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Dems are giving Elizabeth Warren a pass on her Native American insult – New York Post

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Elizabeth Warren is a career hustler who has tried on many personas: lawyer, writer of dopey self-help books (The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan), Lou Dobbs-style economic populist, consumer activist and, infamously, she spent part of her academic career pretending to be a Cherokee, making the milky Oklahoman quite possibly the palest person ever to be passed off to Harvard Law as a woman of color.

In an era of sensibilities so exquisitely refined that a clumsily deployed pronoun will have progressives pointing and shrieking like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Warren gets a pass on the intellectual equivalent of wearing blackface for decades. Why?

For one thing, shes a rich white woman in a party run by rich white women. That cant hurt.

Progressives are not especially eager to engage in an uncomfortable discussion about the intersection between identity politics and privilege vis--vis rich white liberals like Warren or progressive darling Robert Francis ORourke, the Anglo scion of a powerful Texas political family who affects a Hispanic nickname that resonates helpfully in El Paso. Progressives will forgive a great deal if you have the right politics: Bill Clinton was the Harvey Weinstein of US presidents, but Democrats protected him.

Warrens stitched-up identity is a little raggedy around the edges the Cherokee fakery, the false story about losing a teaching job to sexist discrimination against pregnant women but she isnt the only one in the Democratic field with loose threads that might be tugged at. If Warren isnt getting called out on her identity-fudging, it may be because there isnt anybody in the Democratic field comfortable pointing the finger.

The affirmative-action programs that were designed to benefit the oppressed descendants of American slaves have disproportionately benefited relatively well-off people. The greatest beneficiaries by far have been college-educated women such as Warren. The Democratic Party presents itself as the champion of the poor, the black and the brown, but institutionally it is dominated by rich white women such as Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein. Its policies and priorities reflect that.

You might think that an actual woman of color in the Democratic presidential race would say something about Warrens shenanigans. But these identity questions get complicated. The people of color who are most prominent among contemporary Democrats are figures such as Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist and a white hippie from Wichita, and Kamala Harris, the daughter of an Indian cancer researcher and a Jamaican economics professor at Stanford. Harris leans pretty heavily on identity politics Kamala Harris is campaigning like she knows Black History Month is coming up, Aaron Ross Coleman wrote in The Nation but her life and her story are in many ways disconnected from those of the African Americans for whom she offers up herself as a tribune. She may not be entirely comfortable poking Warren on authenticity, whatever that word might actually mean in the context of something as comprehensively phony as a Democratic presidential primary.

The left wants to like Warren. Shes a respectable version of Bernie Sanders no less vicious, but presentable and Democrats seem to believe that she has a good chance of beating Donald Trump. Trump loves teasing Warren about her Cherokee nonsense, and no Democrat wants to echo President Trump even when hes right. So theyll pretend not to notice as Warren quietly deletes an old tweet about the DNA test that she once offered as evidence of her Cherokee ancestry, as she just has.

Sanders doesnt have the heart to go after Warrens fabrications. Harris apparently wont do it. Poco ORourke isnt up to the task. Native Americans are an important constituency, but apparently there is no one in the Democratic Party willing to take a stand on the insult that Elizabeth Warren has offered them.

Kevin D. Williamson is the author of The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics, out now.

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Dems are giving Elizabeth Warren a pass on her Native American insult - New York Post

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Taking Care of Yourself and Your Loved One – Pulmonary Fibrosis News

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I have spent a lot of time writing about self-care and mental health as a caregiver. Even if the term self-care sounds silly to you, I recommend dedicating time every day to your mental health. If for no other reason than to help prevent caregiver burnout.

Another reason to incorporate self-care into your routine, especially if your loved one is hospitalized, is so that you also have enough energy to support their mental health.

As someone who has never had a chronic illness, I cant know what kind of strain it puts on your mind. However, I have seen chronic and terminal illness up close in several family members in recent years. I also have had a severe injury that turned my world upside down and took away my independence and mobility. I can empathize with the mental strain of an unwell, uncooperative body.

Its no surprise that failing lungs come with a huge emotional cost. I watched my mom go through loss after loss when she was sick with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Her independence, her mobility, and nearly everything normal about her life were taken away.

When she was hospitalized in January, it was a shock. We had been in Hawaii a month earlier, snorkeling and walking in the rainforest. We had just started planning my wedding reception. The drastic change in her health didnt seem possible.

Amid fighting for every breath and being at the will of more than a dozen doctors, my mom finally had to rumble with the potential outcomes of this disease. We all did. But she alone was battling to stay alive, which meant the rest of us had to help save her in any way we could.

Self-care did not eradicate my stress or negative feelings. But it did allow me to have an emotional well from which I could pull strength and love to give to my mom. Perhaps my ways of supporting my loved one will spark ideas if you are supporting someone with a chronic illness.

This was especially important when my mom was in the ICU and was being touched by many people in invasive or painful ways.

I gave her foot rubs, which helped her relax and relieved the swelling in her feet. They became a kind of nightly ritual. We would talk I read her lips since she had a trach or enjoy the quiet of a rare moment without an alarm going off.

I gave her a manicure and pedicure. My moms nails were another reminder of her failing lungs. She had clubbing, and the nail beds looked too pale without enough oxygen. I bought the brightest, most obnoxious shade of pink I could find. It was called punk rock pink. I wanted something that would brighten up the room. The neon shade was a hit with the nurses!

Some of our goals were things she could achieve in the hospital, such as:

We also talked about the little things we looked forward to doing after her transplant. Talking as if the transplant was a certainty was both dangerous and necessary. We needed to believe that she would have a successful transplant. Those things gave us a future to fight for in harder moments. Im going to get out and drink a lemonade! was a little one. A bigger goal was to go wedding dress shopping.

There is a lot you can do in the hospital to pass the time. When my mom had the energy, we played scrabble, colored pages from a flower coloring book, or she read. My aunt Shari brought collage supplies and they made cards.

Aside from being fun, art projects and coloring pages can be used to decorate the room. Artwork was taped almost floor to ceiling in my moms room by the time she had her transplant.

Doing things with my mom kept her spirits up and her mind active. She maintained a positive attitude throughout her three months in the ICU and one month in a cardiac unit after transplant.

And there are many sweet memories mixed in with the painful ones.

***

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

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Cat Marnell Is Lonely All The Time, But Still Has A Lot To Say – Refinery29

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Photo courtesy of Audible.

In order to talk about 2019 Cat Marnell, one needs to understand the past iterations of Cat Marnell.

Theres 2012 Cat, who snorted bath salts to avoid writing a story for the now-defunct XoJane.com, where she was a popular and controversial beauty director. She was known for incorporating her party lifestyle (as documented in her Vice column Amphetamine Logic) into her health and beauty coverage. Theres 2013 Cat, who signed an impressive six-figure book deal to tell her one-of-a-kind story about being a blonde media darling with an out-of-control drug habit (her description). Before that, there was Cat the Intern at Nylon, Teen Vogue, and Glamour. By 2017, Cat Marnell had become a New York Times best-selling author.

And then her life fell apart again.

Marnell embraces all these past versions of herself each with her own demons in her new Audible original, Self-Tanner for the Soul: How I Ran Away to Europe and Found My Inner Glow (When Life Got Dark), out now.

Im an idiot, Marnell says almost immediately when I call her to talk about the audiobook part travel diary, part self-help, and entirely her signature rambles. Its an unexpected follow-up to her hilarious and intense memoir, which she refers to as Murder (the aforementioned NYT best-seller How to Murder Your Life). She goes between calling herself an idiot and crazy, frequently during our conversation, as if shes trying to beat everyone else to the punch. At 37, Marnell has had years of practice being self-deprecating, but she also has some life lessons worth sharing. Some are simple (dont bring a suitcase full of just wigs and shoes for a backpacking trip across Europe), while others are profound (be a fountain, not a drain of your own happiness).

Told over the course of five chapters, Marnells new project documents her summer in Europe following a complete and total mental breakdown after the release of Murder. She flooded, and totally ruined, her Chinatown apartment in an event she described as a beauty Chernobyl. Left with scars, burns, and practically no hair (Marnell never specifically describes what happened in that apartment, but still sticks to wigs), she escapes to Europe to solve her problems. And it kind of works. For over 100 days, Marnell travels solo from Croatia to Germany to England to Romania to Italy to Poland and beyond. Shes following her favorite artist Pete Doherty (she even once followed his path all the way to a fancy rehab facility in Thailand), and indulging in heavy pours of white wine while avoiding real life a graffiti artist ex-boyfriend, her agent, sobriety, responsibility. The result is an immersive storytelling experience full of Adderall, loneliness, and something Marnell calls wizard walks, narrated by one of the most polarizing and recognizable writers born of the Internet.

