Status Anxiety (2004)

Why doesn’t money (usually) buy happiness? Alain de Botton breaks new ground for most of us, offering reasons for something our grandparents may well have told us, as children.

It is rare, and pleasing, to see a substantial philosophical argument sustained as well as it is in this documentary. De Botton claims that we are more anxious about our own importance and achievements than our grandparents were. This is status anxiety.

Alain quotes philosophical writings, such as Democracy in America, a report by Alexis de Tocqueville on his visit to the USA in 1831. De Tocqueville noted that American equality, notable in those times, was accompanied by a climate of envy.

We jump to present-day USA, and see what, to de Botton, are some awful examples of The American Way. A Christian preaches get rich. A steelworker tells of his insecure life in an industry being closed down through others’ love of money.

Our protagonist points out the advantage of high status: those with high status will enjoy the care and attention of the world. Then joins this advantage with the illusion, or attempt at meritocracy in the USA, mentioning Jefferson’s notion of an aristocracy of talent.


Buy the DVD at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

www.youtube.com
on Mon, Oct 29 2012 · 9,171 Views
Load Comments
You Might Be Interested In
1 min · Action for Happiness is a movement for positive social change. We're bringing together people from all walks of life who want to play a part in creating a happier society for everyone. For fifty years we've aimed relentlessly at higher incomes. But despite being much...
7 min · Welcome to standardized testing season, when students nationwide are clearing their desks, sharpening their pencils and fighting feelings of anxiety to meet our schools’, states’, and federal government’s desire for a simple, quantifiable way to measure them. Is this really...
20 min · A new report on the secret U.S. drone war in Pakistan says the attacks have killed far more civilians than acknowledged, traumatized a nation and undermined international law. In "Living Under Drones" researchers conclude the drone strikes "terrorize men, women, and children...
8 min · A ten years old boy, lives a sheltered life in one of the U.S. suburbs. The deafening noises of the sirens, the constant violence around the world, bring him a state of anxiety and nightmares. Searching refuge and consolation into his parents’ bed he ends up crawling on the...
2 min · Memories of a child's first time are usually recorded by doting parents. But what about the first time a child ends up in prison? It's a reality for children of migrants without status in Israel. Made by the Israel coalition to end immigration detention of children, published...
9 min · Situated on the picturesque Thai-Burma border, the Mae La refugee camp is home to more than 50,000 Burmese people who have fled the military regime of Burma. This dialogue-free documentary illustrates the lives of people who are dislocated, without international status and...
21 min · Ashin Sopaka is a Burmese exile. The military government has taken away his political status and his right to express himself. But they haven't taken his right to walk. Ashin is a Peacewalker. Following in the spirit of Gandhi's peaceful protests, Ashin has encouraged...
5 min · Life in a City Full of Errors is an online short-documentary series of City of Errors. Each episode of the series is called an Error. This is Error #6 [stress]. It talks about the few oases of the city, where anxiety, noise and pressure go mute and which we now more than...
25 min · In his book, The Long Descent, John Michael Greer observes that our culture has two primary stories: “Infinite Progress” or “Catastrophe”. On the contrary, he sees history as cyclic: civilizations rise and fall. Like others, ours is exhausting its resource base. Cheap energy...
5 min · UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley owns $744,232,068 in unexercised stock options. CIGNA’s Edward Hanway spends his holidays in a $13 million beach house in New Jersey. Meanwhile, regular Americans are routinely denied coverage for the care they need when they need it...
85 min · One of the defining documentaries of the 20th century, THE ATOMIC CAFE (1982) offers a darkly humorous glimpse into mid-century America, an era rife with paranoia, anxiety, and misapprehension. Whimsical and yet razor-sharp, this timeless classic illuminates the often comic...
60 min · Sea the Truth is based on numerous scientific publications that examine the problems of seas and oceans. Below follows an overview of the themes addressed in the film and a brief explanation. DEEP TROUBLE: WHALE MORTALITY CAUSED BY OVERFISHINGAccording to a report of the New...
George Monbiot · That they are crass, brash and trashy goes without saying. But there is something in the pictures posted on Rich Kids of Instagram (and highlighted by the Guardian last week(1)) that inspires more than the usual revulsion towards crude displays of opulence. There is a shadow...
Anonymous · A(A)A. Anon Anarchist Action In the last few years, Anonymous has gained increasing notoriety for its action against websites, agencies and organizations that promote censorship and control. It has helped spread information and supported protestors demanding freedoms and...
Kevin Arnold · Driving to the airport to pick up a friend, I stop at a red light. My eyes wander to a bus-stop bench across the intersection. 'Norma Whitfield - Your Real-Estate Connection.' Wham. Before I even have time to react, the advertisement has entered my mind and lodged itself...
Micah White · The history of activism is a cat-and-mouse game of surprising tactical innovations that spark an insurrectionary situation and the counterstrategies developed to put down the revolt. In 1848, the invention of the barricade toppled the King of France and sparked a Europe-wide...
Amanda Holpuch · The US Federal Communications Commission website reported technical difficulties because of heavy traffic this week hours after comedian John Oliver called on viewers to share their thoughts with the agency about what he called “cable company fuckery”. We’ve been...
Protalinski · When the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) this week began taking military action in the Gaza strip against Hamas (as the IDF announced on Twitter), Anonymous declared its own war as part of #OpIsrael. Among the casualties are thousands of email addresses and passwords, hundreds of...
Carl Gibson · “We have to nationalize the banks. We have to get rid of the government. We need to have access to the internet seen as a human right. We need to have a new Constitution," said Birgitta Jonsdottir, founder of the Icelandic Pirate Party. Jonsdottir, a lifelong political...
Films For Action · Survival is the only international organization supporting tribal peoples worldwide. We were founded in 1969 after an article by Norman Lewis in the UK’s Sunday Times highlighted the massacres, land thefts and genocide taking place in Brazilian Amazonia. Like many modern...
Like us on Facebook?