Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Idler's Glossary: the Boston (Harvard, no less) Launch

Brainiac, the Boston Globe blog, highlights the Glossary in anticipation of tomorrow's Boston launch.

A conundrum: How to encourage people interested in the concept of idling to rouse themselves to come to an event … honoring idling?

Joshua Glenn, my predecessor as Brainiac's author, has certainly not been slacking since his departure from the blogosphere a few months ago -- although he has been assiduously idling. The distinction between the two lies at the heart of his new book, co-written with the philosopher Mark Kingwell: "The Idler's Glossary." Tomorrow night (Thursday, October 23), the Harvard Advocate is hosting a release party for the book, from 5 to 8 p.m. Its offices are at 21 South Street, in Harvard Square. Bestir yourselves, fellow lubbers, shirkers and scrimshankers! (9-to-5'ers will not be turned away from the door, either, even content ones.)

This book, it must be said, is no joke. Kingwell's introduction begins with a Kierkegaard quote, and carves up concepts with true philosophical rigor. "A slacker is not a true idler," Kingwell writes, "because he is engaged in the project of avoiding work, and as long as that remains the case, work's dominion remains unchallenged …"

The "genius of idling," he continues, "is not its avoidance of work but rather its construction of a value system entirely independent of work."

The glossary, a sequel of sorts to Bertrand Russell's small book of 1932 titled "In Praise of Idleness," explains exactly what it means to cabbage, and parses the distinctions among cadgers, clock-watchers, and couch potatoes -- just to touch on the C's.

The rest of the post can be found here.

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