But that was more than two years ago. 2019 Cat is good. Shes back in New York staying in an Airbnb (temporarily), and she says shes weaned herself off Adderall. She says shes not sober, but shes trying to get shit done. She has bills to pay and stories to tell.

Refinery29: Where are you right now?

Cat Marnell: I am on a stoop on North 5th St. in Williamsburg, looking at a bulldozer.

How long have you been back in New York?

Ive been back, on-and-off, all month. It is very annoying because it is Airbnb for me now, which is very hard to do in New York. Once you travel in Europe, youre like, Its no wonder that people dont come here. When youre overseas you find that people dont come to New York. They all want to, but they cant fucking afford it.

Who approached whom for this collaboration?

I met with Audible the spring after How To Murder Your Life came out. It was the one meeting I took as I was actually having a complete fucking mental breakdown and snapping. I showed up at the bar with a rainbow wig, and I met with this guy Andrew (Eisenman) from Audible shout him out! Love him and I found out that Audible, which I didnt know that much about because I was writing my book and also in a drug haze, wanted original content from published authors. I thought it was pretty modern. What I originally thought of when my agent sent through that request, because I usually just say no to everything how sad is that? was Howard Stern working with satellite [radio]. I know it is completely different, but I really admire Howard Stern. I just liked the idea of doing something new. I just wanted to switch it up.

One of the ideas that we settled on was self-help. Like I said I was going through a bad time, and I just wanted to ditch New York. I bought The Andy Cohen Diaries on the way at the airport, [and] I read it on the plane over there and was enjoying it so much I was like, Okay Im going to keep a diary and see if I can sell it. And then I did. I actually sold it to Audible while I was in Europe.

Im sure you had enough within just two weeks for them to publish.

Oh yeah, I always do more than I have to. Im an idiot. Like when my book was turned in, it was way longer than they wanted. I turned in, initially, 800 pages. They cut it down to 300. I basically wrote two books. Im an idiot.

Did this make you look at your voice in a different way? Have you listened to it?

Because Im so tired all the time, it was definitely a flattened version of me, but thats fine...I felt like this kept it very real, because I was exhausted. Because I wrote it on the train [while traveling], it kept me going. I am someone who gets depressed and gets nostalgic. I was in bed my whole fucking 20s, you know what I mean? I would give myself 20 minutes of staring out the window [of a train], and then I would pull out the computer. Thats when I would write. I was always fucking exhausted when I was writing it, but it was real.

"I just didnt want the book to be all about drugs. Getting off of that stuff has made me so much happier."

- Cat marnell

How did you gather your source material?

I just love diaries. I just want to keep writing diaries. Id rather read that than anything from other people right now. Its just more real. Our guess our brains have changed, and we cant read elevated stuff. Or maybe thats just me.

Do you consider yourself an influencer at all?

Im a bad influencer. Im proud to say. Whether Im sorting bath salts or escaping, whenever I hear the word influencer, I think bad influencer, you know? I never worried about recommending PCP to anyone because I always knew they wouldnt know where to find it! I only knew where to find it because I was a fucking scumbag. I do not have the hustle to [be an influencer]. That is the worst thing about my life. I look at them, and they get their hotel rooms [for free]. I always intend to do that, and do, like, an initial email. Even getting the free train ticket to EuroRail, I sent an initial email, and then I never followed up. Its just not me! I always just pay for it. I would be in the worst place if it meant I didnt have to talk to anyone.

How would you describe your travel style?

I guess, in a negative way, I am an adult child. That is what responsible people would say about me. Other people would be like Oh, shes so free! But I dont need anything. Honestly, sometimes, if there was a safe place to sleep on the street, I would do it.

What are wizard walks?

First of all, I used to take a lot of speed. You dont need that for a wizard walk, though. The whole wizard thing is played out now, but think of a carnival, or a fairground. During the day, it looks like nothing. That is how I am during the day. That is how my brain is during the day. Right now, I look like shit. Im wearing sweatpants and I look sad, just sprawled onto these steps. That is my brain during the day.

But the way carnival rides look lit up at night, my brain is the carnival. [Its] so glowy and awesome at night. That is the wizard thing. Ive always connected with cities at night, the glittering night lights. I look better at night, I feel better at night, and so I take these night walks.

Photo Credit: Cat Marnell.

You can go to the best cities in Europe, and then everything at night is completely empty and its all lit and glowy and enchanting. Nothing is enchanting during the day its just not. Its sunny, and its pretty, but enchantment is only at night. Even a string of fucking Canal St. bulbs just strung up, or LED lights thats my speed. In Europe, everything is a fucking castle well technically its a fortress, but in your American brain youre like, Thats a castle!. Its all glowing in the distance, and you put on electronic music and just wander over there. Its awesome. Im crazy, though, Im crazy. You get the energy. It charges your brain for real. Night walks are my thing.

Is How To Murder Your Life still being adapted into a TV series?

Its going to be a limited series with Sony TriStar. I can tell you that it will have the showrunner Esta Spalding, who is the showrunner for the Kristen Dunst God thing [On Becoming a God in Central Florida]. My co-writer is Jessica Caldwell, who has worked on Billions. I love them. I am very excited. I am involved, not because I want to make it accurate about me, but because I want to want it awesome. I want to elevate it. We are creating a fictional world, but I want to come at it from a place of humor and energy some crackling different stuff. Im not a big TV person. I dont watch any TV. I dont have the patience for it because I find it all to be quite hackneyed and clich. The second something is played out Im like, No, I cant watch this. I have cities to walk around in!

A piece about your finances went viral earlier this year. Do you feel like youre in a better place financially now?

Not at all, actually. I backslid. I dont have any money coming in anymore! Well, I do. But the TV show money is so far away. I need to sell a book. Thats what I am going to do. Next month. Im going to fucking Europe again. Its cheaper! All I do in New York is go to the fucking Buffalo Exchange to buy shit I dont need.

Tax extensions are due. Im just piling up fines again. When youve been in tax debt hundreds of thousands of dollars, like I used to be, being in debt $20,000 doesnt feel like anything. Try telling my mom that. Even my storage unit I owe them like $800, and I cant get in. I dont have any of my dresses. I dont have any of my shoes. I cant get in. I am miserable.

Are you still wearing wigs?

Of course, I have to. I cant even get into that. I am trying to get some sort of wig sponsorship, but Im not sure that is going to happen. I wear bad ones, too...I dont know how to do anything. I can barely keep up with my email. I cant hustle for anything. I wind up paying for everything. Its annoying.

I am trying to get some sort of wig sponsorship, but Im not sure that is going to happen.

-Cat Marnell

A person whos been in the news a lot recently has talked about how much she looks up to you...

Are you talking about Caroline Calloway? C.C.? Good for her, I hope she flourishes and thrives. I DM with her all the time, and I definitely feel protective of her, as someone who can understand what she is going through in a unique way. The advice I gave her was just to work out through all of this. I said, Caroline, work out. Even if it is just half an hour a day. It is going to keep this entire experience that much more clear for you. That exercise is going to affect the other 23-and-a-half hours in the day in a good way.

I only have two pieces of advice for anyone, ever: travel and work-out. I really do think for her, you have got to snap out of it sometimes. But its intoxicating when it first happens. Hopefully, she seems to be monetizing everything. Its harder than you think to monetize.

People want to hear from you, and her, all the time. They also want to judge.

Everyone hates Kim Kardashian well, I guess they dont anymore but being polarizing has made all these peoples careers. Its annoying that Caroline will try to charge money for things, and people will attack her for that. I really dont see how that is scamming. And also the vitriol. People are negatively obsessed with her. Howard Stern has the same thing where people are obsessed with hate-listening to him, and its almost like hate-fucking. Hopefully she can just make that into something, and I think she will. I like that she is just obsessively creative, because yeah, people are fucking disorganized. Disorganized creative people are a thing.

After this experience, do you have any new cures for loneliness?

