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Chapter 1
Days of ARNS Past

Yesthetics Are So Yestherday [ARNS]

by FREDERICA VON McTOAST-HYPHEN, Alternate Reality News Service Pop Culture Writer

"Yes, I...I want to taste your wombat pate. On kelp crackers."

"I'm sorry, Felice, but I'm not feeling the yes."

"'Course you're not feeling the yes! Who wants to eat wombat pate on kelp crackers?"

"Walruses do, Felice. Walruses do. Perhaps if you got in touch with your inner walrus, it would be easier for you to -"

"Ugh! I think I'm gonna - I'm gonna - 'scuse me!"

"I think you're missing the - Felice? Felice! Where are you running off to? I THINK YOU'RE MISSING THE POINT!"

In a small meeting room in one of the less popular hotels on the airport strip (will you or won't you get heating on a cold December night? - the place can be such a tease!), over 30 people have paid $1,250 to be tutored by Marie-Angelo (her parents had a religious aversion to ultrasounds, so they hedged their bets) di Prestino.

Who is Marie-Angelo di Prestino? I'm glad you asked. Really glad you asked. There would be no article if you didn't ask glad you asked. Okay, technically, I asked in your name. So, technically, I'm glad you exist to allow me to put questions in your mouth. You do exist to allow me to put questions in your mouth, don't you? Of...of course you do.

Marie-Angelo di Prestino is the world-barely recognized author of Why Is It When I Say Yes, I Hear No?, the foundational (reading it is like swimming through concrete) text of the yesthetics movement. di Prestino is the lost and founder of the Instituti del Yesthetico and a practicing yesthetician.

What is yesthetics? I'm glad you asked, but let's not start that nonsense all over again.

Yesthetics is the art of positivity. (Nietzsche was all over the art of negativity.) The basic premise of the movement is that it is not enough to half-heartedly say "Yes" to life. You must throw your arms around yes and enthusiastically embrace it like you would a lover that you haven't seen in over a decade. You must dance around yes like nobody is watching...for signs that would explain why you haven't seen your lover in over a decade. Sing yes like it's the theme song of your life (it sure beats the latest Coke jingle!). Yes. Yes! YES!

So. The word yes as performance art, then.

This does not - oh. Right. Most of the description two paragraphs ago was taken directly from di Prestino's follow-up book Yesthetics: The Science Behind Yes That Had Been Left Out of My Previous Book. To avoid allegations of plagiarism, please go back to that paragraph and imagine that I used open quotation marks before the phrase "it is not enough" and close quotation marks after the final YES!

This does not - oh, and, while you're imagining that, imagine that the double quotes around the word "Yes" two paragraphs - now three paragraphs ago are actually single quotes. I wouldn't have mentioned it, but linguistic purists can make a journalist's life hell on Farcebook!

This does not - this being the word yes as performance art, I mean - I may have taken a bit of a detour from the concept in the last couple of paragraphs - the word yes as performance art does not come naturally to most people. That's where di Prestino's weekend retreats come in. (Okay, technically, they come in through the loading dock in the back of the hotel, but now is no time to quibble.) People pay big money (they use oversized checkbooks borrowed from a local lottery) to attend seminars on "The Historical Imperative of Yesthetics" and workshops where they practice using performance yes to answer a series of increasingly difficult to stomach questions.

There are, of course, critics of yesthetics. Surprisingly, some of the most vocal (you would swear they had worked with a voice coach!) were from the positivity movement itself. Well, surprisingly if you don't appreciate the role envy - the most sanguine of the deadly sins - plays in human nature.

"To suggest that there is a right way to get to yes implies that there is a wrong way to get to yes," argued Vermont Regulon, author of The Yes Matrix: The Power of Yes to the Power of Two, its follow-up, The 3-D Yes Matrix: Taking the Power of Yes to a Whole New Level and, most recently, Quantum Yes: The Power of Yes in Eleven Dimensions. "I find Marie-Angelo and her followers to have a yesier than thou attitude towards other yes-sayers. Tut tut, I say to that. Tut and tut."

Questions of pride - the orangest of the deadly sins - aside, wouldn't it make sense for yes practitioners - yestitioners? Naah - people can't just make up words willy nilly to suit themselves - that way leads anarchy! - wouldn't it make sense for yes practitioners to set aside their differences and work together towards a society with a more positive attitude towards yes?

"No," responded Regulon.

"No," replied di Prestino.

"Hell no!" answered Felice Marimbe Achooa from a stall in the women's washroom. "I paid a lot of money for the weekend retreat, and if I don't get the best yes that money can buy, I'm gonna sue somebody's ass off!"

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