Frantic unpicking of some very tight stitching ensued. And now I can actually carry my cellphone without having to carry a bag.
This is momentous. Yes it is.
And in its pages, you can read all about how there's something wrong with you. There's been something wrong with you since the day you were born, there's no escaping it, everyone's flawed, and you need to read this book and do what it says otherwise you'll always be unhappy. The only way to be a better person is to FOLLOW THE BOOK!
Sound familiar? Thought so. There are probably a bunch of people reading this who immediately thought of the Christian bible when they read that. But you know, it's not just the bible. Go to your local bookshop and have a look in the self-help section. Or go to Fishpond and type 'self help' into the search bar. 10 pages of self-help books, 20 to the page! You could be (from page 2):
Paranoid and suspicious
In a relationship that needs rescuing
In need of changing your life
or suffering from:
Belief in Angels (yes, apparently even angel-believers need help)
It's enough to make me feel ill just reading it. And that's the message that comes across to me loud and clear when I'm in that section of a book shop too: There Is Something Wrong With You And You Can Only Fix It By Reading This Book (or this one, or this one).
I've waffled before about how magazines do the same thing. And there are numerous websites out there too, all giving advice on how to fix yourself because You Are Broken.
I'm not saying these things are necessarily a bad thing - I've used them myself, and often the information has been useful to address a particular problem I've been having, or an area that I want to make better. But there's this HUGE industry that's grown up around this idea that we need fixing.
I was chatting with pombagira about it last night, and she mentioned that it all started with Shirley Maclaine in the 1970s. And it occurred to me that it's not that big a shift from the Christian doctrine that we are all sinners and need to study the bible and live by its edicts to be saved, to the New Age Self Help one that we are all flawed in some way and need to read these books and live by their advice to be healed.
If I were a Religious Studies/Psych/Sociology type, I'd be keen to explore that shift and its timing in relation to the movement away from Christianity as central to people's spirituality in the Western world - has that movement away from reliance on religion just been a replacement of one dogma with the same dogma couched in different terms?
Enquiring minds want to know. But they want someone else to do the work because they are busy trying to figure out why hallucinogens are illegal.
And for edm, who very kindly fiddled with our non-existent internet last night, I did call Telstraclear, and yes, the outage was at their end, and they reckon it's fixed now. Thank you for the helpful advice - I'm now confident that I can at least diagnose whose problem it is when/if it happens again. Yay!
PS I've had this icon for a while but this is the first time I've remembered to use it.