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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seattle’s First Happiness Open House Was Super Depressing

Posted by on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Richard Conlin owes this woman two hours of sunshine.
  • Kelly O
  • Cricket cricket.
The sun took center stage yesterday. Flowers flowered and birds cackled as most Seattleites sat outside, basking in one of the first warm evenings of spring. I heard the muted, joyous laughter of pedestrians in a conference room at City Hall where I sat with three unhappy strangers and listened to a two-hour panel of “experts” lecture rows of empty chairs on happiness.

As part of a “Happiness Initiative,” Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin had summoned a New York group called Make It Happy to come to Seattle and explore the topic with the hopes of “integrating happiness into public planning,” as he explained.

h-9.jpg
  • Kelly O
Here was their methodology: “The last four days we were out on the streets asking, ‘What makes people happy?’” explained Laura Musikanski of Seattle’s own Happiness Initiative, which was tasked with surveying Seattle’s happiness levels in 2011 (spoiler: poor, stressed people are less happy). Behind the panelists sat a wall of post-it notes with the answers to that question, including sex, fish, power, free parking, corn, and sun. “Some of the strongest areas were in environment and… the importance of community,” she said.

“A lot of people said water—they love the rain,” added Mario Chamorro of Make It Happy. “People in Seattle are waterproof!”

We are also apparently bullshit proof. As the event wrapped up, panelists invited us to discuss what makes us happy on camera. Instead, there was a four-way stampede for the door as we rushed out to catch our pleasure in the last lingering rays of sun, a strong drink, or the fantasy of masturbating in a bathtub filled with Richard Conlin’s tears.

More photos from Kelly O after the jump.

h-6.jpg
  • Kelly O
  • The happiness panel.

Conlin and Musikanski sharing a joke  as they suck away my youth through a giant crazy straw.
  • Kelly O
  • Conlin and Musikanski sharing a joke as they suck away my youth through a giant crazy straw.

happiness4.jpg
  • Kelly O
  • Conlin owes this woman two hours of sunshine.

h-7.jpg
  • Kelly O
  • Or a beautiful man.

h-10.jpg
  • Kelly O
  • Or, at the very least, a free sample.

h-8.jpg
  • Kelly O

h-11.jpg
  • Kelly O

TK TK TK
  • Kelly O
  • I'm so sorry for making you attend this event with me, Kelly.

 

Comments (48) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
disintegrator 1
Ugh. Condolences to everyone on the death of
a fine afternoon.
Posted by disintegrator on April 23, 2013 at 11:06 AM · Report this
2
What makes me happy? Skipping pointless meetings and avoiding woo-woo bullshit.
Posted by IslandGuy on April 23, 2013 at 11:07 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 3
Hilarious!
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on April 23, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
raindrop 4
It's high time that the Seattle City Council be rounded up, taken behind the back of the barn, and ....
Posted by raindrop on April 23, 2013 at 11:22 AM · Report this
5
I am happy that this event did not go unreported.
Posted by spock on April 23, 2013 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Baconcat 6
Conlin's event was poorly attended? Oh, I feel happier already
Posted by Baconcat on April 23, 2013 at 11:29 AM · Report this
7
Really. This is killing me. I can't stop laughing! Awesome photos, Kells. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Posted by Totalpukoid on April 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM · Report this
8
Please assure me this event didn't cost taxpayers any money...please!
Posted by Citizen R on April 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
9
My favorite post-it note, taken randomly on the street:
"What makes you happy in Seattle?"

"CRAB POT"
Posted by Kelly O on April 23, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this
10
happiness open house?! hahahahaha. put a bird on it!
Posted by semi-crepuscular on April 23, 2013 at 11:41 AM · Report this
11
Good fucking God.

I want to second Citizen R: I hope that didn't cost the city a cent.
Posted by Dan Savage on April 23, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 12
It is like an episode of Parks and Recreation came to life and wasted everyone's time.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 23, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
13
with 1000% sincerity: pure Pullitzer material
Posted by jb on April 23, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
14
This phrase has been stuck in my head so much lately I made a Soundcloud of it. Once again: http://soundcloud.com/dregordon/usa

Posted by Totalpukoid on April 23, 2013 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 15
@8, 11, I've asked what it set the city back. Stay tuned!

And remember, everyone: This year's an election year for Richard Conlin.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on April 23, 2013 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 16
Crab Pot has made me very happy.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on April 23, 2013 at 12:38 PM · Report this
Dougsf 17
It's somewhat likely the sort of life events that permits a person to be available on a Monday at 5pm for an event like this may also be considered massively depressing.
Posted by Dougsf on April 23, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 18
Good point, @15 and also @17.

