(Blogger's note: This YouTube video includes curse words and talk about sex...don't watch if easily offended).
Alright, I'll admit it. When Jack Burger gave that oh-so-sage advice of "he's just not that into you" on an episode of "Sex and the City," I practically stood up and applauded.
"About time!" I thought to myself as I recalled the countless hours my girlfriends and I have wasted on trying to figure out why some mediocre dude hadn't called back, which went something like this:
Girl 1: "But it's been a day and a half, shouldn't he have called by now? I mean, we had a good time, at least I thought we did. It's because I'm too fat."
Girls 2&3: "You are not fat!" (in unison).
Girl 2: "He'll call, sweetie. He's probably just busy."
Girl 3: "Yeah. Or maybe he liked you so much, he's nervous to call you back."
Girl 1: (shoves more Cookie Dough ice cream into her mouth).
In my oh-so-humble opinion, that was the line heard 'round the world when it first aired. A light bulb went off in so many women's head after that episode appeared, I'm pretty sure NASA had an influx of UFO sightings. And ultimately, I think it was good for women-kind. We could finally stop wasting our time on guys who wanted nothing to do with us once we accepted this revelation.
But just like so many pop culture movements, the "he's just not that into you" mentality has now spawned an extreme movement in the self-help and advice niche. According to a Christian Science Monitor article, the trend in the self-help genre is to now tell you in no uncertain terms that you are an idiot.
"Experts say their popularity reflects a demand from young, mainly female readers for in-your-face entertainment mixed with advice. While some say this new writing style may work where traditional prose or experts have failed, others question whether this trend degrades the reader and reflects poorly on our self-centered society," the article states.
Some of my personal favorites in this new genre:
"Skinny Bitch: Stop Being a Moron and Start Getting Skinny"
"You're Fat! Now Lose It"
"Why You're Still Single: Things You're Friends Would Tell You If Promised Not To Get Mad"
(And no, in the words of the immortal Dave Barry, I am not making these titles up).
The article goes on to state that these books reflect the pop culture and ethic of the time period. Apparently, our generation needs a good, swift, collective kick in the pants to get our crap together.
I've never been one for self-help books anyway, but a lot of people are (according to the article, one half of Americans have bought a self-help book at least once in their lives). So does this new trend work better than the touchy-feely "I'm OK, You're OK" generation of self-improvement?
Or is it simply that self help books in general, no matter what hook they use, don't work because as Americans, we're always on the look-out for the easy way out. We'll do anything to lose weight, except eat right and exercise. We'll do anything to make a relationship work, except compromise. We'll do anything to make money, except work hard and save our money.
To be honest, I don't think the problem is that we haven't found the right formula for a self-help book because there is no right formula. Simply put, self help books don't work. If they did, why do we need so many with so many different philosophies?
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