“Positive Thinking” Is a Cover for White Supremacy, Patriarchy, and Capitalism

I found a lot of truth in a blog post I read recently called “Positive Attitude” Bullshit: On the dangers of “radical self-love”.

People whose lives aren’t going well or who experience mental illness are often subjected to “positive thinking” and New-Age-y “manifest abundance” crap. The idea is that if you just think the right kind of thoughts and change yourself with sheer willpower and perhaps by purchasing certain self-help books, suddenly you will get what you want in life.

positive thinking

Life doesn’t actually work that way. Marginalized and neuro-atypical people can’t just think their way out of institutionalized systems of oppression. These systems mean we get shittier jobs, get paid less, are harassed and degraded for existing as ourselves, and have less access to generational wealth and benefits. “Positive thinking” and the idea that simply changing how you think will change how rewarding and comfortable your life is hides how capitalism, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy form your life conditions and chances.

It makes the systemic problems and violence of capitalism into into individual flaws. It takes unfair external conditions shaped by the effects of centuries-old oppressions and tells you that your lack of total success in life is actually your personal fault. And there are certain self-appointed people who somehow have discovered the right way to think, and they are happy to sell you products so that you too can discipline your naughty negative thoughts.

New-Age-y positive thinking philosophies, which some corporations have used to indoctrinate their workers, are just another cover for rapacious hyper-capitalism. They are a clever way of keeping people divided and focused on their personal flaws and their personal financial goals and their personal relationship problems.

Instead, what would be truly POSITIVE for most people would be to band together and find ways to end our current economic system, which requires a few winners and a lot of losers to work. It would be POSITIVE if we remembered community, unions, liberation, a multitude of loving relationships, and collaboration instead of competition. Caring people coming together to overthrow our hateful system and creating something new that benefits everyone by design is more my style of positive thinking.

My Vision for the Place of Art in Society

We all have an artistic side and we all need creativity in our lives. I want to dream of a world, not of career artists who earn a generous living for expressing themselves, but where EVERYONE can earn a decent living AND express themselves.

Art is not a career. That is a capitalist lie. Art is a part of life and that part of life should be accessible to every person. If creative expression of thoughts and feelings and opinions and visions should be paid for, every person should be paid. Or ideally, art is considered part of a healthy and fulfilling life and not a commodity at all.

Art should be woven into everyone’s daily experiences and not reserved for an elite kool kids klub who have few enough competing obligations to “make it” in a struggle against other artists to successfully commercialize themselves. If your art serves capital, have you really won or have you lost?

This rant came from musing upon this thought-provoking piece: My Dreams of Being a Feminist Housewife

A further rumination on this topic: “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from

Manufacturing Consent – Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism

Manufacturing Consent by Michael Burawoy Not to be confused with the book of the same title by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, I recently read the Manufacturing Consent by Michael Burawoy. Burawoy spent time working in a machine shop in the 70s in the Midwest, and wrote about his experiences, connecting them to larger historical and social movements.

A quote:

“Managers…must be aware of the consequences of enforcing restrictive rules—in particular, their inevitable demise. Why then do they persist in this apparently futile efforts? A possible explanation is that the cyclical intensification of “obsolete” rules constitutes a ritual affirmation of managerial domination.” pg.175

Hurricane V. Oil Spill!

Hurricane v Oil Spill
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1st. You know what that means: Hurricane versus Oil Spill! The battle of the millennium! Man-made disaster versus natural disaster! Grab some cold ones and a seat in front of the couch, because the news media is going to have a ball with this one. Unless, of course, you happen to live in one of the affected areas. Then you’re screwed. You’re probably poor, and even if not you are at least a living reminder of capitalism’s screw-ups, and Big Oil and the government wish you would just go away! This is one problem they’re not going to solve by… solving it. I can’t even imagine Obama or BP planning ahead and having emergency and or (god forbid) preventative measures in place in advance of this collision of terror.

Obama and BP, et al, may get lucky though. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a possible outcome of Hurricane v Oil Spill to be that: “The high winds and seas will mix and disperse the oil which can help accelerate the biodegradation process,” or that “A hurricane passing to the east of the slick could drive the oil away from the coast.”

Somehow, Hurricane v. Oil Spill does not strike me as a combo deal that will make the Gulf Coast’s problems magically disappear, though I’m sure that won’t stop our administration from sitting on its hands. No sir, I find some of NOAA’s other predictions more likely:

Storms’ surges may carry oil into the coastline and inland as far as the surge reaches.

