Bring Me the Head of Norman Vincent Peale: Self Care and the American Obsession with the Power of Positive Thinking

I don’t know when I first heard the term “toxic positivity” but it was sometime after my father was diagnosed with advancing dementia and before my own initial bout with breast cancer. The concept, though, is relatively simple. Toxic positivity is a kind of cultural obsession with the necessity of positive thinking or the belief that people should always put a positive spin on every experience, even the profoundly tragic. It’s a kind of silver lining run amok: wherein instead of acknowledging the good that can sometimes emerge from the bad, you gild the entire cloud in a precious, glittery veneer of happy thoughts. And American culture is utterly obsessed with it.

Ep #83 Parasocial relationships & Strangers: Dr Ian Pollock on the Origin of The Familiar Strange

The Familiar Strange · Ep #83 Parasocial relationships & Strangers: Dr Ian Pollock on the Origin of The Familiar Strange Matt’s back this week with an interview with one of the original Familiar Strangers Dr Ian Pollock. Ian discusses the origins of the Familiar Strange, why it started and whether it helped or hindered his … Continue reading Ep #83 Parasocial relationships & Strangers: Dr Ian Pollock on the Origin of The Familiar Strange

Too Fat to Be an Anthropologist

In what now feels like a lifetime ago, I was having one last catch up with a mate from my PhD cohort before we both set off for the field. We’d grabbed burgers at a burger bar in Canberra and were nursing a couple of pints. As I returned to the table after a brief visit to the bathroom, my mate said to me, “Ah, Alex, I’m glad you’re back. I was just about to say to Sarah (my partner) that we have so much in common – neither of us originally studied anthropology, both of us are from a development studies background, and we’re both too fat to be anthropologists.”

Ep #82 Pork Barreling Pollies & Learning How to be Social Again: This Month on TFS 

The Familiar Strange · Ep #82 Pork Barreling Pollies & Learning How to be Social Again: This Month on TFS This month we dive into the recent political scandals in Australian politics. Familiar Stranger Alex gives us a brief overview of the current scandal involving former New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian. He asks the … Continue reading Ep #82 Pork Barreling Pollies & Learning How to be Social Again: This Month on TFS