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Wednesday 08 October 2008


Proclamations of the Red Queen

18th September 2008

Personal Change and the “Me (A Culpa) Industry”

Posted by: Craig Young

In this month’s UK Gay Times, Tim Teeman has an amusing piece on the ’self-help’ industry, that form of personalised psychotherapy that tries to teach you to assert yourself in order to become healthy, wealthy, better educated and in possession of better social skills.

Teeman argues that all this relentless self-improvement is not good for broader concepts of social justice and collective responsibility, and I tend to agree with him. It tends to be associated with the relentless rise in television genres like the confessional show host (although, admittedly, Oprah does it quite well), and reality television, as well as the proliferation of soap operas and their sordid disclosures about who did what to whom and when they did it.  Along with self-help books, Teeman wisely pans them as self-indulgent, authoritarian and resembling an overly preachy teacher or (even worse) secularised tele-evangelist.

His solution is to join a community organisation, get out with your mates more, travel and read. Great literature, that is, not the personal change industry. Personal change? Very small returns, it looks like to me…

Recommended:

Tim Teeman “Get Over It” Gay Times 361 (October 2008): http://www.gaytimes.co.uk

Tags: General

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