Debris resulting from the hurricane may be contaminated by oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident, but also from other oil releases that may occur during the storm.

Hey if this goes on long enough, the “Deepwater Horizon incident” might just turn into “Obama’s Katrina” after all.

I’m sure the MSM will let us know when that happens.

Where the Wealthy Are Used to Coming Out on Top

I liked this cute little piece of propaganda stuck into a Fox News story about David Goldman’s reunion with his Brazilian son after a difficult custody battle:

Goldman’s fight was against a powerful family of Rio de Janeiro lawyers in a nation where the wealthy are used to coming out on top.

TOTALLY UNLIKE IN THE UNITED STATES. Where we have a meritocracy, a level playing field, total equality, and a classless society where money could never buy justice. Where the rich DEFINITELY do not have access to additional levers of power to turn events like court cases in their favor or in other ways flex extraordinary power that the underclasses will never have. In Brazil, perhaps, there are shameless privileges visited upon the wealthy due to their inferior government, natural penchant for corruption, and their non-Americanness. Perhaps in Brazil it is possible for the rich to buy justice.

But NEVER in the United States. Heavens no.

Does Fox News submit their stories to a panel of aging white capitalists to see that every story, no matter how unrelated, sings the praises of American-style capitalistic democracy?

Um, well basically. Who else would be on their editorial board?

Obesity, Like Poverty, Is the Result of Personal Failure

And Lincoln University will stand by and watch their students deliberately make themselves fat no longer:

A Pennsylvania university’s requirement that overweight undergraduates take a fitness course to receive their degrees has raised the hackles of students and the eyebrows of health and legal experts.

Officials at historically black Lincoln University said Friday that the school is simply concerned about high rates of obesity and diabetes, especially in the African-American community.

“We know we’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic,” said James L. DeBoy, chairman of Lincoln’s department of health, physical education and recreation. “We have an obligation to address this head on…”

Yeah, like DeBoy said. It’s not like the United States government has subsidized corn over-production, it’s not like grocery stores are filled with boxed, canned and frozen food filled with corn derivatives and chemicals, it’s not like cities are planned around car culture, it’s as though poor neighborhoods are filled with fast food restaurants and suburbs with chain restaurants, it’s not as though we are all surrounded by advertisements pushing us to consume unhealthy foods, it’s not as if school lunches American children grow up on are made out of anything but the best, healthiest ingredients available.

No, it is the personal choices of these bad, bad Lincoln University students that lead to obesity. Change an unhealthy system? Heck, why not just blame the already-marginalized obese for their own health problems.

While they’re at it, why doesn’t Lincoln University add mandatory testing and classes for people with diabetes? And people with high blood pressure? How about students with mental health issues? People with STDs? Students with acne?

What’s the difference? Lifestyle choices can affect all of these health conditions. So why stop at obesity?

Surely it is safe to say our obsession concern about obesity, inspite of the fact that Lincoln University does not mandate testing and classes for any other health condition, is just because we are worried about the poor, ignorant college students’ well-being, and has nothing to do with a national pastime of blaming the victims of our greed-based capitalistic system for their own misfortune.

Just like poor people are poor because they are lazy, fat people are fat because they are lazy. As a matter of fact, poor people are often fat, therefore making the laziness descriptor even more apt. Apter.

Basically, I think we can all agree that what brings fatness and poverty together is that both are caused by personal failure, and not larger forces controlled by fabulously wealthy elites who benefit from keeping people poor and fat. I mean, besides government subsidy money, factory monoculture farming, enormous profit from cheap and fatty food, enormous profit from exploiting labor, and a huge benefit to maintaining a downtrodden lower class from which to draw cheap labor, what is there to gain from creating a system that encourages obesity and poverty? Because the very idea is so ridiculous, personal failure is a much more reasonable explanation. I’m sure James DeBoy would agree with me.

Because by mandating special classes to “teach” the obese about how they have failed and how they are personally responsible for the conditions that led to their health problems, he is thoroughly behind me in the fat = stupid and lazy but other health conditions are legitimate crowd.

And nobody, I mean nobody better make a peep to the effect that it is possible to have a high BMI and yet still be healthy. Come on, that doesn’t even make sense! It’s SCIENCEtm!!!

Blech.