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Table of Contents Acknowledgments I: Cody on the Couch 4 In which the author confronts his son¿s laziness ¿ and remembers his own, past and present ¿ with comments on welfare queens, workfare, and pre-employment testing ¿ the emotional nature of the work ethic ¿ work in the ancient world ¿ Tocqueville, Thoreau, and Whitman on work in America and the trouble with fathers ¿ slacker movies ¿ academic work and other questionable labors ¿ answers to ¿what makes good work good?¿ and ¿what did Jesus do?¿ ¿ hippies and other dropouts ¿ and the Way of the Slacker. II: The Idler and His Works 66 In which the ¿Idler,¿ the world¿s first slacker, appears in 1758 ¿ Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Johnson usher in the modern world ¿ and the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions reshape the nature of work. III: Loungers, Romantics, and Rip Van Winkle 91 In which the ¿Lounger,¿ the Idler¿s American brother, appears toward the end of the 18th century ¿ Meander, Abel Slug, Esq., and other icons of lounging have their say ¿ and Rip Van Winkle sleeps through his career. IV: Loafers, Communists, Drinkers, and Bohemians 125 In which the Romantic hero, the loafer, and other odd variants in the early 19th century make their appearance ¿ Karl Marx¿s son-in-law thinks the old man works too much ¿ workers like to leave for a drink at the bar several times a day ¿ the campaign for shorter hours starts to make headway-- Herman Melville loafs in the South Seas ¿ Bartleby the Scrivener ¿prefers not to¿ ¿ and Bohemia arrives in America. V: Nerve Cases, Saunterers, Tramps, and Flâneurs 175 In which the doctors decide that overwork is a problem ¿ Jerome K. Jerome takes a leisure trip up the Thames ¿ the flâneur and Saunterer make their bows ¿ Oscar Wilde declares that doing nothing is the height of human achievement ¿ the tramp becomes a hero and a social problem ¿ and Theodore Dreiser flirts with failure, but decides to work instead. VI: Sports, Flappers, Babbitts, and Bums 221 In which the Slacker becomes the villain of WWI and the hero of modernist literature ¿ more fathers and sons ¿ work goes out of fashion for the poor and becomes fashionable for the rich ¿ booms and busts ¿ Americans are told they need to ¿Sweat or Die!¿ ¿ the Great Gatsby shows how to reconcile Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Johnson in modern times ¿ and Al Jolson sings ¿Hallelujah, I¿m a Bum!¿ VII: Beats, Nonconformists, Playboys, and Delinquents 273 In which new generations of the disaffected reinvent the Slacker wheel as the world of work changes once again ¿ Jack Kerouac and his Dad have a falling out ¿ the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit gets ahead and feels bad ¿ Organization Man, White Collar Workers and other conformist losers ¿ and women try on the flight from commitment. VIII: Draft Dodgers, Surfers, TV Beatniks, and Hippie Communards 312 In which George W. Bush tries to go mano a mano with Pappy ¿ waves of new slacker types cycle through popular culture and hip subcultures ¿ Maynard G. Krebs, Gidget, Abbie Hoffman, and Baba Ram Dass ¿ dropping out ¿ back to the farm ¿ communal slacking ¿ stealing books ¿ and other ways to get money for nothing. IX: Slackers 356 In which Slackers finally get their proper name ¿ the game room rules the workplace ¿ kids make movies instead of working ¿ the Church of the SubGenius reinvents the Lounger ¿ The Idler resumes publication ¿ ¿work hard, play hard¿ meets the new aimlessness. X: Pax Americana: Slackers Around the World 390 In which the author visits slackers in England, Italy, Germany, China, and Japan ¿ and finds that globalization in fact has made us all kin ¿ that the Information Age means that we all now know the Way of the Slacker ¿ and reports that his son, Cody, has left the couch. Bibliography 408
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Slackers -- United States -- History.
Laziness -- United States -- History.