Oh, God. Well, you know, I am off Adderall now. Im not sober or anything...But on that trip, I took my supply and just took less and less and less and less, so I was down to crumbs by the end. I just didnt want the book to be all about drugs. Getting off of that stuff has made me so much happier. I dont know why I just bought up drugs

Because going off was your cure for loneliness?

Theres no cure. I am actually lonely all the time, but I realize that is not going to change. It doesnt matter if I become a quote-unquote famous person or anything. If anything, fame has made me more self-protective and weird and withdrawn. I am trying to meet up with people more. Like someone hit me up last time when I was in London, inviting me to dinner. Usually I dont do that stuff, but it turned out being amazing. I made these new friends in London, and I feel like my whole life over there opened up. Now I can actually move there and know people.

People need to be brave. Human connection does not come naturally to me. It has nothing to do with social media this came before all that shit. It just doesnt come naturally to me. I was always surrounded by people like my graffiti writing friends who protected me from the real world. When I was in Europe, I didnt have anyone. You learn to stand on your own. But you have to make an effort. I sound like my dad. [Laughs]

Check out this clip from Self-Tanner for the Soul, below.

Interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call theSAMHSA National Helplineat 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.

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Cat Marnell: New Book & How To Murder Your Life Show

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Cat Marnell Is Lonely All The Time, But Still Has A Lot To Say - Refinery29

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How ‘The 5 Love Languages’ Became the Language of Love We All Know (and Love) – Waypoint

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In college I had a sort-of boyfriend whose affection I wanted very badly. Approximately 75% of our relationship took place in my head. When I came down with a bronchial infection, I saw it as a heaven-sent opportunity for us to finally really connect. Lying on the futon-mattress-on-the-floor which was my bed, I might as well have been rubbing my hands together in anticipation of how he would care for me. Through that care, our love would blossom. I could already taste the chicken soup.

It didnt play out as Id hoped. When I called him and asked, sickly-yet-cutely, if he could bring me some soup, he seemed confused by the request. In fact, he expressed his bewilderment more eloquently than he had ever expressed anything to me before. The symbolic importance of the soup appeared to be completely lost on him. If I was sick wouldnt it be best if he left me alone? Maybe we could hang out again when I was feeling better? I remember feeling humiliated, like Id been stood up on a date.

I diagnosed him as immature, but Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the blockbuster, perennially best-selling relationship advice book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, would probably have read it differently. He would have explained that we were speaking different love languages. I was and remain someone who loves small acts of consideration. Not everyone thinks a plastic container of soup can contain heavy romantic overtones, but I do. Maybe my erstwhile boyfriends love language was something different, like gift giving, or physical touch.

Chapmans Love Languages, first published in 1992, argues that many relationship conflicts can be explained by his theory of romantic miscommunication. (Later editions of the book extended the love languages doctrine to apply to all kinds of relationships, from parents and children to co-workers.) Theres a universal human need to feel loved, he writes in the book. But he takes this platitude further; the premise of his wildly influential life's work is that each of us have a love language that we use to express love, and that this is usually this is the way we want to be shown love, too. Two people in a relationship might express love to each other using different languages, and this would make it hard for them to understand each other. Chapman advises us that figuring out our love language can help us ask for the type of love we need. For the uninitiated, these are: quality time; gift giving; words of affirmation; acts of service; and physical touch. Not sure what your love language is? Just take this easy quiz. Im an acts of service, with a words of affirmation rising.

Many people find this theory and these categories cheesy. The appeal is, shall we say, broad. Describing oneself in terms of a type strikes some people as pretty reductivestupid, even. But the simplicity of the love languages is key to its phenomenal success.

Twenty-seven years after the Love Languages was first published, its influence continues to grow. With almost every consecutive year, the book breaks its previous years sales record. It has now sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into 51 languages, most recently into Arabic for a Saudi Arabian edition. Since its publication, the concept of love languages has seeped into the collective consciousness, to the point that today, as a pop-psychological idea, the term has become ubiquitous, one people even unfamiliar with its origin understand.

In the West we have an affinity for classifying ourselves into types, and the love languages have joined the Myers-Briggs personality test as a go-to romantic rubric, as familiar to many people as the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Theyre constantly referenced in popular advice columns, and on blogs. In the last few months alone the love languages have figured in interpersonal drama on reality shows such as Love Island, Are You the One? and Real Housewives of the Potomac. People riff on the concept constantly, extending the metaphor far beyond its intended, abstract purpose. Wine-making is a love language. Fried cheese is a love language. Baseball pitchers are a love language. Toni Morrison is a love language.

Gary Chapman never planned to be a self-help guru capable of this kind of impact. 80 years old, he has been a pastoral counselor at a Baptist congregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for 48 of those years. His Baptist faith informs his belief in the importance of long-term commitmenthe has been married to Karolyn J. Chapman since they were in their early twentiesbut you dont need to be a Baptist to appreciate his practical approach to making it work. Most of us here on Earth hate feeling vulnerable, and expressing the need to be loved is an exquisitely unpleasant flavor of vulnerability. Its the pulpy center of love-maintenance that we avoid at all cost. Wed rather quit and start fresh with someone new than poke that pulp.

The 5 Love Languages is one of the few popular relationship advice books that shows us a way to maintain a relationship without advising us to turn inward and self-optimize. The love languages function as a clever rhetorical bait-and-switch that allow us to be honest about our needs without opening up the abyss of vulnerability that, unfortunately, exists within all of us. Saying I need more attention from you is painful, but saying my love language is quality time is somehow less so. The love languages might be cheesy, but their most profound wisdom is an underlying truth that Chapman might not have even meant to convey: Asking for love is the worst, he suggests, but we need to do it.

Love, unlike capitalism, doesnt require continuous growth to survive. The economy of love is based on maintenance, not growth, and born capitalists like us Americans would much rather create and grow something new than maintain something that already exists. To be loved, we dont need to keep improving and updating ourselves, coming up with new personality traits and skills with which to surprise and entertain our loved ones. But the hard work of self-improvement is easier for many of us to swallow than the hard work of maintaining a long-term partnership, as exemplified by your commitment-phobic ex or your recently divorced sister.

Westerners believe in the redemptive power of reinvention. We promise ourselves that next time it will be different. This belief is the essence of consumer culture, and its tempting to see relationships in the same way as we see consumer goods: as things that are supposed to make us feel good. Chapman sees through this fallacy because hes a Baptist, but as the success of his book and now brand shows, you dont have to believe in a God to agree with him.

"Practical suggestions" for how to practice the love languages in your life on any given week

The first golden age of self-help literature in the United States came during the 60s and 70s, when books like Thomas A. Harris Im OKYoure OK provided moral support to conventional middle-class Americans who felt unsure of how to navigate the new social and sexual mores that had arisen from the 1960s counterculture.

But by the '90s, many veterans of the counterculture had settled down. Maybe the sexual experimentation of the '70s was exhausting, right down down to The Joy of Sex's very groovy illustrations, because in 1992, two of the best-selling relationship self-help books of all time were published: The 5 Love Languages, and John A. Grays Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Both books are fundamentally conservative; Men Are From Mars argues that men and women have different natures, while the Love Languages is dedicated to making marriages last. (Divorce is scarcely mentioned as an option.)

Men Are From Mars has sold approximately 15 million copies to date, making it the best-selling relationship self-help book of all time. But based as it is on a set of gender stereotypes that many 10-year-olds could handily dismantle in 2019, it hasnt aged well, and as such, its sales have fallen off in recent years.

In a world hell-bent on trying out new stuff until the world ends, whatever the cost, Chapmans vision of accepting each others need to be loved is downright radical.

In contrast, Love Languages continues to pick up speed. During its first year of publication, the book sold about 8,500 copies, far exceeding the expectations of its publisher, Moody, a division of the nonprofit Moody Bible Institute; Love Languages itself is published by their more secular imprint started that same year, Northfield Publishing. The following year, the number doubled. In 2009, sales hit 5 million copies, and Moody relaunched the Love Languages with what they called their most aggressive marketing campaign in a decade. As part of the new campaign, John Hinkley, the director of marketing at Moody at the time, remarked that our goal, our vision is to help reduce the number of divorces. As a nonprofit, Moody uses the books proceeds to fund the Moody Bible Institute, which exists to educate and equip students for Christian ministry.

