A huge self-esteem movement emerged in the late 60s and early 70s. It meshed well with the free love sensibilities of the hippies: “Just make everyone feel good about themselves, man!” Teachers and administrators and politicians began implementing programs to increase self-esteem in youths across the country. Participation trophies were handed out, grades were inflated, and protecting everyone’s feelings was the new black. Self-esteem, baby!

But jump ahead a couple decades and there’s a sequel, let’s call it Self-Esteem II: The Better Data Methodology Strikes Back!

Zoom in. See a cranky old man in an office full of books. It’s post-drug addiction Nick Nolte (the budget was small this time around, they couldn’t get anyone else). He’s playing the wily self-esteem researcher Roy Baumeister, and he’s doing a bunch of math and stuff and it’s really boring. His hair is disheveled. He gets up, crunches up balls of paper and throws them at the wall shouting, “IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!”

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