1. A fascinating profile in last week’s New Yorker of John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, sort of a footnote to JDK’s recent post on environmentalism. There is a lot in the article worth mentioning, but for our purposes, I thought it was particularly interesting that Whole Foods was founded as a self-consciously non-judgmental health food store (ht RJH):

“[The first Whole Foods store] was ten thousand square feet. They stocked not just lentils and granola but, in contravention of the co-op ethos, indulgences like meat, beer, and wine; there were aisles full of five-gallon bottles of distilled water, to avoid the embarrassment of empty shelf space. The idea was to go beyond the movement’s old tofu severity, the air of judgment and self-abnegation.

The rest of the article then details the enormous backlash Whole Foods has provoked – primarily because of its non-severe ethos – from the more Pharisaical elements within the Green movement. Not that Mackey is really worth defending, as there are plenty of other factors at play here, but it does appear that he has touched a major nerve, that the granola folks may not be as granola as they appear…

2. In the denial-aint-just-a-river-in-Egypt department (and no, I can’t believe I’m dignifying this either), the Good Morning America interview with Heidi Montag this week about her recent plastic surgery has got to be seen to be believed. Poor girl. Even she doesn’t appear to buy the Christian rhetoric she tosses out at the end (ht AZ).

3. Next, this kindly Colombian farmer may be a sincere believer, but man oh man… He takes the concept outward righteousness to a whole new (and disturbing) level. If only someone had read the Sermon on the Mount to him before it was too late. [Warning: not for the faint of heart – especially those of the male persuasion].

4. Finally, and in keeping with the rather saucy tone this week [sorry!], a philosophically riveting and relatively PG-rated article entitled “Dostoevsky vs. Marquis de Sade“. One notable excerpt (ht DB):

“Put in another way, Dostoevsky now sees man much as Sade does: self-willed, desiring unfettered free choice, prone to commit irrational acts to transcend determinism, lacking moral sense, and a potential sadist. Moreover, “progress,” blinking man’s need for moral order and spiritual fulfillment, is lethally wrongheaded, inciting sadistic transgressions.”

BONUS TRACK: Just because it has generated about 34 more comments than I thought it would, here’s another quote from David Foster Wallace about the self- perpetuating nature of depression. The opening to his brilliant and harrowing short story “The Depressed Person”:

“The depressed person was in terrible and unceasing emotional pain, and the impossibility of sharing or articulating this pain was itself a component of the pain and a contributing factor in its essential horror.”