Elephant Journal /// Playboy Yoga /// Dead Horse Bay /// Masturbation

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Dead Horse Bay, Brooklyn, NY

Picking up on yesterday’s discussion of irony in yoga, adding a little curious Brooklyn lore, mixed with a tiny bit of the ol’ self gratification: There is a sorta-not-really secret detritus wonderland in Brooklyn known as Dead Horse Bay that used to be about dead horses, but is now about dead subcultures. Don’t believe me? Behold:

“From the nineteenth century to the twentieth century the area has been used in a variety of ways, including manufacturing fertilizer from the remains of dead animals [ed. "horse rendering"], producing fish oil from the menhaden caught in the bay, and more recently a landfill for the disposal of New York City’s garbage.”

Urban fun!

These days Dead Horse Bay is known mostly as a place to find some of the best free vintage bottles and “stuff” you can imagine. Think medicine jars and snuff boxes from days gone by, and you’re in the mental ballpark. Today it’s largely frequented by “cool ironic people,” much like those featured in yesterday’s post, looking for that cool something to put on their cool shelf in their cool apartment above a cool coffee shop next to a cool performance art space next to a cool homeless guy who gives their cool neighborhood cool urban credibility. I’ve never been, but, seeing as I am seriously one of the coolest people I know, it’s obviously on my list of “cool things to do.”

emersonmerrick.blogspot.com/

emersonmerrick.blogspot.com/

Now, check out this one-eighty: Reading Elephant Journal can sometimes be a cool thing to do too, but it can, at other times, be a thing to do only when you’re in the mood to get depressed about life.

Rather than rummaging around a plot of water-land covered in abundant historical treasures, reading Elephant Journal is sometimes like rummaging through a post-apocalyptic Toys-R-Us garbage dump. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, and doesn’t mean you won’t find something interesting to take home. Chances are you will. You’ll just have to weed through some feces to get to that kitchy lamp, which will most likely be covered in dirty diapers or used tampons. Nevertheless, a gem is a gem.

Gems aside, EJ founder, Waylon Lewis’ recent “Playboy Yoga” article is typical of some of the weed-through-ables on EJ. A rehash of something published earlier (the piece is almost literally an addendum to another piece published in 2009), it reads like a classic “Gotta post something today” piece, which admittedly, is an experience all of us bloggers have to go through now and again and again.

Hits....

Hits….

What’s particularly unfortunate about this piece is its reinforcement of consequentialism (“the ends justify the means”), one of the more bloated philosophical positions a yoga enthusiast can take. If you’re unfamiliar with it’s logic, if reads a lil’ something like this:

“Likely, this video will attract folks who normally don’t belong to the “yoga demographic”—and I’m good with that.”

I think the response to consequentialism given in Aghori’s “Yoga Terrorists” interview with EJ Thaddeus Haas still stands, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just paste it here:

“This consequentialist approach to selling yoga—the ends justify the means—is just so disingenuous, which is a shame because it’s pretty much the cornerstone of some major yoga websites out there. It’s practically a governing philosophy, and it’s one based on deceit. “Well, tell them it’s for weight loss, get them in the studio, and they’ll start reading the Bhagavad-gita next week.” I can almost guarantee you that they’re not going to just start becoming deeply spiritual people reading the Bhagavad-gita just ’cause they are now stretching to lose weight rather than going Paleo. The Bhagavad-gita is not necessarily an easy text for some people. And, it has that whole long boring introduction chapter. God, is it boring. They coulda put that part at the end. You know, like in journalism. Let Krishna speak already!”

But, even this misses the real beauty of posting a Playboy Yoga video on your yoga website.

What’s significant about this Playboy Yoga video is not that it’s a game changer, not that it’s edgy, not that it’s transgressive. It’s that it offers people yet another visual with which to practice the Holy ancient art of onanism. You know, “spanking it,” “rubbing one out,” “tickling the great tickler,” “attempting self-fertilization,” “she-bopping,” “dating Palmela Handerson,” “teasing the kitty,” “mouse clicking,” “hand-to-gland combat,” “holding your sausage hostage,” “flute soloing,” “two-finger tangoing,” “clearing the snorkel,” “trolling the Bermuda Triangle,” “making stomach pancakes,” “slicing pie.” All noble pursuits.

Though, I must say, this Sara Underwood video is way hotter, proving once again that keeping one or two items of clothing on, can make all the difference:

It’ll also get us a few more hits this week from people searching “nude yoga.” Chaaaa-ching!

Oh, wait. We’re a free site. Chaaaa-burp….

____________________

Many thanks to this site, this site, and our own delicious brains for help with the masturbation list.

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13 comments

  1. I’m a non-fan of “Wailin’ Waylon” and his sleazed up tard-tastic editorial standards from way-back.

    Allow me to present Exhibit A: http://svasti.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/this-blog-is-an-elephant-journal-free-zone/

    I stand by this opinion to this day. Honestly, I don’t think wading through the crap for the odd gem is worth it. There’s plenty more awesomeness out there in the yoga blog world that ISN’T using sexual politics, race, or misogyny as a platform.

    Nuff said.

  2. yogaweed

    Working in that lowest of low sleaze bag industries (financial services) , I find the dross that are the majority of the posts on that site almost enjoyable.

    At times depth is hard and wading thru the shallows preferable. I am not there mining for gems, instead revealing in the inanity (insanity? stupidity?) of it all.