Meetings are Fun! (if you're delusional) ...
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on April 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM · Report this
19
It's true that bacon and puppies are the new sunshine.
Posted by gomichaelgo on April 23, 2013 at 12:51 PM · Report this
raindrop 20
Of course it cost the taxpayers. I really doubt they had a bake sale to raise the funds.

In addition, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the New York group flew Business Class at our expense and are staying in a wing of suites at one of our finer hotels.

This is the epitome of how liberal progressives fail to see how such waste and abuse is evil to our society.
Posted by raindrop on April 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
21

This is a gross misrepresentation of and just simple misinformation about the work we did to raise awareness of the importance happiness (as in “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness) as a guide for our happiness and wellbeing.

You can hear responses from others who felt differently here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_6qES-Fe…

Cienna and her friend clearly did not want to be inside on a sunny day. If anyone is interested in the work we did, please check out the updates on the event at Make Seattle Happy

http://www.facebook.com/events/170833009…

Laura Musikanski, The Happiness Initiative.
Posted by laura musikanski on April 23, 2013 at 2:48 PM · Report this
22
Dear Laura Musikanski, FUCK YOU. If you're so concerned about "happiness", why don't you try volunteering in a place that helps people meet their BASIC NEEDS?
You whimsical asshole.
Posted by Totalpukoid on April 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Report this
23
Laura...please! Nobody is arguing that we shouldn't discuss happiness and its pursuit. But this is just not the work of government. Do it on your own time, and on your own dime!

Citizens have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and we don't need you or councilman-for-life Richard Conlin helping us from City Hall.
Posted by Citizen R on April 23, 2013 at 3:07 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 24
@21, Please explain to me how I grossly misrepresented the work (sticky notes) you presented.

As I stated in my email to you, what I saw was something that any junior high or grade school class could accomplish, and lacked any sense of analysis or tie-in to city government or cultural change.

Now you argue that you were simply trying to "raise awareness" in Seattle about happiness. Ignoring the stupidity of that statement, I feel obligated to point out that even in that context you failed: Only six people bothered to show up to your event. Two were reporters, two were filming the panel, so I can reasonably assume that only two people in the audience weren't there for work purposes.

Regarding your claims of misinformation: I looked at your facebook page and website before I attended your event. I also took your online quiz. What I found was seriously lacking in substance, which is why I chose not to link to it.

Good luck on your future happiness endeavors. You need it.

Posted by Cienna Madrid on April 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM · Report this
Jason Josephes 25
Cienna has a point, as I did a similar report in third grade. I got a C.
Posted by Jason Josephes http://www.myspace.com/bluemoonseattle on April 23, 2013 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Jason Josephes 26
There's going to be ANOTHER one of these??? https://www.facebook.com/events/17083300…

Posted by Jason Josephes http://www.myspace.com/bluemoonseattle on April 23, 2013 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 27
@26 yes, and this one promises "policy recommendations." Here's hoping for crab pots, beautiful men, and free samples on every corner!
Posted by Cienna Madrid on April 23, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Baconcat 28
I'm suddenly much happier after reading comment @24. IT WORKS!!
Posted by Baconcat on April 23, 2013 at 3:47 PM · Report this
seandr 29
Wait, this is just a scene in Portlandia, right? It didn't actually happen, did it?
Posted by seandr on April 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Baconcat 30
@27: BACON AND PUPPIES
Posted by Baconcat on April 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 31
@30 - Do you really want government-issued bacon and puppies?
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on April 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM · Report this
32
Question of the hour: Did Ciena Madrid stand up and give a lecture about rape in India?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on April 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM · Report this
33
As Barnum said there is one born every minuet... This has to be the biggest dumb bell idea and waste of productive or enjoyment time I have heard of.
But it did give me a GOOD Laugh.
Is this the same group that got the Federal Grant to see how fast ketchup flows from the bottle.
Posted by Gray Panther on April 23, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this
curtisp 34
What makes me happy as a Seattle resident...being able to get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently without being gouged by city hall via outrageous parking fees. That involves taking side streets and finding free parking. What makes me unhappy is paying too much money to ride on metro transit while being tolerant of intolerable people on a routes designed by idiots. That would be pretty much any route that services the Central Area or Capitol Hill. These are the types of comments about the city that should matter to city hall.
Posted by curtisp on April 23, 2013 at 6:40 PM · Report this
curtisp 35
#32 - do have a fucking screw loose?
Posted by curtisp on April 23, 2013 at 6:42 PM · Report this
36
How much did our city pay to get a bunch of New Yorkers to drone on indoors about happiness on a beautiful sunny day?
Posted by Angry Sam on April 23, 2013 at 6:58 PM · Report this
37
#35, why would you say that? I'm not the one with the third world rape fetish. That's Cienna's department.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on April 23, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
curtisp 38
#37 YOU brought it up on this thread. Creepy. Very creepy.
Posted by curtisp on April 23, 2013 at 8:57 PM · Report this
39
#38, didn't you mean to say, very, very rapey?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on April 24, 2013 at 8:28 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 40
@36, Conlin says that no costs were incurred by the city--the Happiness Initiative paid for everything. They simply let the panel use City Hall to host the event.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on April 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Lugh 41
@40 That should make everyone a little happier, right?
Posted by Lugh on April 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this
42
@40. Thanks for the follow-up, Cienna. My happiness has improved already (yes, a trite and predictable comment...)