The books initial success was largely thanks to sales at Christian bookstores, but the relaunch pushed it squarely into the mainstream. In 2011, Elizabeth Hasselbeck may have been a linchpin in the books crossover secular success when she held up her copy of the book on the View, announcing that it had saved her marriage. Two years later, Oprah made its place of honor in our culture official by inviting Chapman onto an episode of Oprahs Lifeclass. (For those wondering, Oprahs love language is words of affirmation.)

Now, the love languages are a full-on brand, with an app called Love Nudge introduced this year that "will help you put the concepts of The 5 Love Languages into action in ways that are easy, obvious, and satisfying," radio programs, and conferences. But getting in touch with Chapman is easier than youd think, considering hes been on the New York Times best-seller list on and off for more than half my lifetime. In the days leading up to our interview, friends eagerly sent me questions they wanted him to answer, mostly to do with his feelings about the rules around physical touch, the love language that some people (myself included) had always understood as a cute euphemism for sex. Are any of the languages more powerful than others? Does Chapman think of them hierarchically?

Over the phone, I found Chapman to be friendly and indulgent, though when questions dont appeal to him, he issues forth a good natured chuckle that means no comment. Talking with him is remarkably similar to reading his book; he speaks with a drawl, and has a folksy, unpretentious manner befitting a man of religion but perhaps not of someone who has risen to the level of success he has.

Chapman studied anthropology in college, and told me hes remained fascinated with cultural nuances. The first foreign edition of Love Languages was in Spanish, and Chapman wasnt sure it would work in a translated edition; it became a best-seller. The success of future foreign editions has reinforced his belief that the need to feel loved is a human universal.

Chapman has published many companion editions to the original book, including a Military Edition, an edition for teens, one for families raising children with special needs, and a book about using the languages in the workplace (theyre languages of appreciation in that context, though). If you take the online quiz to determine your love language, you can sign up for Chapmans weekly newsletter, which comes full of practical tips for integrating love language awareness into your daily life. Is your partner a physical touch person? Try kissing them good morning and goodnight, each day for a week. Before you know it, Chapman reminds us, youll have established a new habit.

Much of the advice seems like common sense, but the newsletters almost always contain a wholesome Easter egg like, If your spouse leaves their laptop open, change the desktop background (if you don't think they'll mind) to a picture of you together. Overlay text on the picture that says, I Love You. (This was offered as a tip for showing love to people whose love language is words of affirmation. In Chapmans world, we have nothing to hideon our laptops or anywhere else.)

Chapman deliberately kept his books Christian message subtle so that more people would read it. (After submitting a manuscript to Moody Press in the 70s that he had been using for his marriage seminars, and initially being rejected, he would publish two much more religiously focused relationship books before the Love Languages took off, Toward a Growing Marriage, and Hope for the Separated.) Some people tell me they didnt know I was a Christian until they got to the end of the book, which is fine, said Chapman. Toward the end of the book, I say something to the effect of, what Ive given you is information. I cant give you motivation, but Ill tell you how I got my motivation. And I have a paragraph about my relationship with God, and how that changed my relationship with people.

The love languages, Chapman maintains, apply to everyone, regardless of religious belief. He admits that many men I know will say, I know my love language! Its physical touch! But Id argue its often more subtle than that. The gender neutrality of the languages means that the book can make sense for same-sex couples, nonbinary peopleanyone. I relate to people who seek my counseling as human beings, he says. So if I can help same sex couples in their relationships, thats good.

Chapmans religious background asserts itself through what it omits rather than what it states.

The world of the love languages is simpler than the world most of us live in. Theres no manipulation, or duplicitousness, or gaslightingjust people trying to fulfill the basic human need to feel loved, or, as Chapman puts it, to fill up their love tanks. Chapmans old-fashioned family-values vibe turns some people off. But its resistance to a vision of perpetual self-improvement makes the book quietly subversive.

Never stop growing, contemporary society implores us. Youre a badass! Be awesome! Be bold and courageous. Go out and claim what you deserve! Meanwhile, Chapmans love languages encourage us to focus our attention and care on what we already have. He may have been compelled to write the book by a Christian belief in the moral victory of long-lasting marriage. But this kind of conservatism can also be understood as oriented towards sustainability rather than waste. In a world hell-bent on trying out new stuff until the world ends, whatever the cost, Chapmans vision of accepting each others need to be loved is downright radical.

The love languages have achieved the status of clinical legitimacy without having been the product of any kind of actual research beyond Chapmans own observations as a church counselor. In 2006, two academic researchers conducted an empirical study to determine whether the love languages model generated consistent results of improved relational maintenance. Although the study wasnt completely conclusive, the researchers did find that using the love languages model led to a close match with improved relationships.

But whether or not theres empirical evidence to back them up, the love languages are a fully integrated part of the American therapeutic landscape, even among therapists who dont necessarily intend to use them.

Ive never read the book, but couples will refer to it in sessions, said Avi Klein, a psychotherapist with a couples therapy practice in Manhattan. Its a vehicle for people to communicate about yourself to someone else. Its a way to ask for what you need. I think people try to use the love languages in a positive way.

All of Chapmans 5 Love Languages mediathe purple-covered book that started it all in 92, the email newsletters, and his many subsequent bookstake for granted that once weve learned our partners love language, we will work hard to learn how to speak it. The underlying assumption is that a little love language elbow grease is all it takes to keep a long-term relationship running smoothly. And, more importantly, Chapman seems to believe that speaking your partners love language can solve almost any problem. You cant make someone want to speak your love language, he said. The best you can do is try to speak theirs, and hope it softens their heart. In most cases this seems reasonableis a little more quality time, or a few more words of affirmation, ever too much to ask?

The book starts to feel a little weaselly when it gets into the love language of physical touch. In a book with religious overtones, physical touch seems like the closest stand-in for the role of sex in a relationship, a way of shying from taking about sex directly but nonetheless highlighting it as important. Sex is much more complex than complimenting and and gift-giving.

But sex, Chapman argues, isnt necessarily part of the love language of physical touch. Lets not equate the love language of physical touch with sexual intercourse, Chapman said when I brought this up. When I meet people who tell me their love language is physical touch, I might ask them, Do non-sexual touches make you feel loved? Let's say your wife takes your hand while youre walking across the parking lot from the car to the mall. Or how about, she puts her hand on your shoulder while shes pouring you a cup of coffee.' If these forms of touch, which are loving but not sexual in nature, dont make you feel lovedthen physical touch is not your love language! People who like sexthats not necessarily their love language.

Chapmans religious background asserts itself through what it omits rather than what it states. Sexual preferences, according to Chapmans worldview, are not necessarily relevant to expressing and receiving love. Coming up with new ways and places to touch can be an exciting challenge, writes Chapman in the chapter on physical touch. If you have not been an under-the-table-toucher, you might find that it will add a spark to your dining out. Chapman goes on from here to suggest all kinds of touching, none of which are the kind that happen in private. It feels a bit like taking a sex ed workshop with Ned Flanders.

Some readers might have to go off-piste from Love Langauges doctrine here, either by considering physical touch inclusive of sex, or by thinking of sex as something that happens as part of other love languages, like quality time or even, lets be honest, acts of service. Its a reasonable extension of the overall philosophy, but Chapman never mentions sex directly in any of these respects. The elision of sex is the books unignorable flaw; how can sex be separate from other expressions of love?

Our sexuality is so bound up with who we are, said Klein. I dont think that most men are particularly connected to their sexuality. People talk about sex as if its an act rather than a form of intimacy and a way of being known...I do think people would be so much better off if there were sexual love languages. So many people would be better off learning about themselves and their sexuality, and how much better would peoples sex lives be if they could like, name a way that they wanted to be related to sexually?

Even third-party experts arent necessarily aligned on where sex fits in. I consider sexual intimacy to be included in the love language of physical touch, said Leslie Bartlett, a licensed clinical professional counselor who works exclusively with couples in Brunswick, Maine. I think we should honor Gary. What he has done is profound. Hes offered a way of looking at couples fundamental misunderstandings in a way that can shine a light and allow these misunderstandings to be softened. And of course theres more! Theres always more, theres always deeper. But he took a beautiful step into a journey that needed to be examined.

While secular people might find the Love Languages subtle Christianity off-putting, a growing minority of devout Christians find it too secular. The evangelical blogosphere in particular contains plenty of polite detractors. Dell Canright, a marriage counselor who runs Christian Counseling in Mansfield, Texas, has found that, sometimes, the love languages can encourage selfishness between couples.

