Saturday, November 28, 2009

We Really Are Doomed

Further evidence in the WSJ this morning.

No, no not economic statistics. This article by Joe Queenan. He spends a couple of pages taking the mickey out of The Sainted One's spend-us-out-of-the-recession plan and the Christmas buying frenzy. Not an overwhelmingly funny piece, but pretty good. Better than I could do. Sample:

Electronic book readers are hot this year. But one niggling problem with the Kindle 2 and Barnes & Noble's Nook is that unless people creep up and peer over your shoulder, it's not obvious to them what you're reading. For years, I've noticed that people ostentatiously read books on public transportation in a deliberate attempt to edify others ("Outliers," "SuperFreakonomics," "The Black Swan"). But people also show off their reading material to annoy people. I have a friend who carries Glenn Beck's "Arguing with Idiots" everywhere he goes merely to enrage all the wistful types who still have Al Gore bumper stickers on their hybrids. He is not a nice man. And he'll never buy an ebook reader. It would spoil all the fun.

But that doesn't explain why we're doomed. For that, you have to read the comments at the end of the article. (The first few should suffice; you can overdose on that stuff.) There are perhaps three or four sensible remarks and a boatload of folks who haven't the least conception that they're dealing with a humour column. Completely unfamiliar with the concepts of satire, hyperbole, reductio ad absurdum, or anything else less subtle than a pie in the face. They hate the article; they think it's a pro-Obama article. And they are the overwhelming majority of the people commenting.

The descendants of Mr Gradgrind and Mr Bounderby are alive and well and reading the Wall Street Journal.