Maybe they are doing something right after all.
Posted by Citizen R on April 24, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
43
So, Cienna, may I infer that you did not in fact give the lecture about rape in India, and therefore were not responsible for the grimness of the event?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on April 24, 2013 at 1:30 PM · Report this
44
Hey, Unbrainwashed: Fuck off.
Posted by Largo on April 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM · Report this
45
Hey Largo, suck my dick. It's all about happiness, remember? Mine.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on April 25, 2013 at 6:23 PM · Report this
46
As one who spoke at the event reported on, I cannot deny the poor attendance. It was probably a bad decision on our part to schedule such an event at that time. But the cynical nature of the report and comments is, as Laura pointed out, a display of ignorance. The survey on the Happycounts site is being used in many cities, has been carefully validated for scientific validity by San Francisco State University and is being used as far away as Namibia. It was used effectively in several Seattle immigrant communities (in their own languages) and their poor results send notice to the city of the work it has to do regarding inequality and social justice in our community. It is based on important work from the country of Bhutan, about which I spoke at the meeting, and about which the reporter chose to write nothing at all. It is most assuredly about social justice, something Laura Musikanski has fought for all her life. She doesn't need to be lectured by the likes of totalpukoid, whose moniker well-describes him. While the happy week events did not have the serious quality of the overall campaign, they are positively at a PHD level compared to the ignorance of the comments to this article. If you believe government has no business talking happiness, tell that to our founding fathers, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Washington who all stated on numerous occasions that the "sole purpose of government is increasing the happiness of its citizens." But I wouldn't expect anyone displaying the level of ignorance in these comments to be aware of our history. Cienna has a right to her facts, but her assessment of the overall seriousness of the Happiness Initiative is wildly out of tune with most observers. I encourage you to take the survey--you will see that it is comprehensive and thorough and not silly at all. Adolescent cynicism will not a progressive movement make and you will laugh yourselves into the disaster that American society is becoming with our blind worship of GDP and money and our lack of focus on well-being and happiness.. John de Graaf
More...
Posted by John de Graaf on May 8, 2013 at 3:49 PM · Report this
47
As one who spoke at the event reported on, I cannot deny the poor attendance. It was probably a bad decision on our part to schedule such an event at that time. But the cynical nature of the report and comments is, as Laura pointed out, a display of ignorance. The survey on the Happycounts site is being used in many cities, has been carefully validated for scientific validity by San Francisco State University and is being used as far away as Namibia. It was used effectively in several Seattle immigrant communities (in their own languages) and their poor results send notice to the city of the work it has to do regarding inequality and social justice in our community. It is based on important work from the country of Bhutan, about which I spoke at the meeting, and about which the reporter chose to write nothing at all. It is most assuredly about social justice, something Laura Musikanski has fought for all her life. She doesn't need to be lectured by the likes of totalpukoid, whose moniker well-describes him. While the happy week events did not have the serious quality of the overall campaign, they are positively at a PHD level compared to the ignorance of the comments to this article. If you believe government has no business talking happiness, tell that to our founding fathers, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Washington who all stated on numerous occasions that the "sole purpose of government is increasing the happiness of its citizens." But I wouldn't expect anyone displaying the level of ignorance in these comments to be aware of our history. Cienna has a right to her facts, but her assessment of the overall seriousness of the Happiness Initiative is wildly out of tune with most observers. I encourage you to take the survey--you will see that it is comprehensive and thorough and not silly at all. Adolescent cynicism will not a progressive movement make and you will laugh yourselves into the disaster that American society is becoming with our blind worship of GDP and money and our lack of focus on well-being and happiness.. John de Graaf, co-author WHAT'S THE ECONOMY FOR, ANYWAY?
More...
Posted by John de Graaf on May 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM · Report this
48
PS, I am not a New Yorker, but have lived here in Seattle for 34 years and been an involved social justice and environmental activist for all that time. Fortunately, there are many people in this city who do not exhibit the cynicism displayed in many of the comments here or in the article itself... John de Graaf
Posted by John de Graaf on May 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Report this

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