He reminds us that humans have a fundamental need to feel loved, but frames this as an opportunity rather than the reason that all humans stagger through most of life suffering.

I dont think that Dr. Chapman intended this, but the love languages can resonate with our selfish parts. [The book] can encourage couples to say, You know what my needs arewhy wont you give me that? As opposed to learning what kind of love your wife or husband needs. Im not opposed to the idea of the love languagesand I think Dr. Chapmans done a great job of identifying some simple ways that we like to receive love. But I know that most of the clients I meet start out using the love languages in a selfish way as opposed to in a loving way to minister to their spouse.

Canright, also a Baptist, situates Love Languages within an integrationist approach to psychologywhich takes basic tenets of human psychology, and occasionally integrates religious scripture into its practice. Canright himself practices what is known as Biblical counseling, which takes a more fundamentalist approach to applying scripture to everyday life.

The integrationist approach is based on the idea that man is good, and he needs to have good self-esteem to be happy. The Biblical approach to counseling believes that man is Gods enemy. Mans greatest need is to be reconciled to God. Life is not about me. Its about Christ living in me and through me.

Chapmans integrationist approach doesnt hold much appeal to Baptist counselors like Canright, who prefer to use Biblical scripture as a strict guidebook rather than a set of general suggestions. Chapmans influence, however, cant be denied, even by those who disagree with him. Most people wouldnt critique [Chapman], said Canright. Most people wouldnt in any way disparage or think critically about the book because of the reputation that Dr. Chapman has.

Advice sent via the Love Languages email list

The original Love Languageswhich remains by far Chapman's biggest hithas stayed more or less the same since 1992, through numerous reissues. Not much has changed, claimed Chapman, even with prevalence of dating apps. People who meet online, once theyre together, the situation is the same as if you met any other way. You still have a fundamental need to feel loved.

Indeed, Gary Chapman may have written the definitive couples self-help guide of our time; no other book seems to be threatening its dominance in terms of influence and sales. He reminds us that humans have a fundamental need to feel loved, but frames this as an opportunity rather than the reason that all humans stagger through most of life suffering. To feel unloved is to be wretched. To demand love is humiliating. Love itself is often not cute. Chapman diverts our attention away from the wretchedness that we all fear, and the humiliation we all know, and normalizes the act of asking others for things we need.

The love languages stand as a protective barrier between ourselves and the painful reality of our emotional needs. In this way, they transcend their Christian origins. The feeling of being unloved is what drives consumer capitalism; most of us are taught to think that maybe this time, with this new configuration of objects and experiences, things will be different. In suggesting that we look inward for the cause of this hunger, Chapmans as much a Buddhist as he is a Christian.

Say what you will about Chapmans anachronistic wholesomeness or the intellectual poverty of reducing yourself to a type, the love languages have good bones. They encourage us to satisfy our need for love by asking for more lovenot with more adventures, or a more inflated sense of our own holiness, or a different partner, or a remodeled kitchen, or a new hobby. We are stuck with ourselves; our needs dont change much over time. The love languages suggest, gently, that we should stop changing the subject and be honest about what we really want.

Humans as a species are addicted to deluding ourselves. We are desperate for someone to convince us that things are better or easier or sexier than they really arejust ask me in 2003, lying in bed with my bronchial infection and my romantic hallucinations. But the love languages are dedicated to peeling off artifice rather than applying more. They dont trade on our gullibility or our eternal optimism. We cant resist the narcissistic mantras of self-improvement that fill so much of todays self-help literature. But Gary Chapman (and the Moody Bible Institute's tax receipts) would argue that even more than that, we cant resist feeling loved. What a surprisingly heartening thought.

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How 'The 5 Love Languages' Became the Language of Love We All Know (and Love) - Waypoint

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Greensboro’s Robin Britt, the voice on early education, retires – Winston-Salem Journal

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GREENSBORO Robin Britt has nearly cleared his office of any semblance of decades of a life in early childhood education when he starts his final visits to the classrooms at the other end of the building, which takes up a city block.

In a classroom of 4-year-olds, the retiring president and CEO of Guilford Child Development joins their semicircle and asks what their favorite subjects are.

A young girl with braids yells out "science," and a boy across the room "math."

On a table behind them are the pieces of a spaceship they've been making out of papier-mache and plastic cups, that, when assembled, will tower over them. The students, who head to public school and kindergarten next year, are using measurements and numbers as part of this work.

"They don't see limits," Britt will later say.

The 77-year-old, who served in Vietnam and upon graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill was recruited by one of the best law firms in the state before he was elected to Congress nearly a decade later, resisted the possibility of a lucrative career as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

As he worked back home for the children of Guilford County, his ideas caught on elsewhere even landing him on the cover of The Wall Street Journal. Instead of lobbyist, he became a national voice in early childhood education and recognized leader in the war on poverty.

While in office in the 1990s, former Gov. Jim Hunt asked Britt to take on an idea he had about a statewide early childhood education initiative that would make sure children were healthy and ready to learn on the first day of kindergarten.

The Smart Start Initiative would have local controls and strong state support and would go on to win the coveted and high-profile Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University and the Ford Foundation.

"I looked all over the state to pick the person that I thought had the heart, the energy and the commitment to do early childhood education in a different way from any place in the country," Hunt said earlier this week.

"Robin went to work on it like a man possessed," Hunt said. "It was just what he believed in. It worked in the way that I thought things should work. It was some of the best work thats ever been done for our state."

Britt will be honored for those decades of work on Tuesdayduring an Early Childhood Champions Luncheon at the Koury Convention Center with Gov. Roy Cooper among the other honorees.

The Asheville native, who says his work is part of his spiritual journey, understands that his own life could have been very much like that of the children for whom he advocates.

"I think a lot of times your calling is connected to your pain," Britt said.

Both of Britt's parents died when he was 4 and his older sister, who was 22 and working a factory job at the time, took in him and their other brother, who was 10.

"Probably for three years we were living below the poverty line but didn't know it," Britt said.

When his sister later married, they became part of the middle class.

The Morehead Scholar at UNC was drafted after graduation and spent a year as a crew member of the USS Kearsarge before returning to law school.

It was former 6th District Congressman Richardson Preyer who talked Britt, then a lawyer with Smith Moore, into running for office.

Preyer had lost that seat to Gene Johnston, a Republican, as part of the first Ronald Reagan landslide in 1980.

"And I was running for Congress," Britt said.

The young tax lawyer beat Johnston and would serve on the Select Committee on Hunger.

"If you had asked me what percentage of children in the richest country in the history of the world were in poverty, I would have said 3%, 4%, " Britt said.

It was 20% of the children in America higher when you factored in minorities and single female-headed households.

After losing the next election to Howard Coble, Britt could have gone back home to that lucrative law practice where he was a partner or taken a well-tread path as a lobbyist.

Instead, he went back home and founded Project Uplift, a program to help disadvantaged preschoolers that was set up in the basement of a church near the Ray Warren public housing community. The program was chosen early on as one of President George H.W. Bush's 1000 Points of Light.

Britt had hired Angelia Lester Faison away from UNCG, where she was a teacher in the education lab, as the center's director.

He saw a learning gap, but also a services gap in the communities that needed help the most.

"My thought was how is he going to make that happen?" Faison said. "He always used the term 'quality care.' He always used the term 'qualified staff.' He always used the term, 'Children deserve the best.' "

Businessman Mike Weaver, a member of the Project Uplift board, made a donation of $150,000 over five years to encourage others to give. The group also went after public funding as it worked on both those gaps.

Britt entrenched himself in the research to dig deeper about the stress of living in poverty and ways it's magnified, such as domestic violence and neglect. And it fueled his need to be part of the solution.

"All of these things create a toxic stress in our families, which is very venomous for young children," Britt said.

And it has tremendous impact on schools and even the workforce, he said.

"If you're in the woods and you see a bear and your adrenaline starts pumping and your heart is beating fast, that gets you out of there," Britt said.

Others might "live with the bear," he said.

"If you are in this constant state of fear and your adrenaline is constantly running, you lose the ability to control your emotions. There's no thermostat. And what might mildly make you or me uncomfortable in an interchange with a teacher they explode, they don't have control of their emotions.

"And that can lead to dysfunction, dropping out, incarceration," Britt said.

