Posts Tagged ‘Blue Monday’
January 18, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
Any Joe with a Twitter account will tell you that today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. It’s a claim that rests mostly on a bunch of pseudoscience and a dubious 2005 ad campaign for a travel agency. Even so, a whole cottage industry has risen up around our apparent mid-January slump—especially in the UK, where people are always kind of miserable anyway. Tesco superstores are giving away free fruit; the BBC’s Scotland bureau has urged citizens to stay cheery by reminding themselves that the ski forecast is good and that the Spice Girls may soon reunite.
Though claims as to our collective depression have long been debunked, I wondered about the origin of the phrase “Blue Monday,” which clearly predates this latest usage. There was that great New Order song from 1983, for starters, and the subtitle to Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions (or Goodbye, Blue Monday) and the Gershwin opera well before that. Evidence from eighteenth-century books suggests that Blue Monday was once just an excuse for working people to get drunk, and it happened every Monday, because our ancestors have long known what any casual reader of Garfield does: Mondays are for the birds. Read More »
January 20, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Today is supposedly Blue Monday, the saddest day of the year. And Jude the Obscure, 120 Days of Sodom, Germinal: these are among the fifteen most depressing books in literature.
- And yet The Day of the Locust lands on a list of comfort reads.
- Ship first, ask questions later. Amazon’s latest stratagem: “anticipatory shipping,” a program in which the company preemptively sends you products it expects you to buy, “based on previous searches and purchases, wish lists, and how long the user’s cursor hovers over an item online.”
- Not unrelatedly, here’s a roundup of socially resonant dystopian fiction. “These dystopias, I think, speak to a different kind of anxiety … one of widespread helplessness in an unfathomably complex world.”
- “Using science to explain art is a good way to butcher both.” A scorched-earth takedown of Jane Austen, Game Theorist.
- This roundup is looking pretty bleak. In the name of balance, a celebration of literary rule-breakers.