Eiram Odnok is, of course, the organizational and self-help guru whose advice is sweeping the nation. Since the publication of her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Spitefulness, she has shot to the top of both the bestseller lists and the ratings. With numerous guest appearances and Ms. Odnok’s television show entering its fourth season, the phenomena shows no signs of letting up.

Ms. Odnok’s philosophy remains simple, as it always has been: live life spitefully. Let the very act of your survival stand as a response to those who would wish you ill. Should your enemies wish you dead, survive out of sheer spite. In an America with a growing wealth gap, crumbling infrastructure, and a social safety net made of sheer pantyhose, Odeon’s words have struck a chord. For if there is nothing else to be said about Americans, they do not lack for spite.

By now, the “Odeon Method” is well known almost to the point of parody. A practitioner picks up an item and asks themselves “does this spark spite?” If it does, the item is retained and possibly even put in a place of honor. If it does not, it is stored or removed. The feelings of spite can come from anywhere–reminders of past slights, covetousness, even aesthetic clash–but it must be real for the process to work.

“I still keep my ex’s t-shirt in a place of honor in my living room,” said Chris d’Isnie, an Odeon devotee. “Sure it’s getting old and ratty, but when I see it, I see their smarmy face telling me I’ll never amount to anything even as they have an affair with my best friend. I don’t care what it takes, I will keep going until I outlive them both, even if it takes voodoo or poison.

Recent allegations of extensive lobbying in Washington to keep things spiteful (and profitable) do not seem to have damaged Eiram Odnok’s brand in the slightest. “This is America,” she said. “It doesn’t need help making things spitefully bad.”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!