What is Anxiety Culture?

AC began as a magazine, in 1995, exploring the anxieties behind the smiling mask of "normal" society. It contains ideas and gimmicks for navigating the stressed, over-competitive, work-obsessed times we live in.

The website went online in 1998, intended as a cocktail of curious news, satire, outsider psychology and uplifting propaganda.

Is it safe?

It's designed to be pleasurable. If over-excitement occurs, discontinue use.

Is it an "anti-work" site?

Sort of. We're not opposed to all work, just pointless, underpaid wage slavery. We find most work ethics (eg Protestant) malign. Any work requiring an ethic probably serves no practical purpose. We question why people (eg in UK and US) work longer hours now, on average, than in the 1970s.

"If we all quit work, wouldn't the economy COLLAPSE?"

See previous answer (and perhaps lie down for 15 minutes).

Why the stuff on fear of crime?

The belief that crime is "spiralling" seems unchallenged in most media. It has little basis in fact (at least in Britain and America). If we don't question this fear-inducing myth, who will?

"Avoid responsibility"? Are we serious?

Only in the sense of not allowing others to define your "responsibilities". It's about the "hypnotic" nature of words such as "responsibility". It's not a licence for idiocy.

What are "control systems"?

We have a section of articles about "systems" which "control" the passive herd – ranging from "medieval metaphysics" to "consumer-anxiety". We don't necessarily mean conspiratorial systems, in the spooky X-Files sense.

What is "outsider psychology"?

Any psychology which aims at "liberation" rather than "fitting in". Conventional psychology wants people to be "well-adjusted", but outsider psychology regards the "well-adjusted" as zombies.

What is "uplifting propaganda"?

Anything that removes the authoritarian "virus" from communication. Irony, satire and gentle mockery are standard methods used by counterculture philosophers of all ages.

Do we make a "political" point?

Only that authoritarian tendencies seem to correlate with insecurity, both in government and society in general (and, no doubt, in personal relationships).

Here's a gross oversimplification to illustrate how we think: Governments are sometimes accused of lying, etc. Such accusations make them insecure, so they adopt authoritarian measures, mostly to protect themselves. But they claim it's to protect the public. Insecure people, wanting "protection", might believe the government line, but few others do. So it's in the government's interest to keep the public anxious.

What other perspectives do we have?

• We live in a crazy, overworked society driven by puritanical fear and guilt. But there are psychological gimmicks to bring fun and pleasure back. All perfectly legal (currently). AC contains many such gimmicks.

• Fear sells. The most common advertising technique is to exploit psychological insecurities. One function of the media is to deliver psychologically insecure audiences to advertisers.

• Our beliefs program our realities. If we believe that the universe is fundamentally unsafe, then we're going to experience perpetual anxiety – which isn’t a good way to operate our brains.


“An upbeat, positive read... Anxiety Culture offers subversion with a smile. I can’t recommend it too strongly”
BBC Online

“A witty, alternative look at the working character of contemporary society”
The Guardian

“Crammed with extraordinary social ideas, conspiracy theories and plain old High Weirdness... Good stickers too”
Fortean Times

“Thought-provoking and scurrilous, Anxiety Culture provides enjoyable, if at times slightly disturbing reading”
In Business magazine

Anxiety Culture looks at the anxieties encoded in the building blocks of mainstream culture and offers some helpful advice for dealing with them. Comes with a fab sheet of stickers. Brilliant!”
Network News magazine

“Includes very good deconstructions of some social myths – crime, TV, etc... and comes with an excellent set of stickers.”

"Topical and consistently excellent, this was a certified best seller at the 1997 Fortean Times Unconvention! Recommended"
Disinfotainment (review of issue 3 of Anxiety Culture)

“I hope I’m not too late to order a copy of Anxiety Culture. I would have written sooner, but I don’t like the way they look at me in the post office.”
One of our satisfied readers



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Editor bio

Brian's background: BA Hons in Architecture, low-status corporate IT wage slave, high-status corporate Business Analyst, unemployed person, self-employed magazine editor and web designer. Current work: writing/art (some published & exhibited).
Brian also writes for the Guardian and The Idler magazine, and runs a new media website, Media Hell.