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September 19, 2007 10:48 PM   Subscribe

Lazy-Ass Nation. "Somewhere along the way, we fell in love with the dream of the effort-free existence."
posted by amyms (41 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sum it up fo me, please.
posted by item at 10:55 PM on September 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


It is an awesome dream, isn't it? So beautiful...

Sorry, I couldn't be bothered to read the article.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:00 PM on September 19, 2007


tl;dr
posted by tomble at 11:04 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


 
posted by Poolio at 11:32 PM on September 19, 2007


You know how I know this guy is an asshole? He uses the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich as a fucking metaphor for the last century of American history.

oh, and GET OFF MY LAWN YOU FUCKING KIDS
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 11:48 PM on September 19, 2007


The gadget that pisses me off is the Taser. Lazy-ass cops go from "place your hands behind your back" to 50,000 volts with no effort in between.
posted by pracowity at 11:59 PM on September 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh right, this point in history is worse/dumber/crazier/more dangerous than any other point in history.

I guess he doesn't really explain how his anti-futurism-as-exemplified-by-laziness goes with the rise in popularity of slow food, knitting, sewing, magazines like MAKE (and other things I'm sure I don't know about).

I thought Kurzweil was sort of infamous for being a poor predictor (and Fukuyama has authority to talk about anything anymore?)? In any case, I'm keen for the vision chip to come out, Rodney Brooks. But maybe that's because I'm too lazy to pick up .65 oz of spectacle (yes, I weighed them, talk about lazy) everyday and place them on my face. Or too lazy to try and focus my eyes at night and would rather take the easy road of flipping my vision chip switch to night vision.

And lastly, to complete the disjointedness of this comment, did he really use DNA like that?
posted by birdie birdington at 12:05 AM on September 20, 2007


Yes, the invention of the washing machine truly did make us lazy.

Don't we all miss the 2 or so hours of scrubbing and rinsing that it has removed for all of us?

And those who have dishwasher no doubt miss doing the dishes so much.

And I'm sure those who used to be responsible for emptying out houses miss that a lot too.
posted by sien at 12:12 AM on September 20, 2007


Yah. Convenience is strictly an American pursuit. Sure. He's clearly never been to Japan where you can buy everything from a pack of gum to a new Toyota from a vending machine, and have noodle stalls and conveyor belt sushi bars that make the American fast food experience seem leisurely.

But the point isn't to accurately compare cultures or examine the role of convenience as a social force. He's unhappy with his life, and wants to blame the culture he lives in for his unhappiness, even if it means breaking out the broadest brush in the box to slap the paint on. (Otherwise, the rise of DIY culture and the resurgence in cooking as an art form for the everyman would have gotten some time in the spotlight as a counterpoint.)

It gets old after a while... this longing for a golden age that really never was all that golden, and finding deep moral fault with everyday life for not meeting some lofty yet contrived standard the author was sure at some time existed. I'm pretty sure this sorts of sentiment spawns political conservatives, and that makes this piece even more worthless.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:16 AM on September 20, 2007 [11 favorites]


I typed this with one hand. ;-)
posted by Poolio at 12:22 AM on September 20, 2007


Cup holders, by the way, are everywhere. Can we step back from the pseudo-serious tone of this article a minute to ask: Cup holders? What, you can't hold your fuckin' cup? There is an extremely rich man in China who laughs long and hard every time he tells his friends how he made his fortune.

I'm pretty sure that either this is Andy Rooney writing under a pseudonym, or this guy's editor needs to be fired.
posted by kyleg at 12:38 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I won't be happy until they've combined bread, peanut butter, and jelly into one squeeze bottle that I can pay someone to pump through a nasogastric tube into my stomach while I'm suspended motionless in a tank of some sort of life-sustaining liquid.
posted by teem at 12:54 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Soon we'll all be like those people in "Plato's Stepchildren" (Star Trek), where a simple cut could kill us.

Or not.
posted by bwg at 1:45 AM on September 20, 2007


It's not the stuff that does my work for me that makes me lazy. How I wish it was, though.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:53 AM on September 20, 2007


I propose a compromise: I'll get off his lawn if he gets out of my future.
posted by Arturus at 3:24 AM on September 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Should Americans Return To A Simpler, Stone Age Lifestyle?

Also, he goes on for FOUR fucking pages? Jesus. The definition of Lazy-Ass: waffling on about the most obvious banalities about 'the good old days'. It's like flogging a bit of asphalt where once there was a dead horse.

I read the first page, then scrolled to the end expecting to see 'Written by hand, with a chicken-bone pen, ash and water for ink and on animal skin. In sunlight.'

