Thursday, May 15, 2014

As If I Needed a New Way to Waste Time on Facebook ...

Today I celebrated my re-retirement with a new project.  (I retired three years ago, but went to work part-time last fall; having put some extra money in the bank, I'm through working for the foreseeable future.)

I've often been critical of what I call the Culture of Therapy, the strange mixture of religion, corporate propaganda, self-help, and watered-down psychiatry that emerged, as far as I noticed it, in the 1970s.  Facebook has thrown a lot of that culture in my face, since many of my friends' activity there consists largely of reposting memes based on affirmations.  These disturb me for several reasons.  For one thing, I understand that they don't work very well unless you're already in a positive mood.  But for another, I see that a depressing number of people I know who aren't in a positive mood rely on them anyway.  It's scary to see just how unhappy many people I know are.  So, for another thing, affirmations seem to be habit-forming.  But they've also been parodied and satirized.

Then I began noticing memes composed of affirmations written over images of Skeletor, a comic / cartoon character from years after my time.  Skeletor Is Love has a Facebook presence and a tumblr of its own.  I couldn't, and still can't, quite tell whether they're meant to be satirical, but they gave me an idea: I found a meme generator on the web and began putting some of the affirmations Skeletor used onto images of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.  I'd been thinking about putting one of the archetypal proto-affirmations, Fritz Perls' "Gestalt Prayer," on images of various well-known villains, such as Ayn Rand or Anita Bryant; I still want to do that.  Hell, I might do it with Comrade Kim Jong-Un.  I posted my first Comrade Kim affirmation on Facebook; a friend liked it and encouraged me to start a page devoted to these memes.  So I created Kim Jong Un Affirms You.  It's not much of a joke, and will probably wear thin quickly, but until I get tired of it, it'll be a handy of way of procrastinating when I don't want to read or work on blog posts.