Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Happiness, Wimpiness And Maureen Dowd
After all, we're almost exactly the same, right?
Except, of course, that I have this little neurological problem and my entire life is pretty precarious. Except that I don't make nearly as much as she does. Except that no one reads me, while everyone reads her. Except that I'm not nearly as good looking as she is.
Except that I have a man and she doesn't....
Much as I love my particular man, somehow I don't think he's the only reason I'm happy. Anyway, I can't imagine what a Maureen Dowd would do with a man if she had one. She doesn't seem to like or trust them. I can imagine her roaming warily through her apartment, watching vigilantly for traces of the looming patriarchy such as leaving the toilet seat up.
Self-absorbed people should get cats for companionship. They will scratch you if they are displeased, whereas a decent man will just wander off and not come back.
Well, I stumbled across G as in Good H as in Happy, and maybe this is the explanation:
Without an adequate number of bracing, "bad-enough" experiences, with encouragement to overcome them, children may become less capable of happiness.Does confidence, motivation and self-assurance really arise from the challenges we face in life? There's a link to an excellent article called "The Overpraised American" at Policy Review:
Every age develops its own peculiar forms of pathology, which express in exaggerated form its underlying character structure,” the historian and social critic Christopher Lasch wrote in The Culture of Narcissism. For Lasch, writing in 1979, that character structure was an unrelenting narcissism, one that threatened to undermine the rugged individualism of previous eras and, quite possibly, liberalism itself.I have noticed this. I think of it as wimp-ism. Far too many younger people react to trouble as if it is a aberrant and unbelievable circumstance, rather than a normal part of life. This also seems to be more prevalent among the younger women in the northeast. They aren't happy, because they are always offended and impinged upon by something or some one.
Moreover, the self-esteem movement nascent when Lasch was writing has reached maturity, and its progeny — the children of Lasch’s 1970s narcissists — are now forming their own families. None of them, evidently, is merely average. Many of them embrace an increasingly egalitarian family structure, uncritically and enthusiastically use personal technologies that alter the rhythms of private life and isolate family members from each other, and approach institutions such as schools and the workplace with a healthy sense of entitlement. They spend less time with their children than parents in Lasch’s day, rely more on experts for advice about how to deal with them when they do, and begin building a resumé of activities and test scores for them from an increasingly early age. When they seek religion, it is a heavily therapeutic kind of faith, and they avail themselves of rafts of advice and consumer products — from Suze Orman’s relentlessly upbeat financial self-esteem directives to the ministrations of professional closet organizers — to help them cope with the “stresses” of their daily lives.
I think happiness is more a mental skill than anything else. I think it can be taught and learned, and the first prerequisite is to be grateful for the good things one has in life. A habit of respecting and caring for others seems to be another major factor. Anyone who reads poor Maureen's columns has to be aware that these qualities don't resound through her writing.
I feel terribly sorry for her, because she is a woman who has life at her fingertips, and appears to be unwilling to live it. I imagine she would find that insulting, but Lord knows she's missing out. I know she doesn't have many problems to shake her out of her state of miserable complacency, but if she could just start doing something personally bout the problems of a few real people I bet she'd have a better life.
Here's where she could start.
WAIT!! SHE COULD WRITE ABOUT IT! AND THEN EVERYONE WOULD KNOW HOW WONDERFUL SHE REALLY IS! MAYBE SHE COULD GET A PHOTOGRAPHER TO TAKE PICTURES!
(Note to Modo: Ditch the red barfly shoes for the photos. They are probably sticky on the bottoms, anyway.)
It's not exactly the case, but sometimes I think happiness is basically a choice. The same things happen to most of us(we dont' all get cancer or whatever, but we all have good and bad things), but we do make a choice about which ones we spend out time thinking about.
I don't know MoDo and I don't want to, but she gives off the vibe that she thinks she is better than everyone else. One of the things that typically makes a relationship work is the bizarre fact that your partner thinks you are better than you could possibly be. Entering into one where you know your partner is convinced there is no way you can measure up, at best isn't going to last. The term destructive comes to mind.
It's amatuer hour at therapy tonight.
Very well said! I agree wholeheartedly.
SC&A - We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz.... Becuz, becuz....
"Except that no one reads me, while everyone reads her"
I read you, and I don't read her,(at least not willingly).
" I have a man and she doesn't...."
You figured out the Great Big Secret of Being Loved:
(It's sometimes hard, but hey, even I can manage it, and I take some pride in being the "antidote" to self-esteem.)
"I feel terribly sorry for her, because she is a woman who has life at her fingertips, and appears to be unwilling to live it."
Your empathy does you credit, but MoDo, as we all do, made her choices, and those choices invariably entail sacrifices.
She has hers, you have yours, I have mine.
We deal with them or they deal with us, don't they?
A "highly educated" woman ain't gunna find no man other than a loser who is used to being abused.
You're right. Except I think I would define the Great Big Secret Of Being Loved as being ready to love and admire someone else. That would include a man, if she wants one.
Howard - I don't think of MoDo as being a big brain. She is bitchy and hysterical. I doubt I would want her even as a roommate.
As for "highly-educated", most of the well-educated women I know don't think at all like MoDo and are very happy with their husbands. I think the problem with MoDo is that she's mis-educated. She is wandering around the world sniping at imaginary male offenses, because that's the lens through which she's been taught to view the world.
It just rings through her writing. Nothing's her fault. Everything's someone else's fault.
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