The miserable and the horrible.
July 10, 2006 7:39 PM   Subscribe

In Branson, MO, happy is you!
posted by Captaintripps at 7:42 PM on July 10, 2006

"Las Vegas...if it were run by Ned Flanders"
posted by daninnj at 8:06 PM on July 10, 2006

You really can't buy happiness, study confirms.

[San Francisco Chronicle | July 9, 2006]
posted by ericb at 8:14 PM on July 10, 2006

Is this something I'd have to have serotonin to understand?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:16 PM on July 10, 2006

The New Science of Happiness
posted by ericb at 8:17 PM on July 10, 2006

I don't think I'd classify Savannah GA as Bible Belt, despite its being located in Georgia.
posted by raysmj at 8:28 PM on July 10, 2006

And maybe the test:

(I'm too unhappy to bother with html)
posted by jmgorman at 8:48 PM on July 10, 2006

I think you guys are killing the server. I cant get my test results.
posted by subaruwrx at 9:21 PM on July 10, 2006

Dark happiness.

This article, a spin off of Sticherbeast's interesting main link, is a crock, end to end.

Previously on MetaFilter and more.

I never thought that happy face logo was an authentic depiction of happiness but an artificially sweet version of narcosis.

Most emotional states are complex mixtures of many feelings, all tangled, and to try and stuff a marvelous combination into some banal term, "happiness", seems to distort the real into the unreal.

There's the calm triumph of tidying up one's desk and paying bills, a serene moment looking up through tree branches on a Spring afternoon, that delicious fresh out of a steamy hot shower vigor, sinking my nose into the heady aroma of a cappuccino while talking with a friend, orgasmic lust satisfied, memories of a trip to a particularly wonderful art exhibit, getting massaged, enjoying singing Christmas carols even though I'm Buddhist, laughing loudly at Mefi snarkers who really get a zinger in, thinking tenderly about my neighbor's dog's eyes, feeling glad for a friend who lost the weight she wanted to, loving, feeling loved, looking up at a shelf full of books I really enjoyed reading, wearing my Nike Air shoes and feeling that boing in my footstep, feeling workably comfortable with who I am flaws and all, having memories of times I'm proud about, being grateful to have people here with whom I can share intelligent conversation, learning and discussion...

The complex feelings that come up after 2 decades of therapy, a satisfaction in understanding life more fully, feeling I understand myself and others in a fulfilling way. A paradox I found after years of therapy is that I think it's possible to be depressed by looking deeply into past misery, matured by the truth-seeking and broader undertanding of humanity and at the same time made happier by that understanding. The deeper my capacity to feel and comprehend my suffering, the deeper my capacity to feel happy in all its myriad variations.
posted by nickyskye at 9:28 PM on July 10, 2006 [3 favorites]

The test site seems to be experiencing some problems. For those not wanting to register, there are 24 sets of five statements, you pick the one most describes how you feel. In most cases they go from what you would expect a clinically depressed person would say to what someone on cocaine would say. For example:

A. I feel like a failure.

B. I do not feel like a winner.

C. I feel like I have succeeded more than most people.

D. As I look back on my life, all I see are victories.

E. I feel I am extraordinarily successful.

The scoring system may be broken.
posted by justkevin at 9:29 PM on July 10, 2006

Ugh. That Seligman guy is such a snake-oil salesman:

His books Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness were best sellers, found on self-help racks and published in twenty languages; until a year ago, he had a life-coaching concern, in which he trained 1,000 people at a clip in positive-psychology techniques, by conference call (and at $2,000 per head). One of his Websites,, charges subscribers $9.95 per month for his materials, questionnaires, and forums. (“We are so confident that this program will help you, we’ve developed a no-obligation, limited-time offer to try Dr. Seligman’s powerful program for one month free,” the Website assures.)

Apparently happiness still involves fleecing your fellow man. No thanks.
posted by vacapinta at 9:43 PM on July 10, 2006

Pages written in all italics make me decidedly unhappy.
posted by knave at 9:55 PM on July 10, 2006

Happines is like an orgasm.

I don't want to be happy all the time anymore than I want to be constantly cumming.
posted by HTuttle at 10:37 PM on July 10, 2006

The happiest, he reports, is Branson, Missouri’s.

I just don't see it. So many depressed musicians here...
posted by sourwookie at 11:00 PM on July 10, 2006

“I think what Methodism did is take this terrifically important premise, which is that we can participate in our own grace. That we can do things to be better people.” Seligman, in the article.

That was an altogether good read. My belly is full of cheap penne pasta and brand name, jarred sauce. I am rolling in abundant joy. Let's hope this life of leisure does not conclude in deranged beriberi with vultures circling, and if it does, may I manage a methodist grin. Cheers!
posted by eegphalanges at 11:04 PM on July 10, 2006

I have to say that I live in New York and I giggled my way through this article.... it was simply too much!

