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Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided Explores the Dark Side of Positive Thinking

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                                                                                                                                                By Michelle Goldberg Posted on October 11, discount digestive support cats 2009, discount digestive support cats Printed on October 15, discount digestive support cats 2009 http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdbook/1849/ Last month, discount digestive support cats the front page of the New York Times style section ran an inadvertently depressing story about a group of young life coaches sometimes referred to as the “spiritual cowgirls.” These hip young women, discount digestive support cats who have lots of charisma but no professional qualifications, discount digestive support cats are setting themselves up as ersatz gurus to their questing peers. Discount digestive support cats They charge hundreds of dollars for sessions that combine new age atmospherics with the kind of power-of-positive thinking nostrums that made a phenomenon out of The Secret. “[N]ow there is a new role model for New York’s former Carrie Bradshaws—young women who are vegetarian, discount digestive support cats well versed in self-help and New Age spirituality, discount digestive support cats and who are finding a way to make a living preaching to eager audiences, discount digestive support cats mostly female, discount digestive support cats” reported the Times. Discount digestive support cats One 31-year-old member of this eager audience is quoted praising her spiritual tutor Gabrielle Bernstein, discount digestive support cats a 29-year-old former nightclub publicist who lectures on using the “laws of attraction” to “manifest” one’s desires. Discount digestive support cats “A lot of women look up to her, discount digestive support cats” the student says. Discount digestive support cats “We need this guidance and we are searching for this guidance.” Bernstein’s audacity in marketing herself as a sage appears to be matched by the piteousness of her customers. The Times story is evidence of the timeliness of Barbara Ehrenreich’s bracing, discount digestive support cats acidulous new book, discount digestive support cats Bright-Sided: How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Discount digestive support cats A broadside against exactly the sort of pabulum peddled by Bernstein, discount digestive support cats Bright-Sided reveals the historical roots and conservative uses of the positive thinking movement, discount digestive support cats showing how it encourages victim-blaming, discount digestive support cats political complacency, discount digestive support cats and a culture-wide flight from realism. “The flip side of positivity is… a harsh insistence on personal responsibility: if your business fails or your job is eliminated, discount digestive support cats it must be because you didn’t try hard enough, discount digestive support cats didn’t believe firmly enough in the inevitability of your success, discount digestive support cats” writes Ehrenreich. Discount digestive support cats “As the economy has brought more layoffs and financial turbulence to the middle class, discount digestive support cats the promoters of positive thinking have increasingly emphasized this negative judgment: to be disappointed, discount digestive support cats resentful, discount digestive support cats or downcast is to be a ‘victim’ and a ‘whiner.’” It’s satisfying, discount digestive support cats in a cranky contrarian way, discount digestive support cats to watch a writer as smart as Ehrenreich take aim at something as universally revered as dogged optimism. Discount digestive support cats Yet while America’s obsessive positivity might be risible, discount digestive support cats it initially seems like a stretch to describe it as dangerous. Discount digestive support cats Nevertheless, discount digestive support cats Bright-Sided makes a surprisingly convincing case that positive thinking—which essentially teaches that one’s thoughts, discount digestive support cats properly harnessed, discount digestive support cats can control physical events in the world—is often delusional and sometimes actively dangerous. Michelle Goldberg, discount digestive support cats a contributing editor at Religion Dispatches, discount digestive support cats is the author of the New York Times bestseller Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, discount digestive support cats and of the forthcoming The Means of Reproduction: Sex, discount digestive support cats Power and the Future of the World, discount digestive support cats to be published in April by Penguin Press. View this story online at: http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdbook/1849/