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Posts tagged "Jean Twenge"

Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

Alrighty, my friends, it’s time for our annual round up of favorites, which I had way too much fun putting together. As always, these are predominantly personal picks, albeit ones with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. TV went live last week. (Click here to check out last year’s list). Here goes:

Music

Favorite Discoveries

Jimmy Webb. This one counts as about 20 discoveries wrapped up into one. I had known the hits–“Galveston”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Macarthur Park”, who doesn’t?–but that was as far as it went. Talk about the tip of the iceberg! Webb’s is a gift that’s been giving for nigh on…

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Another Week Ends: Houston, Taylor Swift, Smartphones, Broken Window Policing, the Silicon Valley Hustle, and the Shape of Water

Another Week Ends: Houston, Taylor Swift, Smartphones, Broken Window Policing, the Silicon Valley Hustle, and the Shape of Water

1. A gut-punch for all of us smartphone-using Millennials (or parents thereof). The Atlantic’s massive feature piece, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” painstakingly catalogs all the ways that our devices have ruined the mental health outlook for today’s young people, referred to in the essay as “iGen” teenagers. These teenagers, who were born after the birth of the internet, and have had access to iPhones and similar “screen time” since early childhood, have staggering rates of depression and loneliness—moving towards what the author, psychologist Jean Twenge, describes as “the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.”

Even when a seismic…

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Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: Living in a Material World

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Living in a Material World

Welcome to the fifth installment of act three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here.

Nearing the end of our year-long quest to define greed, today we’re going to explore materialism, a logical result of the phenomena we’ve discussed and debated in Act III: the prominence of narcissistic individualism, the increase in religious “nones,” the build-a-god mentality of personal spirituality, and the rise in moral subjectivity, even among Christians.

To start, let’s all get on the same page: What exactly is…

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Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: The Rise of the "Nones"

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Rise of the “Nones”

Welcome to the second installment of act three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here.

Last time we met Dr. Jean Twenge, author and professor, who has documented in our nation “a clear cultural shift toward individualism and focusing on self.” With the help of Ayn Rand and Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, we also asked ourselves, In our radically selfish world, what god do we now serve?

Fifteen years after her groundbreaking research on individualism, Dr. Twenge helps us answer…

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Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: The Monster of "We"

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Monster of “We”

Welcome to the first installment of Act Three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here. 

In Act One of this series we discovered that as a society we cannot agree on a collectively applicable definition of greed. In Act Two we examined a half dozen answers to the question Why. Starting today we’ll take a deeper dive into the philosophy and theology of greed, with a look at how America’s long-celebrated individualism has evolved.

In his 2005 book Greed, Dr. Julian Edney…

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The Cost of Teenage Optimism

The Cost of Teenage Optimism

Here’s a timely one. Last week a major new study of happiness hit the web, courtesy of the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science. The title of the report itself says it all, “More Happiness for Young People and Less for Mature Adults: Time-Period Differences in Subjective Wellbeing in the United States, 1972-2014”.

If you’ll recall, last year The Atlantic ran a major cover story on “The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis”,  theorizing that motorcycle purchases and Tuscan retreats coincide with the bottom point of the “U-Curve of Happiness”, AKA the phenomenon reported across countries, cultures and even species(!) of self-reported…

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Another Week Ends: Religious Justice, Self-Esteem Pathologies, WWE SummerSlam, and Jealous Partners

Another Week Ends: Religious Justice, Self-Esteem Pathologies, WWE SummerSlam, and Jealous Partners

1)  Well, if you planned on taking your kids to see Planes, thinking it would be the aviary of the Cars legacy, think again. As it has happened before, Pixar has created something seemingly unrepeatable, except unto itself (and unto scripture), and the Atlantic tells us what it is. Luke Epplin says it is the Charlie Brown that is missing in today’s films—and replacing it is the “magic-feather” of self-determination that any chalky character can stir up within to reach his or her dreams. It’s not that the cult of self-esteem is just the name of the game with most…

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Another Week Ends: Spoiled Kids, Harvard Perfectionism, KKKlan Grace, Lonergan's Lament, Negative Thinking, Mormonism, Golf Ethics, Sorkinisms, and Fall Conference Update

Another Week Ends: Spoiled Kids, Harvard Perfectionism, KKKlan Grace, Lonergan’s Lament, Negative Thinking, Mormonism, Golf Ethics, Sorkinisms, and Fall Conference Update

1. Over at The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert surveyed the latest swath of parenting books, asking the question “Why Are American Kids So Spoiled?” Much of the article reiterates what we’ve been hearing with alarming frequency the past couple years, namely that the current “helicopter/snowplow” culture of control is backfiring, royally. It’s an honest if also fairly depressing analysis: the “performancism” epidemic being perpetuated (somewhat out of necessity) by US colleges has filtered down to the preschool level, which, combined with the hangover from the self-esteem movement and incredible advances in technology has created this weird situation where kids grow…

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The Chimera of Contingent Self-Esteem

The Chimera of Contingent Self-Esteem

A few months old, but nonetheless a remarkable article from Psychology Today, “The Boom and Bust Ego” which details some recent reversals in self-esteem research, some of which bears a resemblance to certain dynamics we trumpet on this site. In particular, it seems that “contingent self-esteem” functions as a pretty terrific euphemism for “works righteousness.” And the various descriptions of how low self-esteem feeds on itself sounds quite a bit like living under a curse. That is, the scheme itself is pretty futile, with the attempt to establish esteem leading to either despair or (short-lived periods of) self-righteousness. The ego…

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Overinvested Parents and Their Unhappy Kids

Overinvested Parents and Their Unhappy Kids

Holy smokes! If you haven’t read Lori Gottlieb’s article in The Atlantic, “How To Land Your Kid In Therapy,” do yourself a favor. She’s put together a remarkable overview of the pitfalls of modern parenting, focusing particularly on the relationship between parental over-involvement and the rates of anxiety/depression in their offspring. A practicing clinical psychologist herself, Gottlieb makes a strong case for the culture of self-esteem having produced a supremely narcissistic generation that has serious trouble dealing with disappointment. It’s almost The Incredibles-argument verbatim: when everyone is special, no one is special – instead, we all become a bunch of…

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