// archives

Archive for December, 2012

Truth Troubles: A Review of ‘Homeland’

Starring Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a CIA officer, and Damian Lewis as U.S. Marine Nicholas Brody, who may or may not be an Al-Qaeda double agent, American TV series ‘Homeland’, which premiered on CBS’s Showtime cable TV channel in 2011, taps into the anxieties and paranoia that have been cultivated by a decade of what has been called ‘the war on terror’. As reviewers Gloria Origgi and Ariel Colonomos see it, what makes ‘Homeland’ significant is that, for the first time, a U.S. television show is staging the duplicity of truth — as if discriminating between good and evil were a long bygone endeavour. Indeed, so pervasive is the superposition of identity of the self and political identity in the series’ characters, and the resulting state of permanent moral ambivalence, that it drives the viewer to the point of mental exhaustion.

Negative Thinking as a Path to Happiness?

In his book ‘The Antidote’, Oliver Burkeman argues that ‘positive thinking’ and relentless optimism aren’t the solution to the happiness dilemma, but part of the problem, and advocates instead ‘the power of negative thinking’. But, writes reviewer Berit Brogaard, while the book offers a spirited and witty account of some of the best ways to get through periods of distress or sorrow (or sheer annoyance), in the end, what Burkeman proposes isn’t all that different from standard cognitive-behavioural therapeutic practices, which include the positive thinking methods he so strongly criticises.