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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, order discount ed strips 2009, order discount ed strips Printed on October 15, order discount ed strips 2009 http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdbook/1849/ Last month, order discount ed strips 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, order discount ed strips who have lots of charisma but no professional qualifications, order discount ed strips are setting themselves up as ersatz gurus to their questing peers. Order discount ed strips 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, order discount ed strips well versed in self-help and New Age spirituality, order discount ed strips and who are finding a way to make a living preaching to eager audiences, order discount ed strips mostly female, order discount ed strips” reported the Times. Order discount ed strips One 31-year-old member of this eager audience is quoted praising her spiritual tutor Gabrielle Bernstein, order discount ed strips a 29-year-old former nightclub publicist who lectures on using the “laws of attraction” to “manifest” one’s desires. Order discount ed strips “A lot of women look up to her, order discount ed strips” the student says. Order discount ed strips “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, order discount ed strips acidulous new book, order discount ed strips Bright-Sided: How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Order discount ed strips A broadside against exactly the sort of pabulum peddled by Bernstein, order discount ed strips Bright-Sided reveals the historical roots and conservative uses of the positive thinking movement, order discount ed strips showing how it encourages victim-blaming, order discount ed strips political complacency, order discount ed strips 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, order discount ed strips it must be because you didn’t try hard enough, order discount ed strips didn’t believe firmly enough in the inevitability of your success, order discount ed strips” writes Ehrenreich. Order discount ed strips “As the economy has brought more layoffs and financial turbulence to the middle class, order discount ed strips the promoters of positive thinking have increasingly emphasized this negative judgment: to be disappointed, order discount ed strips resentful, order discount ed strips or downcast is to be a ‘victim’ and a ‘whiner.’” It’s satisfying, order discount ed strips in a cranky contrarian way, order discount ed strips to watch a writer as smart as Ehrenreich take aim at something as universally revered as dogged optimism. Order discount ed strips Yet while America’s obsessive positivity might be risible, order discount ed strips it initially seems like a stretch to describe it as dangerous. Order discount ed strips Nevertheless, order discount ed strips Bright-Sided makes a surprisingly convincing case that positive thinking—which essentially teaches that one’s thoughts, order discount ed strips properly harnessed, order discount ed strips can control physical events in the world—is often delusional and sometimes actively dangerous. Michelle Goldberg, order discount ed strips a contributing editor at Religion Dispatches, order discount ed strips is the author of the New York Times bestseller Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, order discount ed strips and of the forthcoming The Means of Reproduction: Sex, order discount ed strips Power and the Future of the World, order discount ed strips to be published in April by Penguin Press. View this story online at: http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdbook/1849/