In the classrooms, teachers tried to provide learning opportunities that other children might have.

Once, the children talked about places they had never been but would love to go, like the beach. Britt found a UNCG professor who could create virtual field trips. The children then "went to the beach" and examined the ocean through the images on the oversized screen. And then they made replicas of what they had seen.

The program was an early forerunner to efforts that would catch on decades later on how best to help at-risk and low-income children, which included requiring parents to be involved.

Parents who didn't have jobs could help prepare lunch, lead children's activities or chaperone field trips. Working parents could help with after-school events.

Project Uplift also offered self-help programs for parents through workshops and helping them with training and resources, such as financial literacy courses, at GTCC.

Faison recalls asking Britt why he invited so many people from various organizations into the building.

"I remember saying to him, 'We have so many community people here, was that necessary, Robin?" Faison said. "He would say, Angelia, it's more than bringing them in and their sharing their talents. They are meeting people from public housing. They are learning unity. They are learning that people in public housing have strength."

Hunt, the longest-serving governor in the state's history, would later ask Britt to be secretary for what is now theN.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and later his policy adviser for children, families and nonprofits.

Britt joined Guilford Child Development in 1998 after leaving Raleigh.

Among ideas he put into place is the critically-lauded Guilford County Nurse-Family Partnership.

The program, which has been replicated in 20 states and has drawn national recognition, provides nurse home visitation to low-income, first-time mothers. The nurse educates the mother about the growth and development of her baby and helps her be more self-sufficient.

Early on, officials with the Duke Endowment, one of the nation's largest foundations, worked to expand the program in hopes of making a difference in the lives of more poor children in the Carolinas by garnering longer-term public and other private support.

Rhett Mabry, president of the endowment, recalls going to Raleigh with Britt, who taught him a lesson in patience.

"Robin knew the value of having conversations with policymakers and stakeholders and not expecting immediate change but planting the seed for the long term," Mabry said.

The nurse-family partnerships are now funded by the state and are in both North and South Carolina.

"I think it has enabled thousands of low-income children to get off to a great start so that they can reach their potential," Mabry said.

When the United Way of Greater Greensboro launched a unique 18-month pilot program that focuses on the root causes of poverty in the city, the group chose Britt's Guilford Child Development as lead agency.

Britt, named one of the Top 20 CEOs by The Triad Business Journal, gives a lot of credit to his staff, the teachers in the centers, and the parents for helping children succeed.

"He uses 'I' lightly," Faison said. "He would say 'we' made it happen or 'you' made it happen."

Britt says he feels good about turning over the agency he says remains valuable to the community to Maria Layne-Stevens, the agency's former chief operating officer, who was hired after a national search.

He calls his replacement an excellent manager with vision who is everything the agency needs.

"Some people have vision, but they don't how to make things happen," Britt said. "Some people can make things happen, but without the vision, can make the wrong thing happen. She knows how to make things happen."

He says he plans to follow advice retirees swear by, which is not to make too many commitments right away.

He does plan to spend more time with his six grandchildren.

"I'll still be around," he said.

Robin Britt announces his run for Congress in April 1982.

Robin Britt talks with 3-year-olds at Morningside's day care center in March 1983.

Britt, also a leader in the war on poverty, is shown in December 1983 serving cornbread at the Urban Ministry in Greensboro.

Robin Britt sits in the kindergarten/nursery room in December 1992 of Union Memorial United Methodist Church that was transformed into a new classroom for children in Project Uplift.

Then-U.S. Sen. Terry Sanford (left of center) listens to Uplift president Robin Britt at a meeting to discuss the problems of poor and troubled kids in April 1991.

Robin Britt with his wife, Susan, and three children (from right) David, Robin Jr. and Elizabeth in this undated photo.

David Britt gets some spending money from his dad, Robin Britt, in June 1983.

Robin Britt asks children what their favorite things are before saying goodbye at Guilford Child Development in Greensboro on Thursday.

Robin Britt asks children what their favorite things are before saying goodbye at Guilford Child Development in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday, October 17, 2019.

Robin Britt asks children what their favorite things are before saying goodbye at Guilford Child Development in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday, October 17, 2019.

Britt, 77, took time Thursday to visit children at Guilford Child Development in Greensboro to say goodbye as he retires after decades of working to help children.

U.S. Rep. Robin Britt (center) tours a farm in Guilford County in 1983. Britt was a first-time candidate when he won in 1982, recapturing the 6th Congressional District for Democrats.

Robin Britt, executive director of Guilford child Development, addresses educators during the nonprofits 50th anniversary celebration at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C. on Oct. 18, 2017.

Executive Director of Guilford Child Development, Robin Britt talks about the pilot program in his office, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Greensboro, N.C.

Then-U.S. Rep. Robin Britt speaks with Claudette Burroughs-White (left), the chairwoman of the Youth Conference, at Guilford College in October 1983.

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Greensboro's Robin Britt, the voice on early education, retires - Winston-Salem Journal

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FMC and Corteva Are 2 Stocks to Help Counter Agricultures Lost Year – Barron’s

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Baird upgraded shares of agricultural seed and chemicals provider FMC to Buy from Hold on Wednesday, believing the companys new products will drive profit growth.

In a sense, Baird thinks FMCs future isnt dependent on the economy or the weather. That is a useful observation for investors worried about a slowing global economy. FMCand peer Corteva may offer investors some protection from the macroeconomic factors vexing markets.

Analyst Ben Kallo increased his FMC (ticker: FMC) price target by $9, to $95 a share, 13% higher than recent levels. FMC shares were moving on the upgrade, rising 2.6% to $85.19 late morning Wednesday, better than the 0.1% decline of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Near-term growth profile for diamides portfolio favorable, in our view, enabled by a substantial patent estate, Kallo wrote in a Wednesday research report. That is a mouthful, but it means the company has new products that can drive sales and earnings growth despite what happens with the economy. (Diamides are a category of insecticides farmers use for pest control.)

It isnt just the economy that agriculture investors must wrestle with. The weather hasnt cooperated in 2019, either. Too much rain in the spring and early snow in autumn has hurt U.S. crops, causing volatility for farmers as well as agricultural traders.

Still, there are ways to win in agribusiness, despite the vagaries of climate. Agricultural chemical companies such as FMC, as well as peer Corteva (CTVA), invest heavily in research and developmentin much the same way drug companies doto produce patent-protected products that can drive higher growth and higher profit margins.

Patent protection is one reason agriculture-input stocks have traded for above-average valuation multiples. Dont forget, Monsanto was purchased by Bayer (BAYN.Germany) in 2018 for more than 16 times trailing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda. And Syngenta was purchased by a Chinese company in 2016 for about 17 times Ebitda.

Barrons wants to know your thoughts on the market, the economy, and the political landscape. Results will be published at the end of October along with results of our fall 2019 Big Money Poll of institutional investors. Take the Barrons reader poll here.

FMC is trading for less than 12 times estimated next years Ebitda, in line with other industrial assets in the S&P 500. FMC peer Corteva trades for about 10 times estimated 2020 Ebitda.

Kallo isnt alone in searching out so-called self-help stocks.

We continue to prefer nitrogen-levered [ CF Industries (CF)] and [ Yara (YAR.Norway) as well as] self-help ag-chemsFMC and [Corteva], wrote BMO analyst Joel Jackson in an earnings preview report published in September. Focusing on such stocks is one way Jackson see to combat a lost year for agriculture. He rates FMC shares the equivalent of Buy and has a $100 price target.

Barrons recently wrote positively about FMC, believing that new products can boost profit in the future. Since that article was published, FMC is up about 18%, better than the 6% gain of the Dow over the same time.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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‘Mindlessness is the new mindfulness’: Lessons from brain science on how to change behaviors – MobiHealthNews

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Many a digital health intervention has been stymied by the same problem, one thats familiar to anyone whos ever tried to quit smoking or lose weight by changing their diet: the extreme difficulty of behavior change.

On the final morning of the Connected Health Conference in Boston today, two experts presented their science-based solutions to the problem of behavior change. These solutions orbit around two seemingly contradictory poles: mindfulness and mindlessness.

A fairly popular idea these days in self help and pop psychology, mindfulness is about defeating bad habits in our subconscious by exposing them to the scrutiny of the conscious mind.

Theres a part of our brain called the orbitofrontal cortex, and this part of the brain stores and compares reward value, Judson Brewer, director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University, said.

