New Criticals

In this “stretched out present” (Berlant 5), “one keeps moving, but one moves paradoxically, in the same space” (199). Digital archiving tools fortify mothers’ ability to keep moving, without ever moving them to action. In cultivating mothers’ capacity to spot happiness and pluck it from the “thick moment of ongoingness” that characterizes daily domestic life and its neverending laundry, dirty dishes, bills, and sibling squabbles, happiness apps keep mothers in the impasse. As they upload happiness to their apps, boards, and walls, mothers obsessively present themselves, each upload a dog paddling stroke bopping mothers above churning waters and chirping, "I'm happy! I'm happy!" Rather than looking back and re-narrating—re-presenting—their family stories, mothers tell these stories to themselves in real time, coming up out of the muck of the impasse in the telling, but never really leaving the muck behind.