Hot Air

Stop Trying To Be Blissful

Bloomington ex-pat and current law school drone in Oregon, Mike Cagle, points out a new self-help book that sez, essentially, no self-help book is worth a shit.

It’s called F*ck Feelings, which is about as near perfect a title as I can imagine. The New York Post carried a piece on the tome day before yesterday and, generally, when the New York Post tells me the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning, I’ll assume the paper’s got it all wrong. This time, though, the rag is spot-on.

The book’s author, a big shot East Coast shrink named Michael Bennett, tells us to stop spending all our dough on books and DVDs and seminars and sessions that purport to tell us how we can achieve some impossible state of bliss. That nirvana state, he says, doesn’t exist, nor will it ever.

Book Cover

To borrow a paranoia from food fetishists and other nudges who are certain we’re all under the fascist control of one industrial-governmental-scientific cabal or another (and we are, but not to the imaginative extent the Anti-Bigs want us to believe), Doc Bennett had better watch his step before Big Self-Help puts a bullet in him.

Anyway, Bennett, who wrote the book with the help of his comedy-writer daughter, Sarah Bennett, tells us:

Fuck happy. Fuck self-improvement, self-esteem, fairness, helpfulness and everything in between.

Man, how’s Barnes & Noble gonna survive?

Here’s a line from the Kirkus Review blurb about F*ck Feelings:

The authors show us how to stop reaching for the moon, to read the situation, keep cool, and effect what you can. “Sometimes we are simply life’s bitch,” they write.

BTW, the Bennetts say they sprinkle F-bombs and other poesies promiscuously throughout the book because “profanity is a source of comfort, clarity, and strength.”

Well, duh.

Bennett, the MD, writes a simultaneously humorous and serious-as-a-panic-attack blog called — what else? — F*ck Feelings, in which he offers advice and caveats about all the snake-oil self-help authors who are getting rich/richer/richest on your insecurities. He bills himself “Dr. Lastn*me,” explaining “real doctors go by their last names, and you shouldn’t let the Phils, Lauras, Nicks, and Drews cause you more pain.”

The Bennetts, père et fille, posit that life offers us only fleeting moments of contentment and security; cherish those moments and understand the rest of existence is a puzzling load of shit.

Natch, I’d dig an iconoclast and bullshit-caller like Bennett.

His and his daughter’s book is a needed pendulum swing from the ’80s and 90s “inner child,” “Dr. Love,” and self-actualization psychobabble rages.

I can’t wait to read it.

Ergo, Here’s My Own Self-Help List Of Affirmations

The things I’m proud of:

  • I’ve never seen an episode of Friends
  • I still don’t really know what Gangnam style is.
  • I have no idea why the Kardashians first achieved fame
  • I was onto Donald Trump as far back as the ‘80s, thanks to Spy Magazine


  • I’ve never fired a gun
  • I haven’t voted for a Republican since the party came out against the ERA
  • I quit the Catholic church when I was 12
  • I’ve never tried heroin
  • I studied comedy improv at iO (formerly, ImprovOlympic), under Charna Halpern and Del Close
  • I have washed my own clothes since I was 18 years old
  • I scrub my own toilets
  • Mike Royko once wrote a message to me, telling me to “fuck off”



  • I do not own a smart phone
  • I’m not addicted to too many things
  • I have never reproduced
  • I emerged in 1999 from a fifteen year battle with panic disorder and agoraphobia
  • I’m still alive despite suffering from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and Congestive Heart Failure
  • I work out at a gym four or five times a week
  • I once saved 28 people’s lives (and my own) while piloting a DUKW in Lake Michigan


A “Duck” Splashes In

  • My spaghetti sauce
  • I sell books
  • I once fell down a flight of concrete steps while drunk in pitch darkness and never left my feet
  • The Loved One has not brained me up until this point in time
  • I chased a burglar out of my home while stark naked one night
  • I marched against the Gulf War in 1991
  • I volunteered for the Obama campaign in Kentucky in 2008
  • I can type with two fingers as fast as many people using five

There. Now I’m blissful. For the moment.

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