich Are Losing Their Minds

Donald Trump

The Article: by Lynn Stuart Parramore in Salon.

The Text: Is it us, or have America’s ultrawealthy been sounding increasingly unhinged lately? Despite the fact that the wealth of the 1 percent jumped 31 percent from 2009 to 2012 while the other 99 percent of America saw a gain of only 0.4 percent, the rich are very upset, and they need to tell us about it. Maybe it’s all the talk about income inequality that’s gotten them so stirred up. Whatever it is, here are five signs that the zillionaires seem to be losing it.

1. The rich are mouthing off in epic rants.

They’re going on talk shows, writing editorials, bitching and moaning, and taking every opportunity to tell us just how fed up they are.

Wealthy upper-eastsiders in New York are screaming that progressive Mayor de Blasio is punishing them by not plowing their streets of snow. Billionaire Home Depot founder Ken Langone warned Pope Francis that if he doesn’t shut it about income inequality, the charitable contribution spigot will be turned off. Nutcase venture capitalist Thomas Perkins just claimed that there is a war on the rich comparable to the Holocaust and that the wealthy deserve more votes. Bill O’Reilly warned, ”Every affluent person in America is in danger. Every one.” He asks you to pray for them.

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ADHD Does Not Exist

ADHD

The Article: ADHD Does Not Exist by Richard Saul in The New Republic.

The Text: ou might be saying to yourself, okay, ADHD is probably overdiagnosed. And yes, some people who are on a stimulant probably shouldn’t be, like the college student struggling to focus on a boring lecture or the kid who’s fidgeting a bit too much for his teacher’s liking. But how can it be that among the millions of people diagnosed—over 4 percent of adults and 11 percent of children in the U.S.—not one of them actually has ADHD? Because we’ve all encountered someone with severe attention or hyperactivity issues—the boy who is always daydreaming, the girl who gets out of her seat to run around the room while her classmates sit calmly, the woman who consistently asks questions that have just been answered. Surely at least some of these people have ADHD! Actually, not one of them does. Let me be clear: In my view, not a single individual—not even the person who finds it close to impossible to pay attention or sit still—is afflicted by the disorder called ADHD as we define it today.

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Bret Easton Ellis On “Generation Wuss”

Bret Easton Ellis

The Article: BRET EASTON ELLIS SAYS WE’RE ALL A BUNCH OF CRY-BABIES by Nathalie Olah in VICE.

The Text: Bret Easton Ellis has only got to open his mouth for the cry-babies of the world to crawl out and start berating him for being a morally depraved chancer. Back in the 80s and 90s, you could sympathise with people getting offended by his books if they hadn’t spent much time around hedge-fund managers or fashion world dickheads. If they had, they’d realise that American Psycho and Glamorama are in essence works of journalism – dressed up in Valentino and splattered with blood, yes, but documentaries of a certain moment in history all the same. “The six or seven books add up as a sort of autobiography,” he says. “When I look at them I think, ‘Oh, that’s where I was in ’91. That’s where I was in ’88. Okay, I got it.’”

Now he has moved into film, as well as writing screenplays for TV and delivering his own weekly podcast. Which, among other highlights, has featured Kanye West and Marilyn Manson. Yet still he has repeatedly faced accusations of “douchery” from bloggers and a general outcry every time he criticises anything on Twitter.

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