Not that it was wrong -- it was just too close to the truth... though I'm actually overall pretty damn happy myself.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:12 PM on July 10, 2006

Like most New Yorkers I know, I can’t imagine living in most other places in the world. My troubles would surely be aggravated, rather than solved, by relocating to Branson.

posted by delmoi at 11:21 PM on July 10, 2006

I like justkevin's observation that the "happy" answers veer into "cocaine high" territory. This one, in particular:

My existence has a lasting, large, and positive impact on the world.

It brought to mind the story about how the truly incompetent are blissfully unaware of their incompetence. I mean, how many people with a clear notion of the world can honestly evaluate themselves this way?

I was taught the "happy pig vs sad Socrates" view as a kid, and always considered it rather shallow. This test seems like a worthy embodiment.
posted by bjrubble at 12:25 AM on July 11, 2006

bjrubble : "It brought to mind the story about how the truly incompetent are blissfully unaware of their incompetence. I mean, how many people with a clear notion of the world can honestly evaluate themselves this way?"

Oh, the irony.

To make it explicit: how does one know if one has a "clear notion" of the world?
posted by Gyan at 12:41 AM on July 11, 2006

posted by Space Coyote at 12:41 AM on July 11, 2006


you know why
posted by Hat Maui at 12:42 AM on July 11, 2006

Happy happy joy joy joy!
posted by flabdablet at 2:55 AM on July 11, 2006

The YouTube video of Happy Happy Joy Joy.

There's also the delight of Zippety Doo Dah, sung by James Baskett on the Tales of Uncle Remus album [ click on week 4 ] at the fantastic Kiddie Records site, posted previously by MeFite Robot Johnny.


Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh my what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Mister Bluebird on my shoulder
It's the truth, it's actch'll
Ev'rything is satisfactch'll
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day!
posted by nickyskye at 9:21 AM on July 11, 2006

Gyan: How does one know anything? Most people are in fact able to evaluate themselves fairly accurately, but across all areas those who are least competent tend to grossly overrate themselves. My point was that the answer was so wildly over the top -- apart from inventors and leaders of states or social movements, only a vanishingly small number of people have a large and lasting impact on the world -- that I'd wager that 99% of people who give that answer do so either because they are complely manic or because they have a profoundly stunted fishbowl of a world-view.
posted by bjrubble at 10:07 AM on July 11, 2006

I have a friend who is named S Myles C****. Yeah, his real first name is "S". I think his hippy parents wanted him to be called "SMiles". But we just call him Myles. Freaking hippys, they were all in my town for the Rainbow gathering this year.

Anyhow, doesn't Wallmart hold the TM on the Smily face? Really, leave it up to a big Cock-peration to try and TM happiness.
posted by cdavidc at 10:31 AM on July 11, 2006

bjrubble : "How does one know anything? Most people are in fact able to evaluate themselves fairly accurately,"

Aren't you contradicting your initial premise. You first profess a profound skepticism in the form of that question, and then assert the opposite stance without a supporting justification. I am wondering how is it that you know that you are competent when the incompetent are unable to recognize their incompetence. The thesis is unfalsifiable, since the observer's competence is also always under question.
posted by Gyan at 12:20 PM on July 11, 2006

doesn't Wallmart hold the TM on the Smily face?

The smiley face was invented by Harvey Ball in the early '60s for State Mutual Life Assurance of Worcester, MA.
"In 1964, State Mutual cooked up a 'friendship campaign' to get employees to smile whenever they answered the phone, paid a claim, or typed a report. The company turned to Ball for graphic support. Ball reported that he spent about 10 minutes designing the smiley face, and he was paid $45 for it. This was the only profit that Ball ever made from his most famous creation." [source]

"State Mutual, similarly, did not make any money from the design. Ball's son, Charles Ball is reported to have said his father never regretted not registering the copyright. Telegram & Gazette reported Charles Ball as saying 'he was not a money-driven guy, he used to say, "Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time"'.

The associated 'Have a Nice Day' tag line was not part of the original design. Brothers Bernard and Murray Spain later trademarked the line and the smiley face design in the early 1970s. The Spain brothers and later marketers earned millions of dollars from Harvey’s initial icon.

The World Smile Corporation was founded by Harvey Ball. The corporation licenses Smileys and organizes World Smile Day. World Smile Day raises money for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust which supports children's causes. World Smile Day is held on the first Friday of October each year and is a day dedicated to 'good cheer and good works'. The catch phrase for the day is 'Do an act of kindness - help one person smile'. [source]

Ball died in 2001.
posted by ericb at 12:39 PM on July 11, 2006

Happiness is overrated. It's like chocolate - nice every now and then but if you have it all the time it just makes you sick and fat.
posted by Decani at 5:56 PM on July 11, 2006

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