Google+ Consumer Psyche: Dance out of depression

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Dance out of depression

LA Times reports that song and dances in movies improve a persons mood and this might be one of the reasons why economic recession was bailed out. Studies of the 1930s have shown how the economic meltdown was accompanied by psychological depression: loss of morale, a sense of despair, grave fears for the future. Going to the movies or listening to the radio could not solve these problems, but they could ease them in the same way that President Franklin D. Roosevelt's intimate fireside chats boosted morale and restored confidence.

If we look at the arts as a life-giving form of social therapy, many other fads and fashions of the 1930s fall into place. Once they dance, a swirling poetry of movement takes over. The public also loved comedies about the very rich. Everyone could feel superior to their silliness, the weightlessness of their lives, yet live vicariously through their energy, irresponsibility and freedom, the snap of their delicious dialogue. Meanwhile, musical standards created a seductive dreamland, somewhere "over the rainbow," a better world where cloudy skies and rainy days somehow promised "pennies from heaven."

Movie-going has already increased by almost 16% this year. The arts can be a lifeline as well as a pleasant diversion, a source of optimism and energy as well as peerless insight, especially when so many people are stymied or perplexed by the unexpected changes in their world. As our troubles worsen, as stress morphs into anxiety and depression, we may desperately need the mixture of the real and the fantastic, the sober and the silly, that only the arts can bring us.
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