Smile or Die?

Wow, I’m on a roll this afternoon. 3 posts! J Halberstam’s book The Queer Art of Failure is inspiring me. In part one of my posts on notes about the book, I mention Barbara Ehrenreich’s RSA Animate Smile or Die. The idea of resisting the need demand to smile and being happy is a theme that I’ve read/thought about for some time. And it’s a key theme within some versions of queer theory.

I don’t have time to offer an exhaustive list of theorists/theories that resist positive thinking/feeling, so I thought I used the idea of “smile or die” to inspire another problematizer image. This image features one of my favorites subjects/muses, my daughter Rosie (who looks a little like Tina Yothers in Family Ties here).

Within the image are various references to feminist and queer theories that critique happiness/goodness/positivity as a goal and that embrace “outlaw emotions” and “negative feelings” (like rage). I hope to write more specifically about these theories in a post later this week. For now, here’s the image:

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