We talk about the history of self-help movements and gilded gurus that proselytize their cure-all tonics, wish-fulfillment effects, et cetera, and find something interesting in their modern roots (socialism). We also lay out a taxonomy of the various subspecies of contemporary self-help/life coach/guru figures, from OG kings of the grift like Tony Robbins to the humanoid slugs in the Pickup Artist underbelly to the deranged infomercial doom-pastor Jim Bakker and his reasonably priced buckets of Food™ slurry. We close the episode with a look at how neoliberalism, social atomization, and “personal responsibility” (i.e. self-help) converge and self-perpetuate on grand socio-economic scales.
Check out Ian's podcast Camp ReEducation:
- JD's Recommendations: 1) Shadow and Bone 2) Bullshit Jobs
- JNM's Recommendations: 1) Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America 2) Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America both written by Barbara Ehrenreich
- Ian's Recommendation: Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism by Fredric Jameson
Further Reading, Viewing, Listening
- The Radical Origins of Self-Help Literature
- THE SELF-HELP MYTH
- Here’s Why Tony Robbins Should Definitely Not Be Your Guru
- 'Bright-Sided': When Happiness Doesn't Help
- Every show-related link is corralled and available here.
- Heat Death of the Universe – @heatdeathpod
- JD Newland – @jdnewland
- Joshua Nomen-Mutatio – @ImbalancingAct
- Please send all Letters of Derision, Indifference, Inquiry, Mild Elation, et cetera to: firstname.lastname@example.org