Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Idler's Glossary by Joshua Glenn and Mark Kingwell

This is a tedious little bit of pseudo-intellectual fluff, devoted to the proposition that the only life worth living is the frivolous, leisurely one of the idle rich or (more to the point) of the overpaid and underemployed academic. Kingwell provides an introduction which I would have taken as a parody of the grand academic style if I'd noticed even a hint of wit in it, and Glenn brings us a sequence of smug definitions, delineating a world in which only the stupid and dull people actually have to work.

There is a kind of book that fills me with the urge to start lining people up against walls and calling down the revolution; this is one of them.

Admittedly, I doubt that was Glenn and Kingwell's intention -- they clearly were trying to write a frivolous but semi-serious defense of idling, and Glenn does try to differentiate between idleness and laziness in many of his definitions. But the tone of Idler's Glossary is not that of a worker avoiding toil, it's that of a man who thinks the world owes him a living, who views everything else with contempt and disdain. Good for Glenn and Kingwell if they have the means to live lives unencumbered with work, but they can't expect the rest of us, who don't have their advantages, to cheer for them and their ostentatious languor.

No comments:

Post a Comment