    Sometimes the brain just needs to decompress, and there is only so much yoga you can do, and – lol – so many blunts you can smoke…

    Blaze on

    • Damn. I hope by “gem” we didn’t infer some sort of high-level critique or cultural exposé! We just meant stuff like “Seven Ways to Keep a Yoga Man” and “These Vegetables Will Make You Fart.” You know, actually relevant stuff. That’s where EJ shines!

  3. Linda-Sama

    the best analysis of EJ around. much more esoteric than my own: “EJ is a toxic piece of trash.”

    my hit on Playboy Yoga from 2009…. http://lindasyoga.com/2009/10/30/it-truly-is-the-kali-yuga/

  4. You forgot “doing the 5-knuckle chuckle”…

  5. jamie

    I really can’t believe anybody goes to that site anymore. Waldo Lewis and EJ are pretty sleazy and they will post anything to get traffic. And he stll doesn’t pay his writers.

  6. Sandy

    This pretty much did it for me. With all the censoring of comments and gang mentality there, it’s is pretty sad.

    http://dangerousharvests.blogspot.com/2011/08/elephant-journals-got-issues.html

  7. Edward Staskus

    The justification behind that Playboy business was post-modern nonsense. Either yoga means something or it means everything and nothing at the same time. The Playboy post implied it is the latter.

  8. Yoga Whelp

    Elephant Urinal (a.k.a as “Estrogen” Journal) has a role. It’s basically T&A for the crunchy granola set. You can also find snarky bodice-ripping confessionals written by horny, menopausal women there. And morbid dissections of the foibles of cult leaders that Waylon’s known and loved – from John Friend to Michael Roach. But more than anything else, it’s a blatant marketing platform for second-echelon yoga-wanna-lebrities. But then again, so are most of the yoga blogs – except for this one, of course. :o)))

    • Oh, yeah, these days, I ignore all those “aricles” that are thinly-veiled promotion pieces for acroyoga or inversion workshops and paddleboard yoga retreats and go straight for the politics as a warm-up for sifting through everything else. When I’d had shall we say, issues and EJ’d had a different system, I used to get my comments regularly negged by these self-promoting yogis. Actually, the fact that they have unpaid contributors other than yoga teachers is the only thing that keeps it from turning into Yoganonymous. And, remember, yoga teachers get to subscribe for free; they get bitten by the blogging bug (which turns into a publicity bug) and that is why they are overrepresented in that publishing model.

  9. RecoveringElephant

    While I understand the “gotta post something today” epidemic, I’ve got to say it gets pretty tired when you see the same crap over and over again. And while elephant prides itself on the numbers re traffic they get per day, the fact of the matter is that I can confidently say that these “weed through ables” are more than likely where those numbers stem from. Because honestly the amount of trash on that site greatly outweighs the number of “gems”. And I agree a gem is a gem, and no one can post something everyone is going to like 100% of the time. That said the integrity of a site should always be upheld, clearly Waylon et all are not concerned with elephants integrity. And when someone calls him/them out on this it turns into a big whiny people are picking on me Waylon shit show. Which is ridiculous. Personally I would much rather run a site that upholds some manner of dignity than post a bunch of crap for numbers, but hey-that’s just me.

    On another note I have to say that reading your site has not only been a pleasure but has also made me really think about things before I send them out for the world to see, in addition to speaking up when I feel something should not be run and or is not in alignment with our yogic values.

    Thank you.

  10. Is “mindful porn” the only consequentialist draw? I took a tour through the front page yesterday and made the following list. The x’s mark the clear soft-core posts, which are all made by Waylon or “elephantjournal”.

    climate change
    x
    snuggling
    football played by the hearing impaired
    getting out of yoga ruts
    parenthood tips
    dealing with getting fired
    nice things HHDL said
    gratitude and neuroscience
    dubious raw food claims
    x
    nice bath tubs
    gluten free stuff
    aromatic teas
    being okay with being single
    compassion
    compassion: julian marc walker
    congratulations to palestine
    yoga, sex, feminisim
    local shopping ethics
    dealing with amennorhea
    ex-alcoholics at bikram
    getting over your ex
    improving self-perception
    theology vs. experience
    frida kahlo
    bhakti
    betsey downing castigating john friend
    winter introspection
    the other g-spots (gratitude/grief)
    frank jude boccio
    critique of tyson foods
    mythic rebirth through the winter solstice
    in vitro meat
    visually impaired teenager who runs cross-country
    the ethics of spanking children
    OCD shopping
    connecting to nature
    x
    ethiopian yogic poetry

    Granted, this is but the front page, and to drill down into the site history would turn up a lot more nudie- consequentialism. But there are still far more posts on other stuff. I’m not quite sure what the difference is between Elephant Journal and, say, the internet. Except for the “mindfulness” branding.

    I don’t think there’s another relatively non-corporate open-access platform that allows fast, high-volume communication and discussion within whatever the yoga demographic is.

    Nathan Thompson brings up great points in his DH piece and I think reflects everyone’s confusion about the relationship between the proprietor and the platform. I think the real issue is that we can’t figure out what ownership of a quasi-public-space like EJ really means. I often feel that if the post is strong, the writer owns that page.

    As for Yoga Whelp’s pigeonholing of the EJ “stable” as “second-echelon yoga-wanna-lebrities”: a little fairness is in order. It’s more like several hundred working teachers/moms/parents/alt-economy hustlers who take pleasure in stringing together 20-minute sessions of writing so that they can post about what they love and find interesting. In that sense, EJ is just a patchwork of smaller blogs.

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