Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Complete Package

I gotta get Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided: How The Relentless Promotion Of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, if only to bookend Steve Salerno's SHAM: How The Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless. Both, though only looking at isolated aspects of the problem, are still acknowledging NewAge culture as causing harm to our country, right under our noses, and even to our applause.

Ehrenreich's title even mentions "The Relentless Promotion" of NewAge; the inescapable indoctrination producing this profoundly evangelical fanaticism for nonsense, so ingrained, many Americans aren't capable of grasping the concept of (much less seriously considering it's) NewAge that's driving the country off the rails. NewAge is seen as so flakey - even as more and more are so shamelessly drawn into it that it starts to define our nation - it's just gotta be something else that's messing things up, right? By my estimation that's highly unlikely, and Ehrenreich seems to have gotten a similar big-picture outlook into the head of Reason Magazine's Kerry Howley, found pontificating on the blog Double X:

"If we fail to see positive thinking as part of a unified belief system, we run the risk of passively absorbing these ideas as they seep into our lives, gently diminishing the sense that some circumstances really are beyond our control.

Ehrenreich is a great believer in community activism, so I hope her book starts a movement among the Debbie Downers of the world. Call it pessimist pride. There’ll be placards, parades, manifestos, a Bill of Realist Rights. We can all meet up and talk up about how our respective attitudes, positive or otherwise, have nothing at all to do with nuclear armament in Iran. With any luck, we can expose smile-pushers for what they really are—not villains or warmongers, just smirking bullies long overdue for a smackdown."

O.K. - what NewAgers are, exactly, she still needs some work on - but Howley's solution to those with this "unified belief system" ("smirking bullies long overdue for a smackdown") is as clear an endorsement of The Macho Response as it's gonna get from outside my drum circle. Barbara Ehrenreich's doing something right: I'm buying her book.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, YES!!!

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