Highly recommended viewing to put your job worries in perspective:
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Our deeply held assumption is that we are not only meant to look, we are meant to look like the beauties we see in media. Who said that? Who told you that someone else’s beauty is something you should strive to “attain?” My guess is that they were trying to sell you something.
The problem is not that models are beautiful. It is not even that they are impossibly beautiful—extraordinarily young, skinny and photoshopped. It is only our relationship to the images that is unhealthy and dangerous. The danger is in our unshakable belief that our beauty ideal is aspirational, that perfection is something we should always strive towards.
What marketing does that museums do not is to transform our natural appreciation of a beautiful form into a push to buy a product. A model is presented with a call to action—buy my make up, buy my jeans. Advertisers create the implicit promise that not only can this beauty be contemplated, it can be imitated. And it is easy to do so, just buy the jacket, the perfume, the deodorant, the car. If it is so easy to become beautiful, if all you have to do is buy a shampoo, then it really is a personal failing if you don’t make the effort.
The real problem is not that the physical form of the model is “unobtainable” by most of us, but that we think of beauty as a product, as something we should “obtain.” We tyrannize ourselves with the belief that we should possess anything we see that pleases us. "I see physical beauty, it pleases me, I should have it."
That is a shame, not only because of the way it makes us feel about ourselves, but also because it robs us of the joy of simple aesthetic appreciation of rare physical beauty. We should celebrate the capricious twist of genetic fate that creates a Heidi Klum, and be grateful that it occasionally happens.
If we don’t question the popular paradigm that aligns “wealth” with money and we make the pursuit of cash a primary goal, we may find that we have little time left over for poetry. And on the flip side, if we neglect our material needs in pursuit of a life poetic, we are likely to end up in real, uninspiring distress.
But if we agree that a prosperous life is one with time to literally and figuratively smell the roses, and then luxuriate in the time to write about it, then we are establishing a root system for a new “poetry of prosperity” — one which we feed and water with our attention and our words. By recognizing, welcoming and prioritizing both our material and creative needs, we have a far better chance of striking a balance that feels like true wealth and can sustain us over the long term.
Through a series of vignettes from his life, he posits that covenantal love is at direct odds with modern consumer culture, which sells the idea that life is competitive, sex is a commodity, and love is scarce. Most of all, consumerist ideology is rooted in the notion that we must abandon what we have the moment something better comes along. As our larger narrative about everyday life becomes inextricably intertwined with the consumerist mentality, romantic comedies, diamond jewelry commercials, and sex selling products as diverse as deodorant and fast food can force the most happily wedded couple to reconsider what constitutes happiness, what it means to live in marital bliss.
Today, we are a statistic; we are one in every six families in the country. We are no longer the upper middle class. As a matter of fact I saw a frightening chart the other day that put our family of five under the poverty line. We are poor. Shocking to me, but nothing new in 2011.
But something unprecedented happened since last Wednesday.
In the words of author Gene O'Kelly, not only have I let go of something precious but I've also gained something precious, and that is the palpable sense of being carried by my community when I couldn't walk through this letting go process by myself...
This week, I have been given the gift of community and friendship that almost (almost) eclipses the loss that I will feel leaving this street and this house.
I should also mention that releasing the bondage of all my "stuff' is very similar to the experience of shedding unwanted pounds. We start to feel what it feels like to be free of unnecessary weight that we didn't know was weighing us down until it was gone. Finally, we can breathe.
So if this is the way it feels to be Broke, then I am the Richest Broke Girl in all of history. Bring it on.
Why does The New York Times Book Review, one of the last book-review sections of a national newspaper left in this country, dedicate six pages that might otherwise be given over to reflection on books to their commercial ranking instead?
If between the lines of those new best-seller lists is an obituary for bookstores, there is also one for The New York Times Book Review itself: Soon all that might be left of it is a bundle of best-seller lists. It is not the notion of a best-seller list that rankles: Commerce is a part of literary life, and the commercial distinction of a serious book—not everything that sells well is dross—lifts the spirits and the bottom lines of publishers and writers. But six pages of Dow Jones-like charts? Why this obsession with the money side, even while everyone agrees that salability has little relationship to quality? The independent spirit of the bookstore is, at its best, a much-needed bulwark against this obsession.
Yes, the technology is real, and, yes, e-books will exist—but why to the exclusion of books and bookstores? Is convenience really the highest American value?