Bad Movies, Failed Products and Joy Through Misery

Many things formed my view of happiness, and one of them was my enjoyment of bad movies. I would often join friends,  plop in a stinker of a movie, and eagerly hope and dread that the movie would make me regret ever having been born.  The movie would play and we’d express outrage and disgust at its stupidity, never mind that this was the point of being there.  After the movie was over, we’d take it out, talk about burning the DVD, complain about how anything like that could ever see the light of day, all the while thoroughly enjoying our outrage and disgust.

Even then, I thought it curious how inverted and layered this value system was.

I also like to collect misshapen products.  Maybe it’s a bottle with an obvious grammatical error, a sealed candy wrapper with nothing inside, or even a really odd product.

This would even extend to my behavior.  I would sometimes make an idiotic mistake and even in the midst of it think of what a great story it would make, and on a weird level enjoy it.  Or if I didn’t enjoy the incident then, I’d actually enjoy it after the fact, and be thoroughly pleased that it happened.  I’d even sometimes go out of my way to invite verbal abuse from friends or act stupidly because… well, I guess I have a healthy appreciation for the idiotic, even when it comes from me.

So this morning, when a friend sent me a link to an article discussing the Museum of Failed Products, I was all in:

What surprised me though was that after discussing the museum, the article went full on into happiness and how our search for happiness might actually lead us to be unhappy!  It discussed Stoicism and a few psychologists.  Then it returned to the Museum.

Turns out, the article was an excerpt from a book on happiness.

What are the odds?

10 thoughts on “Bad Movies, Failed Products and Joy Through Misery

  1. “A healthy appreciation for the idiotic”, actively promoting the ridiculous, surely that’s part of the honoured tradition of crazy wisdom. You’ll find it in Tibet, in Plato, in religions, in Zen. Usually there’s lots of alcohol and women involved. But I do think watching a film and subsequently burning it would qualify. Nice story.

      1. It’s a sad world. Luckily, there’s plenty of ways to be anti-establishment. I was only referring to the funny ones.
        Your remark makes me think of Bernie Glassman, where he mentions the people who are always trying to help, naturally conversant with the homeless and the poor, but who would never consider to even smile at a rich person. Glassman seemed to think that if that’s you, you’re not enlightened yet…

        Still reading up on the pyrrhonists, btw. Very interesting.

  2. Just read the article. It was loads of fun. I have been allergic to positive thinking for years and I love the idea of “negative thinking.” I especially like the part that argues “taking big risks and never giving up may be a recipe for success, but it is also a recipe for failures. It’s just that failures don’t write books.”
    Maybe I should write a book titled “How I had faith, risked everything and ended up homeless and alone.” That would sell.
    Anyway, I appreciated the humor. And bashing a movie you just saw is one of the best hobbies I can think of. I still remember this movie (I forgot the title) where John Travolta is an evil alien from a race that conquers the Earth; then these savages learn to pilot an F-16 over the weekend and defeat them. Two weeks later we were still laughing.

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