This part of the brain stores information like chocolate is a better reward than broccoli,he explained. But when we fall into bad habits, he said, were not paying attention. Were not giving our orbitofrontal cortex updated and accurate information. So we asked this question:Is awareness enough to change behavior? So we developed these app-based mindfulness programs so we could teach people to pay attention to their habit behaviors.

Brewers company MindSciences offers app-based interventions forsmoking cessation, healthy eatingand anxiety, and the technology has been shown to create demonstrative improvements in RCTs with other apps as the control.

All three apps are built around using mindfulness to drop the reward value of bad habits, opening the door for better habits to take their place.

Thats where the other piece, mindlessness, comes in, according to Dr. Kyra Bobinet, CEO of EngagedIN, who also spoke at the event.

Mindlessness is the new mindfulness, she said. Now this is not a cap on mindfulness. I have been practicing mindfulness for 20 years. But, unless you make mindfulness itself mindless to do as a habit, it doesnt do anything.

Bobinet uses a very specific definition of a habit, namely that it has to be literally mindless, something we do automatically without using any significant mental load.

As an example, Bobinet discussed the failure of many corporate wellness programs to generate any clinically significant outcome measures. In one illustrative study, a company seemingly threw the kitchen sink at their employees but still came up short.

There was nothing in that kitchen sink that had anything to do with habit formation, and all the outcome measures were about habits, Bobinet said. You can throw the kitchen sink at this problem, but if none of it is specifically for habit formation, you will get the same result, or lack of results,every time.

Contrary to popular belief, Bobinet said, it takes not 21 days but a full year to retrain ourselves in a habit.

Both speakers pointed out that generally speaking, people believe they can triumph in an effort to change their behavior with sheer force of will. But science and experience show that thats a losing proposition nine times out of 10.

Instead, people should be mindful about the bad habits theyre trying to change, be iterative in their approach to changing it (trying new things when one approach isnt working), and be patient and persistent in replacing those habits with new, healthier habits.

As long as you dont run the story of judgement on yourself and dont think that youve failed, and you iterate on what youre doing, you will be unstoppable,Bobinet said.

Crucially, no amount or quality of technology will work if it doesnt apply these evidence-backed behavior change approaches.

We actually know a whole lot about how habits and everyday addictions form, and in fact we might be ignoring some of this critical information, Brewer said.

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'Mindlessness is the new mindfulness': Lessons from brain science on how to change behaviors - MobiHealthNews

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Ginny NiCarthy: Therapist, activist and author of groundbreaking book for survivors of domestic violence, dies on her own terms – The Seattle Times

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Virginia Ginny NiCarthy helped establish the nations first rape-crisis center and wrote Getting Free, a seminal book thats helped hundreds of thousands of women across the globe leave abusive relationships.

A therapist, activist and adventurer, she mentored dozens of women working to end domestic violence, traveled to international hot spots to see conditions for herself, and ultimately chose to die on her own terms before dementia could steal her curious, creative mind.

She always impressed people with her fearlessness and courage, said Ms. NiCarthys daughter, Seattle artist Iskra Johnson. She was a pistol irreverent and witty and smart and hilarious She was a very complicated, intelligent woman. She had a very rich life.

An author of several books, Ms. NiCarthy learned Spanish in Guatemala, studied art in Mexico, and traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia as a witness for peace.

For two months before her death on Sept. 23, Ms. NiCarthys family and friends traveled from all over the country to say their goodbyes before she decided to stop eating and drinking. She was 92.

Decades before Washingtons Death with Dignity Act was approved by voters in 2008, Ms. NiCarthy and a group of friends made a pact to help each other die with agency and dignity intact, Johnson said. But none of her friends were still alive to help her.

Ms. NiCarthy, who was physically healthy despite the slow onset of dementia over the past three years, wasnt eligible for medical intervention to end her life because the law allows aid only for terminally ill adults with at most six months to live.

It was a focus for her politically, said Johnson, who with her brother, Nathan Crow, supported their mothers decision and were with her in her final weeks.

Born in San Francisco on April 30, 1927, Ms. NiCarthy, the youngest of five children, grew up in Redwood City, California. Her father, Paul A. McCarthy, was a lawyer and served as Redwood Citys mayor, and her mother, Alice (Byrne) McCarthy, was a switchboard operator turned homemaker.

Raised a Catholic, Ms. NiCarthy lost faith in the church and turned to politics and social-justice activism as a way to help others and find meaning and purpose in her life, Johnson said.

She moved to Seattle in her 20s and in 1953, met her first husband, Robert S. Johnson, and gave birth to their daughter a year later. They were an intellectual, politically engaged couple who became part of Seattles bohemian scene centered around the Cirque and Repertory playhouses. During local hearings of the Committee on Un-American Activities, the couple who were never members of the Communist Party hid friends in their basement to help them avoid subpoenas compelling their testimony, their daughter said.

You didnt have to be a Communist to sympathize with people being persecuted by (Sen. Joseph) McCarthy, said Johnson, who came across her mothers handwritten notes documenting the hearings.

The couple divorced after 2 years of marriage. A couple of years later, Ms. NiCarthy wed William Crow and had two sons, Matthew and Nathan; that marriage ended in divorce 20 years later. In the mid-1960s, Ms. NiCarthy earned her teaching certificate and taught at schools in Seattles Central District, including Meany Middle School. She returned to college a second time, earning her masters in social work from the University of Washington in 1974. Her therapy practice included counseling battered women.

Sometime in the 1970s, she changed her surname from McCarthy which in Irish means son of Carthy to NiCarthy, which means daughter of Carthy. The change came when she realized how deep her feminist sentiment went, Johnson said.

In 1972, Ms. NiCarthy helped found Seattle Rape Relief, the first rape crisis-center in the U.S., where volunteers staffed a 24-hour hotline for victims of sexual assault (the agency closed in 1999). She was jailed for two months in 1976 after she was arrested while protesting the Trident Submarine Base on the Kitsap Peninsula. It wasnt the only time she was arrested for civil disobedience: In 2013, at age 86, she was arrested in Bellevue protesting the countrys immigration policies, according to a friend who was arrested with her.

After being rejected by 50 publishers, Ms. NiCarthy took her manuscript for Getting Free: A Handbook for Women in Abusive Relationships to Seal Press, a small, women-owned Seattle publishing house. The book, published in 1982, was reviewed by The New York Times and quickly recognized as groundbreaking. It has been translated into several languages and was updated and reissued in 2004.

We called her book The Bible, and it was used by every domestic-violence program across the country. It was definitely the first self-help book written for survivors of domestic violence, said Merril Cousin, who was working at a shelter in Maine when the book came out and later became executive director of the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence, a King County agency that gives out an annual advocacy award named for Ms. NiCarthy.

After moving to Seattle in 1989, Cousin joined a collective that started a support group for abused lesbians, and Ms. NiCarthy was asked to advise the group, now known as the NW Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse.

Ill admit to being a little star-struck at the time, Cousin recalled. She was always educating me on social-justice issues and to her, it was all part of the same struggle.

Ms. NiCarthy was a feminist and civil-rights activist who protested against the War on Drugs and the Iraq War, advocated for criminal-justice and immigration reform, and volunteered on committees and boards across the city, Cousin said.

One of them was Chaya, now API Chaya, which supports Southeast Asian survivors of domestic violence.

The thing with Ginny was she understood human nature, so she understood it to be imperfect, amazing, destructive and joyful, said Aaliyah Gupta, a former executive director of Chaya who was introduced to Ms. NiCarthy in 2001 by Pramila Jayapal, now Democratic congresswoman from Seattle. She didnt sit in a box and she saw all the nuances. Any kind of injustice would get her riled up.

Ms. NiCarthys family is thinking about planning a memorial service for her in February, her daughter said. In addition to her children, Ms. NiCarthy is survived by a granddaughter.

She was far more focused on people and saying goodbye while she was still alive, Johnson said. My guess is she would say, In lieu of flowers, donate to a good cause.'

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Ginny NiCarthy: Therapist, activist and author of groundbreaking book for survivors of domestic violence, dies on her own terms - The Seattle Times

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But he cautions that the side effects could have been because of an interaction with other medications the children were taking to control the seizures. So far, there hasnt been a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (the gold standard) on sleep disorders and CBD.

[Stressed-out parents are giving it a shot.]

