My attention was drawn to this by Dorian Lynskey’s column today. I’ve never seen it before and it’s quite remarkable. Not least because I am frequently accused of ‘negativity’ and it sums up the response to that very succinctly. It’s full of lines I’ve found myself saying to @wotyougot in recent months during one of our frequent conversations where we try to shape out our personal manifestos.
I particularly drawn your attention to this quote:
Of course, these days it’s more fashionable to be positive. I hate positivity. The problem with positivity is that it’s an attitude that’s decidedly about lying back, getting screwed, and accepting it. Happily. It’s totally apolitical. It’s very, very personal and one-on-one. It’s not about changing society, it’s about caring about yourself. In fact, it’s totally about ignoring one’s economic role in society, and so it works in favor of the system.
You quite frequently come into contact with people, especially in London, who hold up ‘positivity’ as a personal mantra. They frequently work in PR and marketing. Almost without fail, their ‘positivity’ takes the form of refusing to engage in any ‘contentious’ issue and instead only engaging in banal chat about rubbish. On the rare occasions when they do express an opinion about something more substantial than ‘TOWIE’, they are utterly apologetic about it. They convey the impression of being shadows rather than human beings.
Of course, an empty, kneejerk nihilism can be just as pointless. As this piece makes clear, a valuable ‘negativity’ comes from thinking critically about the world around you and trying to deconstruct its dogmas. From feminism to neo-liberalism, from civil rights to the Olympics, from pop music to privatisation – no subject should be seen as ‘off-limits’ to questioning. That is surely how we, both as individuals and a society, learn and refine?