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This viral video traveled around the world to a woman physician in Egypt who’s a subscriber to FKTV and who sent it to me. It is at once hilarious and terrifying and it must be quite hideous and mystifying to people who don’t understand American culture.

This clip shows some classic expressions of what I call the American religion of “Positive Thinking” that pervades the culture, to the point where some people espouse it like moronic automatons, as seen here.

The robotic pronouncements and staggering ignorance of these cheery Angelenos is a perfect rejoinder to the equally programmatic, provincial jingoism one sees in documentaries about North Korea.

The American religion has its roots in the New Thought movement of the 19th century, with notable exponents like Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich and later Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking.

It undergirds the booming self-help/self-improvement industry (books, seminars, audio, video products and personal coaching) that generates over $11 billion annually in the US alone.

The self-help industry is criticized as a money-making scam, due to its often simplistic writing and principles. Nevertheless, the findings of many studies on Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) and its effects on health, specifically on people with serious illnesses such as cancer have shown that people with PMA have a significantly higher chance of survival and recovery.

It therefore becomes important to distinguish between a) fostering a Positive Mental Attitude and b) denial, which is a mechanism of the immature mind that conflicts with the ability to learn from and to cope with reality.

But I’m not sure how such distinctions apply to these blissfully ignorant kids on Hollywood Boulevard.

Alexandra Bruce

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Alexandra Bruce

Alexandra Bruce

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  • …so NK finally, after 60+ years pumps enough intellectual weights to fend off an insane psychotic nation led by an egomaniac 14 year old and a ‘Mad Dog’ and a ‘Rapist of Falluja’, along with international ostracism and constant economic/social torment and ostracism, finally can defend itself and Kimmel pops sad attempts at oblique ridicule?
    Meh, seems like these kids, actors or not, have the right idea, yet, well, the ditz does bear note.

  • I know this is supposed to be funny but to me its shows just how totally ignorant the American public is. I wonder how the evil empire ever grew to be the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth with such dimwits graduating from your schools.

  • I too say congrats to North Korea, as their prime motive to achieve becoming a nuclear power was understandable as they have finally joined the list of countries that you gutless war- mongering Yanks won’t attack… Such a shame that the long list of nations you did attack, which included Nth Korea all those years ago (4 million died) hadn’t achieved what North Korea has today! As an eighty two year old who lived through the 2nd world war as a child in London, good on you young people for congratulating North Korea! To all you Americans, I say: Pull your damned heads In! The whole world is finally waking up to your filthy ongoing aggressive tactics!
    Oh.. and good luck with your stupid totally worthless currency… World’s woken up to that too!

    • I grew up in the backwoods of America. Based on personal experience, you sound like a typical militaristic, American white male from those backwoods. They, too, blame entire nations for the uncontrollable acts of their own government and pursue war at all costs without reason. There are over 327 million Americans. Like you, we are caught in the mouth of the beast trying to make life better through truths. I always felt sorry for the men mentioned above because they couldn’t see, only blame.

  • OMG. I thought, based on a number of indicators, that the typical-on-the-street Millennial was badly educated, completely conditioned by the system and mostly out-to-lunch with the real world. But this video tells me how much. OMG. The hydrogen bomb? If the next really big Earth changing event happens in their lifetime, one that requires critical thinking in a hands-on manner, these guys are toast. OMG. I keep saying that, but OMG.

  • It is expected that people will congratulate a country that achieved a difficult task. The fact that N.K. threatens the U.S.A. may not be well known among the American people and they only view the fact as a scientific achievement. If you asked them how they feel about the threat N.K. poses for their country you would sure get a different answer.

    • The hydrogen bomb is thought to be a scientific achievement for NK? Sorry, it’s history is basic education–one they either didn’t receive (ignorance) or don’t remember (stupidity). Does someone HAVE to lead them to the obvious conclusion? IT’S A BOMB. There is no excuse here.

  • The correlation between survival of illnesses an positive attitude is a very good example of the statistical saying “correlation doesn’t imply causation”. It’s quite possible that people who have a positive attitude are more likely to survive simply because people who are healthier within the group of study are more likely to both (a) feel more optimistic and (b) survive. Being healthier makes you naturally more positive, but that doesn’t mean that trying to be more positive is going to make you healthier.

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