A recent chart review of 72 psychiatric patients treated with CBD found that anxiety improved, but not sleep. Over all, we did not find that it panned out as a useful treatment for sleep, said Dr. Scott Shannon, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, Denver and the lead author of the review in The Permanente Journal.

Sleep can be disrupted for many reasons, including depression. Rodents seemed to adapt better to stressful conditions and exhibited less depressive-like behavior after taking CBD, according to a review in Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy. Surprisingly, CBD seems to act faster than conventional antidepressants, wrote one of the authors of a new review, Smia Joca, a fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Denmark and an associate professor at the University of So Paulo in Brazil, in an email interview. Of course, its difficult to detect depression in animals, but the studies that Ms. Joca and her colleagues reviewed suggested that in models of chronic stress exposure, the mice and rats treated with CBD were more resilient.

But without clinical trials in humans, psychologists say CBDs effect on depression is still a hypothesis, and not an evidence-based treatment.

If you take pure CBD, its pretty safe, said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvanias Perelman School of Medicine. Side effects in the Epidiolex trial included diarrhea, sleepiness, fatigue, weakness, rash, decreased appetite and elevated liver enzymes. Also, the safe amount to consume in a day, or at all during pregnancy, is still not known.

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In The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley points out that the Lords Prayer has 50 words, and six of them are dedicated to imploring God not to lead us into temptation. When I was a child sitting in Sunday school in west Texas, I often wondered why God would engineer these temptations into our environment in the first place much less lead us into them if he was only going to enjoin us to avoid them later.

Today I feel the same way about the creators of our technological environments. We are bombarded at every turn with persuasive design that exploits our psychological weaknesses and often leads us into temptation, habituation and distraction. At the same time, we are expected to take up arms against these distractions, to muster superhuman levels of self-regulation, just to adapt to this all-out war others are waging for our attention.

So far, the closest thing to a bible for designers who have been enlisted in that war for our attention those tasked with hacking human psychology to increase engagement with their products has been Nir Eyals bestselling 2014 book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Eyal advanced a four-part model for exploiting triggers, rewards and other elements of habit formation to systematically manipulate user behaviour; he described the model as a new superpower for designers.

Now, five years later, as individuals and societies have begun to discern the extent to which distraction is a feature, not a bug, of the industrialisation of persuasive design, Eyal has returned with a self-help book. Here, as in Hooked, Eyal advances a four-part model and even describes it as a superpower again only this time its for users: it sets out how to be indistractable in a world thats angling for our attention.

It would be too uncharitable to dismiss Indistractable as merely an attempt to backtrack. It would also be a mistake to place it among the crop of repentant-tech-insider confessionals so fashionable lately those tragic narratives of grovelling and apology that the media gleefully stenograph for readers who instinctively click on them. In fact, a notable absence in Indistractable is any trace of regret or re-examination whatsoever, and for this Eyal deserves some credit.

This is a book with two souls. One is concerned with prescription, the other with persuasion. The prescriptive part offers techniques for resisting distraction. These include: scheduling your life so assiduously that you eliminate all white space in your calendar, beginning with prioritising and timeboxing You time; hacking back or changing the external triggers that distract you (for instance, disabling device notifications, or having a signal at work that tells your colleagues youre in a focus mode); and using precommitment devices such as pacts to motivate you to follow through on your goals (which in Eyals case consisted of agreeing to pay his friend $10,000 if he didnt finish Indistractable on time). There is some value in compiling these techniques in one place; readers might find some of them useful.

However, it is the persuasive soul of Indistractable that merits greater attention. At the books beating heart is a sales pitch for the blamelessness of technology vis--vis distraction. This argument is important in part because it carries significance for wider conversations about the ethics of persuasive design, and in part because it is so profoundly, yet so subtly, wrong.

Eyals argument is roughly as follows. Distraction is any action we take thats misaligned with our broader intentions. We often blame technology for distraction. However, because all human behaviour is motivated by the desire to minimise discomfort, the root cause of distraction therefore lies within us. Technology, by contrast, is merely a proximate cause. If we dont deal with the root causes, well continue to find ways to distract ourselves and will remain helpless victims in a tragedy of our own creation. On the other hand, if we do acknowledge that distraction originates inside ourselves, we can take steps to become indistractable and ultimately live the lives we want.

There are many curious contortions here. Eyals conception of distraction remains mercurial. His foundational claim that avoiding discomfort or dissatisfaction is our motivation for everything we do in life is simply asserted; no evidence is adduced. (Its a claim that, in any event, seems unfalsifiable cant any desire for change be framed as dissatisfaction with some status quo?) Yet the essential rhetorical move, for which Eyal gives no justification, is his separation of inner motivations from external factors and his conception of them as root causes. This root/proximate cause distinction comes from a diagnostic process in engineering and management sciences called root cause analysis. Why is this method appropriate for diagnosing human behaviour? No reason is given. Why cant a behaviour be the result of multiple root causes? The question goes unasked. Cant technologies, like many other external influences, increase our degree of inner discomfort and dissatisfaction? The issue is not even raised. What even counts as a root cause? Eyal leaves it undefined.

In fact, throughout the book he is inconsistent about what he treats as a root cause versus a proximate cause. At various points he is happy to construe all manner of environmental factors relational, organisational, psychological, and cultural as root causes of distraction, while treating as a ridiculous moral panic any suggestion that technologies that have literally been designed to distract many by designers he has influenced are themselves part of any structural problem. He seems to allow for any root cause of distraction, as long as it is not technology.

This is a fundamentally unserious way of approaching the question. Imagine weve just discovered that a facial recognition algorithm is amplifying some racial inequality. In response, we might ask: how could the algorithm be designed so that it promotes equality instead? Can it in principle be designed to do so? Should an algorithm even be used in this situation? And so on. However, it would not occur to us to say unless we were mired in anxious defensiveness about the fact that criticism is occurring at all that even though the algorithm amplifies inequality, it poses no problem worthy of immediate corrective action because it is not the root cause of that inequality. To say so would be a digital version of the odious Guns dont kill people, people kill people deflection. (Of course, neither side of that false dichotomy is correct; it is clearly the gun-person interface which is at issue.) Technology doesnt distract people; people distract people. This, in a phrase, is Indistractables persuasive soul.

I recently read that the pope wanted to alter a line of the Lords Prayer, from lead us not into temptation to do not let us fall into temptation. Indistractable is Eyals attempt at a pope-like pivot. Thankfully, he cant pivot by fiat. However, as the book Merchants of Doubt by Erik M Conway and Naomi Oreskes brilliantly chronicled in the domains of climate science and tobacco research, a smokescreen of doubt can be thrown up, which provides a cover for interests averse to systemic change, whether regulatory or otherwise. And Eyal can make people who get distracted by adversarial design less inclined to demand more from their technologies, and more inclined to demand superpowers of themselves that their all-too-human limitations render them unable to meet.

Technology exists to help us transcend our limitations. This book could have been a welcome recognition by a leading voice in the field that we cant fight distractions on our own that we shouldnt have to and that technology, properly designed and incentivised, is necessary for helping us do so. That is the book I wish I could have read.

In Hooked, Eyal wrote: It will be years, perhaps generations, before society develops the mental antibodies to control new habits. However, in Indistractable he writes: We have the unique ability to adapt to such threats. We can take steps right now to retrain and regain our brains. To be blunt, what other choice do we have? We dont have time to wait for regulators to do something and if you hold your breath waiting for corporations to make their products less distracting, well, youre going to pass out.

Its one thing to tell this to knowledge workers who ride electric scooters to work and stream productivity podcasts into their AirBuds. But tell it to the single working mother who can barely carve out enough me time to take a shower. Better yet, tell the tech designers its not their fault, that its ultimately their users responsibility to manage distractions, and that even if their products do distract, the root cause of it lies in users themselves.

To throw everything back on the individual and to ignore the structural causes of distraction is not only unscientific in its approach to human nature, it is unjust in its implications for society, and unimaginative in its capitulation to design. Such a position would be understandable, though still not acceptable, from someone who didnt know better. But to spend years building up those structural causes of distraction, and then to take such a position? That would be a spectacle of sophistry from which no amount of self-help pabulum could distract.

James Williamss Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Restriction in the Attention Economy is published by Cambridge. Indistractable is published by Bloomsbury (20). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com or call 020-3176 3837. Free UK p&p over 15, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99.

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