Saturday, October 4, 2008

I've always been rather skeptical of places that specialize in products made specifically to inspire others. While this might sound like a terribly cynical standpoint, please hear me out. Things like the Chicken Soup series, the thankfully defunct television show Touched by an Angel, and "inspirational" email forwards have always left me cold. Even when I allow myself to be manipulated by a maudlin story or film, I always feel a little dirty afterward.*

Luckily, there is a fantastic antidote to all of this mass-marketed sweetness and light. has some of the funniest, most caustic anti-inspirational products ever created. Modeled after the motivational posters ubiquitous in school hallways and locker rooms, Despair Inc.'s Demotivators take the idea of the stock image (a rainbow at sunset) and juxtaposes it with the one word inspirational feeling (dreams) and the pithy explanation ("Dreams are like rainbows. Only idiots chase them."). While there are many fantastic products and sayings to pick from, my current favorite is this one.

*ETA: Right after I posted this, I found the link to "The Starfish Story" on the site, and I had to put it on here. I had a teacher in grad school who loved this story, and it is the perfect example of the sentimental/ inspirational story I mention earlier.