*shakes Power Glove at a doddering old man on his techno-lawn*
posted by slimepuppy at 3:34 AM on September 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, Oscar Mayer and at least one other company I've seen make a crappy hot dog that comes plastic wrapped already in a crappy bun. To save all the hassle of putting your hot dog in the bun yourself.

And, if you counter-argue with slow food, DIY, I think those things are indeed a conscious reaction to this, but you've got yourself in an echo chamber if you think there's some huge portion of America engaging in those things. Maybe a nice portion of the people on Metafilter and the other sites people on Metafilter use are into their slow food, but it's important to remember that the people in Metafilter are very highly unrepresentative of America as a whole.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:06 AM on September 20, 2007


True convenience would be if the peanut butter and jelly arrive pre-spread on two pieces of bread and (wait for it) I can buy it.
posted by jeremias at 4:26 AM on September 20, 2007


Yeah, laziness is why the average American is spending more and more time at work every year.
posted by rottytooth at 4:52 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Right, they're too lazy to find a decent job.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:12 AM on September 20, 2007


Thanks to American IP laws, one can get rich making time saving devices. Does that motivation get recognized for the plethora of inane devices America churns out?
posted by infowar at 5:37 AM on September 20, 2007


Here's the Microsoft Word auto summary of the article:

The greater part of human history has gone something like this: see animal, chase animal, kill animal, skin animal, cook animal, eat animal. This fall, the company is launching the Clapper Plus. If I start clapping right now to turn off my light, she'd probably hit me. You can also clap if you're not by your remote at the time."
"Right."
You wouldn't have an easier time bagging prey if you took an AK-47 to a petting zoo. Old-school duck-hunters now complain of recent advances in duck-decoy technology.

posted by gwint at 6:35 AM on September 20, 2007


I remember reading where the amount of time saved by the housekeeping labour-saving devices comes out to around 15 minutes over the course of the 20th Century. Yeesh.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:48 AM on September 20, 2007


Yeah, that's all I need now, to be criticized by Vanity Fair
posted by poppo at 7:39 AM on September 20, 2007


I'd give a shit about this, but it's too much work.
Now watch this drive.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:47 AM on September 20, 2007


You know what invention REALLY made us lazy? THE PILL. Cuz see, before that every time people had drunken, regrettable sex there was a good chance they'd end up getting pregnant & having to raise children.

Ummm... okay, so sometimes I like laziness.

Geez it's been a Hell of a long time since I've had drunken, regrettable sex tho... I'm just way too lazy.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:47 AM on September 20, 2007


My car stereo has a remote control and even I admit that's kinda silly.

(however, I drive a Grand Marquis, so that means I have to lean over like, real far...)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:56 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, at least all these fancy new devices gave this asshole enough free time to complain about how lazy the rest of us are.
posted by Muddler at 8:09 AM on September 20, 2007


"To save all the hassle of putting your hot dog in the bun yourself."

Actually......... I eat these out of the vending machine at work sometimes. It's certainly not a *great* hotdog, but it's not too bad either. What's wrong with that? Seems like a pretty darn good thing to me. Should a hotdog which is convenient for my work situation be disallowed?

I'm happy to pack a lunch some days. Other days I enjoy the freedom of choice. I can go out for lunch, I can grab a snack from the vending machine, I can skip it altogether. Let me have my freaking lazy hotdog sometimes. A hotdog that I have to work hard to eat can be for some other time.

And you know what? My parents used to be pseudo-hippies. I've helped make sausages from meat we raised ourselves. It sucked. How many people here have scooped the guts out of an animal they raised, killed, and plan to eat? I can assure you it's not an experience that made the world a better place, or me a better person. It's just gross and vile and a pain in the ass.

I even lived in a cabin for a while with no running water or electricity. Modern conveniences are making us lazy? No Mr Windolf. Modern conveniences are keeping us from freezing our asses off when we have to trek to the outhouse in the middle of the night.

I'd really like to know how many years the author spent living the "see animal, chase animal, kill animal, skin animal, cook animal, eat animal" lifestyle. Because I spent many years doing that. It sucks. Given the option of eating a vending machine hotdog, or tracking down another stinking goddamn deer in some freezing-ass forest out in the middle of nowhere.......... Yes, please, give me my vendor dog.

Simple question Mr Windolf - How many animal carcasses have you carried out of the woods on your back? How many irrigation ditches have you dug by hand? How many nights have you peed in an outhouse holding a flashlight in your mouth?

Shut the fuck up dickwad.
posted by Vorpil at 8:52 AM on September 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


In 2001 I spent some time on my Austrian friend's parents' dairy farm. When I came back to California, I joked about being the guest of honor as they artificially inseminated their cows. Nine out of ten times, people scrunched up their faces in response and said, "Ewww! Yuck. That's totally gross!" All were meat-eating, leather shoe-wearing people.

