from the world's big
Why Great Television Is More Like A Novel Than A Play
Why do we still watch plays by Euripides, born some 2,500 years ago, or Shakespeare, who is nearly 450 years old? Writer orthodoxy says it's because the fundamental rules for drama have never changed, as they are rooted in human nature. Those rules make the characters in a play or film or television show intelligible and interesting. And they are, to my eye anyway, rationalist rules: Characters are supposed to have desires and traits that are consistent from scene to scene, and these desires and traits cause them to act consistently. However wild a scene's emotions, the tick-tick-tick of its actions (she said that causing him to say that causing her to do that) is strictly logical. And maybe this is the only way that engaging drama can be made. But lately I am not so sure. I wonder if there aren't other ways to write characters. In the near future when we have post-rational politics, economics and medicine, maybe we'll have post-rational dramaturgy too.
Already, today's long-arc television dramas are violating the classic rules in order to present a less intelligible world that happens to feel closer to real life than anything we've seen before. For an Exhibit A, I'd point to Mad Men, whose fifth season ends tonight. Consider a scene in one of its best episodes: As Don Draper strides toward his office, his secretary gives him a message: "Stephanie called from California, no last name, she says it's urgent." Don (and we) know this is news about his dying ex-wife, who may well be the only person he ever loved.
Here's what would happen in most exemplars of what I'm calling a logical play or movie or TV show: We'd see Don pick up the phone, so that the tick-tick-tick of cause and effect could continue. If, instead, he didn't make the call, we'd see him tussle with himself, or with someone else, about the decision.
Here's what happens in the episode: Don doesn't make the call. He looks at the phone, but his mind wanders. Then distractions come flying in. Then he goes looking for them. He wants to call—this is the most important person in his life—but … he doesn't. Because he also doesn't want to. In the place of cause-and-effect and onward action, we get inconsistency, anxiety and evasion.
This is just one of many moments when Mad Men creates a shock of recognition entwined with surprise—that feeling of, yes, that's what it's like, yet I've never seen this represented before.What Don does, his cloudy, inexplicable procrastination, is something that happens in the lived lives of real people. But I, for one, had never seen this sort of true-to-life muddle represented on a screen.
That level of ambivalence and ambiguity and uncertainty once lived only in novels, whose form allowed the reader to inhabit the mind of a character, and so be privy to the push and pull of contradictory and even random thoughts—all that we hide and simplify to show ourselves to other people. But drama is supposed to be about conflict, and conflict requires consistent and understandable characters: People as they're seen by others, not as they experience themselves.
Mad Men in particular and contemporary TV in general often break this law. Hence, these days, we keep seeing moments in these shows that have never happened on screen before, though they happen in real life all the time: Moments of solitude, when the self is unmoored from its public face, and people do the things they would edit out of any story they'd tell about ourselves. Betty leaning into her washing machine to steady it and suddenly finding herself using it to masturbate; Henry Francis putting his car into the wrong gear so he can pettily, childishly, un-Francisly smash boxes that belong to his ex-wife's husband; Peggy looking into the mirror and singing "Bye Bye, Birdie," trying on an Ann Margret face no one else will ever see.
Why has it recently become possible to run a drama like a novel, and render people as they really feel themselves to be—not hard-edged and defined, but murky even to themselves? Form is the most obvious reason. Shows that tell a single multithreaded story over a whole season can behave like novels, where stage plays and movies and self-contained TV hours don't have the scope. I wonder though if digital culture also plays a role: The 21st century audience is used to seeing ourselves and our friends in bit-by-bit updates, with all the inconsistency, waffling and random behavior that they record.
I sometimes think too that the past 20 years of social-science news may have helped give writers permission to represent people as less consistent or coherent. Perhaps those ideas have been in the air long enough that they've attained the ultimate measure of success for any theory—to have become something "everybody knows." In any event, enough viewers seem to have absorbed that personality is a rambling cloud of contradictions, not a chiseled statue. And that they want an art that shows life as its lived, even on television.
Shakespearean post-script: In wondering whether the rules of drama could be rewritten, I'm not suggesting that what's new is an improvement on what's old. This is literature, not software, and v. 2.0 isn't necessarily and advance—it's just different and of its time. The greats of the past, though, will always be great. As I discuss here, in connection with Epic Theatre Ensemble's recent production of Macbeth.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.