Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happiness, Part III

As you scan the newstand and catch the latest pandering cover package about ever-softer subjects, you may occasionally wonder, like me, if there's any future for newsweeklies. Between the faux-trend pieces and ever-shorter articles, they don't often feel very vital to the serious reader's diet. But there are exceptions. This splendid piece in Newsweek, about what it calls "the backlash against the happiness rat race," delivers an awful lot of insight about what it calls "the medicalizing of sadness." For some, the author writes, "rather than listening to Prozac, they want to listen to their hearts, not have them chemically silenced." Anyway, I highly recommend this article. It now joins our continuing series on the topic of happiness. To review earlier explorations of that subject, including a great comment string, you can go here and here.

6 Comments:

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

I often find that music with a melancholic tinge improves my mood. I have also noticed that music intended to be "relaxing" often leaves me a bit tense; dissonant, complex music I like relaxes me.

I may have gotten cross-wired sometime in the past...or maybe not. I bet Art can talk about this phenomenon more articulately. By the way, Art, I downloaded music from your site to an MP3 device and have enjoyed listening while walking or running.

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I love that cross-polination between frequent commenters. We'll see if Art is still reading, and if so, feels moved to respond.

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger Wordsanctuary said...

Years ago, a social worker would enter my son's particularly feisty second grade class after lunch to play "relaxing music" for the students. (Perhaps this might have worked with frazzled staff and teachers.) I remember my son saying, "Mom, she is trying to teach us to relax--but the music is so boring." As far as moods, and medicating them, we have lost so many of our natural supports--friends in one place, extended family nearby, gardening for food (earth contact and sun and non techno sounds), gentle walking, simple work-with-hands as part of daily survival, community connectedness, hope--no wonder the pharmaceutical industry is thriving, even with the numerous yucky side effects.

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Nicely said, Maria. Thanks.

 
At 7:08 PM, Anonymous TootsNYC said...

My husband laments the softening of the U.S. newsweekly. Newsweek, he says, has become a women's service magazine. I'll show him your comments, and that story--but I bet he'd say that, no matter how nicely written it is, it's still a women's service magazine topic.

He's switched to the Economist, and has taken to keeping score. He'll call me at work and say, "this week, it's Time 84, the Economist 126" (listing the final folio).

It's nice to know he and I aren't the only one noticing the softening of their topics.

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's funny that you mention the Economist vs. Newsweek, because the editor of Newsweek was complaining about that very thing in an article this week (link below) in the New York Observer: how people are always saying they prefer The Economist to his mag. I think any rational, sentient person with reasonable eyesight would have to agree that The Economist is just a better mag. It's serious, well written and just plain wonderful.

http://www.observer.com/2008/john-meachams-cri-de-coeur-why-do-you-read-i-economist-i-instead-i-newsweek-i

 

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