Offering bold new ways of conceiving the present, Lauren Berlant describes the cruel optimism that has prevailed since the s, as the social-democratic. Moments of uncertainty can make us feel as though situations that evoke dreadful anxiety can be quelled by embracing optimism. Yet, as Lauren Berlant argues. Teasing out the relation whereby ‘something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing’ ( 1), Lauren Berlant’s brilliant book, Cruel Optimism.

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Aug 24, David Dinaburg rated it it was amazing.

Nearly Utopian, Nearly Normal: In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: My only reservation is the last chapter on contemporary art isn’t as nuanced as the others. That coda optimim the breakthrough moment of Cruel Optimism.

Stop, tarry in unaccepted forms – resist the temptation of normalcy even in your queerness a concept that Gabriel Winant rightly stretches out to encompass all of the working class itself in his insightful review of this loaded book of ideas – found here: With enthusiasm I approached and read the introduction of this book, and it pretty much died there with one of the most densely written, obscurely referenced, and convolutedly disasterous experiences.

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Cruel Optimism

Each of us in some way or another subscribes to these fantasies. Reblogged this on synthetic zero. As you can imagine, this is not an easy book to read. Capitalism sucks, but what else can we do? The idea at the core of this work is interesting and valuable, and the novels, films, and art-works Berlant examines are excellent, but I am put off by her writing style, and for every moment of lucid analysis, berlnat are many paragraphs of nebulous, half-formed assertions to wade through.

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A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Berlant explores the ways that contemporary desires for the “good life” are perverted byte xruel of capitalism.

Even Adorno, the great belittler of popular pleasures, can be aghast at the ease with which intellectuals shit on people who hold aluren a dream. After the Good Life, an Impasse: Turns out CK will let me publish that though not the edited CK versionso you get a preview. So as I read, I desperately tried to summarize the chapters in a way that was better, more comprehensive, more effective, with my mind set on the “Berlant” entry of my catalogue.

How does Berlant structure her archive? How does Berlant define “cruel optimism”? But this isn’t politics. The question is always: The argument about cruel optimism is sugesstively threaded through the chapters, appearing in different guises at different moments.


This turned into a vicious cycle, since, as I wrote, my anxiety grew as well and made the content of my synopses worse and worse. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.

When it gets real rough just to do anything at all, this stuff can help.

Cruel Optimism by Lauren Berlant

A total sensory awakening and a call to arms for the politically or just generally depressed. Feb 22, Anna rated it really liked it Shelves: Jul 08, Annie rated it it was amazing Shelves: By situating a study of aesthetic forms and generic conventions within the context of post-Cold War Europe and United States, Berlant continues her inquiry into the ways in which affective relations mediate citizenship and national public cultures.

That cycle is self-sustaining: Running a marathon, landscaping your yard, redecorating your kitchen: May 23, Ai Miller rated it liked it Shelves: Replacing the system is the hard part — excising the cruelty from a constant cycle of hope without reason necessitates removing the hope as well, which is daunting.