Who are you calling square?

On more thought from the author of the book I referenced last night:

One of the things I’ve become most aware of while working on this book is the degree to which cultural critics inside and outside of the academy write about phenomena that reflect and reinforce their own tastes and worldviews. There’s a lot of writing out there about addiction, because addiction, despite its tragic dimension, retains a sheen of cool. Drug and alcohol use and abuse are dis-inhibiting; they de-stabilize social norms. Without too much effort, we can see them as heroic challenges to the staid routines of our uptight bourgeois lives.

Recovery culture, by contrast, is really square, both as aesthetics and as politics. … It’s this squareness, I think, that has led critics to overlook the complexity of recovery—its existence as a cultural formation with a genuine intellectual and social history that both reflects and helps to construct the larger economic, political, and psychic realities around it.

Those who are predisposed to disagree will dismiss this (and vice versa), but I think that this speaks directly to the coolness many in recovery feel toward “empirical” knowledge of the issue. I think it also speaks to the appeal of harm reduction for many (not all, by any stretch) practitioners.

One thought on “Who are you calling square?

  1. Thanks for both of these posts. Recovery is an elusive area. The treatment community doesn't get it, popular culture treats it like the anticlimactic fourth act, and many of the people experiencing it personally are anonymous and have no opinion on outside issues. It is a social movement of major magnitude, yet largely invisible. You can bet that this book will be on my bookshelf soon. No doubt I will not agree with everything in it, but the fact of someone taking the time and doing the work to write with authenticity on the subject with which I have spent my entire adult life, is okay with me!

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