A self help mag for people who hate self help mags
March 4, 2020 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Reasons to be Cheerful is a non-profit editorial project that claims to tell stories "that reveal that there are, in fact, a surprising number of reasons to feel cheerful. Many of these reasons come in the form of smart, proven, replicable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems." Reasons to be Cheerful was founded by artist and musician David Byrne under the banner of his Arbutus Foundation.

The latest articles include The Beautiful Place that Stopped Big Bottled Water and The Planet-Saving Potential of Whale Poop. There is also a piece called Who Killed Tony the Tiger? on how Chile is banning cereal mascots and slapping warning labels on unhealthy foods. (No, I have no idea why it calls itself a self help mag.) Enjoy!
posted by Bella Donna (30 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mod note: Pre-emptive note: in the last few years whenever there is a thread about good news, immediately people respond in a kneejerk way with negative stuff; over time it adds up in a way you probably don't intend. Please consider not doing that.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:51 AM on March 4, 2020 [52 favorites]


FYI: Apparently it has a subtitle that changes, because now I see "A recipe book for solutions. No dietary restrictions." Which is much more appealing to this particular cranky person than the self-help oddness. I mention this in case you, like me, are kind of turned off by the self-help reference (I have read hundreds of self-help tomes, don't @ me.)
posted by Bella Donna at 9:55 AM on March 4, 2020 [8 favorites]


Hi, I love this. Carry on.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:05 AM on March 4, 2020 [4 favorites]


Help yourself, it is called being alive. Walk yourself around, figure out what you like, especially the stuff that doesn't hurt the situation, (Earth.) I gave them my email address, it can't hurt, ha ha ha. I am a fan of living through it, whatever it is. Be catalytic. Thank you for this thread.
posted by Oyéah at 10:18 AM on March 4, 2020 [5 favorites]


What a great find! Thank you for sharing.

Subscribed to the newsletter, followed on IG, followed David Byrne on IG (why was I not doing so already?)

So much media to consume! This might help me for real.
posted by danabanana at 10:26 AM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


In the thread on the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood movie, someone suggested that David Byrne should have played Mister Rogers and it's stuck with me ever since. I feel like this is further confirmation that he's become a sort of Mister-Rogers-for-adults in recent years.
posted by treepour at 10:40 AM on March 4, 2020 [14 favorites]


I'm happy to see that initial mod note and for this post. To share happy news I heard today, here's Alex Trebek giving a 1 year update on his battle with cancer. https://twitter.com/Jeopardy/status/1235233566193152000 He really inspires me. I consider him kind of a modern day Mr. Rogers too. These days I try to find and take energy from those people who seem to totally inhabit and love the exact place they've found themselves.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:18 AM on March 4, 2020 [9 favorites]


I can't believe I'm the first to add the song and video!

This song always makes me cheerful.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:20 AM on March 4, 2020 [7 favorites]


I was really hoping you just linked Psycho Killer.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:23 AM on March 4, 2020 [4 favorites]


Cheer up!
posted by SoberHighland at 11:27 AM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


I ran across this after watching him on SNL and following a rabbit hole to American Utopia and then this. I love that i was reading nerdy articles about things like public transit...by David Byrne and Brian Eno. Hey, why not. The world is weird right now in a lot of bad ways; I'm happy for it to be weird in a positive way. And I have endless respect for Byrne's ideas.
posted by Miko at 11:28 AM on March 4, 2020 [9 favorites]


Is this somehow related to Ed Miliband's podcast (of the same name)?
posted by kickingtheground at 11:36 AM on March 4, 2020


Does anybody know? I only just discovered this as part of a nigh-desperate attempt to (you guessed it): Cheer up!
posted by Bella Donna at 12:06 PM on March 4, 2020


I feel like this is further confirmation that he's become a sort of Mister-Rogers-for-adults in recent years.

I think this was officially cinched when he appeared in John Mulaney's Sack Lunch Bunch special a little bit ago.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:55 PM on March 4, 2020 [4 favorites]


I'm all for having reasons, but I also try hard to be cheerful regardless of circumstances: I have found it to be at least as effective a form of resistance as anything else I've tried.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:06 PM on March 4, 2020 [8 favorites]


kickingtheground, I would assume both the podcast and this are named after the Ian Dury song Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3 (youtube link)
posted by larrybob at 3:20 PM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]


I like the article about housing in Singapore. Along with many, it’s by Byrne himself, and it’s cool how he approaches it by exposing some of his own negativity and biases; then just getting on with it and explaining how Singaporeans like it even though it’s radically different from what he (and lots of we) are used to.

X for people who don’t like X is usually disappointing to everyone imo, but Byrne is making it work for me so far.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:31 PM on March 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


Indeed, you may find yourself,
In another part of the world
... and
you may ask yourself,
what is that beautiful house?

posted by SaltySalticid at 5:36 PM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]


SoberHighland: "I can't believe I'm the first to add the song and video!

This song always makes me cheerful.
"

Spent too much time trying to decipher the lyrics to that song back in the '70s.
posted by octothorpe at 5:39 PM on March 4, 2020


They have a collection titled Sue the Bastards! which certainly makes me cheerful. Thank you for posting this!
posted by katra at 8:41 PM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


I credit that song with saving my life.
posted by evilDoug at 10:26 PM on March 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


I like the article about housing in Singapore.

It's cheerfully naive. It mentions there's an underclass, but not who it is or why it is important; it doesn't mention the workings of local democracy at all. To really understand why Singapore is like it is, one needs to study its history, and ideally from both light and dark angles. But that's probably for another thread, rather than veering this one off.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 3:25 AM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]


I would genuinely love to read that thread, Cardinal Fang. By all means create one if you have any interest at all. I suspect the nature of this publication means that it is cheerfully naïve on a variety of topics. I do appreciate your discretion but seriously, would love a deeper dive on Singapore that includes the dark angles as well as the light ones. Thanks for your comment!
posted by Bella Donna at 4:41 AM on March 5, 2020


that's probably for another thread

Or just write in - there's a contact link. It seems like they might be interested in dialogue.
posted by Miko at 4:43 AM on March 5, 2020


Are we adding songs to help us through the days?.... I hope so: Life is Beautiful by Keb Mo' (joyful blues for the win!)

And the Reasons to be Cheerful site has a whole culture area with articles such as This Is What Classical Music Looks Like; celebrating diversity. Love it.
posted by mightshould at 5:00 AM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]


See also:
Positive News Magazine
Reasons to be cheerful podcast (not related to the website).
posted by penguin pie at 7:29 AM on March 5, 2020


It's cheerfully naive.
Thanks for that perspective. To pull this back to discussing the magazine: I think I don't really mind that much. I learned some stuff about Singapore I didn't know. It doesn't seem anything is incorrect so much as omitted? The article was short enough and clear enough for the time I had. I did pick up on the all-to-brief mention of the underclass, and mentally noted it as something to look into if I want learn more.

I don't expect in-depth political and demographic analysis from Byrne's magazine, but it does seem like it might be a source revealing interesting unknown unknowns, and then I can dive in on my own if I want.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:59 AM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]


There's also Yes! Magazine
posted by Miko at 10:35 AM on March 5, 2020 [1 favorite]


It's called "Yes! Magazine" despite publishing at least five candidates for Betteridges Law of Headlines! :)
posted by rhizome at 11:01 AM on March 5, 2020


Miko, thanks for the link to Yes! I am interested in solutions-oriented magazines that are not business solutions magazines, so that was great to see.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:12 AM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


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