It wasn't gross (although it was less fun for the cow than it should be), and I actually found it really interesting. I think everyone should have to see a working farm firsthand and understand where food comes from -- IT'S A LOT OF WORK. And that everyone should have to put the work into a garden once in their life and eat a tomato they had to actually watch grow and wait for it to grow red enough to eat. I think it's kinda important, just on a human level. Likewise, I'm thinking people should twirl their own spaghetti. But YMMV.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:01 AM on September 20, 2007


A hotdog that I have to work hard to eat can be for some other time.

Yeah, getting the hotdog out of the package, getting the bun out of the package, and putting the hot dog in the bun is such hard work.

Just the fact that it only saves a tiny amount of work doesn't make the hot-dog-in-a-bun plastic-wrapped package stupid though. The fact that they sure as hell aren't managing that with a half-decent quality hot dog or bun and that you pay x times more is why it should be rejected.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:45 AM on September 20, 2007


Lemme get this straight.. Americans work too much... but we're ever so lazy? Give me a break, asshole.
posted by triolus at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2007


Smed: Uh... so I go through these thousands of lines of comments articles and, uh... it doesn't really matter. I uh... I don't like it, and, uh... I don't think I'm gonna post anymore.
You're just not gonna post?
Smed: Yeah.
Won't you get banned?
Smed: I don't know, but I really don't like it, and, uh, I'm not gonna post.
So you're gonna quit?
Smed: Nah-uh. Not really. Uh... I'm just gonna stop posting.
When did you decide all that?
Smed: About an hour ago.
An hour ago... so you're gonna find another community weblog?
Smed: I don't think I'd like another blog.
Well, what are you going to do about comments and snark and...
Smed: You know... I've never really liked making comments. I don't think I'm gonna do that, either. It's not that I'm lazy; it's that I just don't care.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:50 AM on September 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Gadgetry has no correlation to laziness. People spend money on gadgets so they will have more time to do things that are more valuable to them. That's the principle anyway.

The washing machine, the dryer, the vacuum cleaner, the mobile computer... what did these things do for us except get us to wash our clothes much more often, clean our rugs much more often, and work while on vacation?

You know what else made us lazy? The cotton gin and the motorized tractor.
posted by zennie at 1:05 PM on September 20, 2007


True convenience would be if the peanut butter and jelly arrive pre-spread on two pieces of bread and (wait for it) I can buy it.

Something like this? (I love these, by the way.)
posted by naoko at 1:19 PM on September 20, 2007


He badmouthed Sesame Street. What an asshole.
posted by naoko at 1:30 PM on September 20, 2007


Stuff that saves me work = great!

Stuff that saves you work = decline of civilization.
posted by languagehat at 2:15 PM on September 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


That picture of Heder is pretty funny, but I got bored by the time I got to the end of the first page.

Yes, the invention of the washing machine truly did make us lazy.

Don't we all miss the 2 or so hours of scrubbing and rinsing that it has removed for all of us?

And those who have dishwasher no doubt miss doing the dishes so much.


I have a dishwashing machine and I don't use it. I prefer to wash them by hand (especially since you have to wash knives and wine glasses that way anyway). So much easier, to be honest, and they're all done (washed/dried) at once. Of course, I live in a small household ... your 2 hours is likely my 15 minutes. The "time savings" of the dishwaster are awfully minimal for me.

Now, a washing machine that wasn't 2 blocks away and is open all night? That would be a time saver.

I don't understand the anti-gadgetry in general, though. Somebody must have been fishing for a topic this month ...
posted by mrgrimm at 6:04 PM on September 20, 2007


Most every time I've been to a yard sale I see someone trying to unload a little-used exercise machine.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:58 PM on September 20, 2007


Thanks to American IP laws, one can get rich making time saving devices. Does that motivation get recognized for the plethora of inane devices America churns out?


(Caveat: IAAIPL) American IP laws don't make anybody rich without consumer demand for novel and/or time-saving inventions. Without the public's need, want, or willingness to purchase its invention, the new patent registrant does not get rich, but is instead >$15k in the hole for legal fees. Although you’re right that the vast majority of patented devices (in the U.S. and elsewhere) are hardly the revolutionary wonders of the combustible engine, the sewing machine, or the birth control pill, if an invention is truly pointless then fewer people will need or want it and its value/return will reflect accordingly. And if an "inane" invention succeeds in making its patent holder rich then perhaps the problem is not with the patent system, but with the inanity of the consuming public.

But maybe the better question here is why shouldn't the inventors of meaningful time-saving devices be rewarded for their risk and imagination?
posted by applemeat at 10:43 PM on September 20, 2007


I totally claim my laziness, and my hunger for convenience. And I also see it as a huge part of the global warming situation. I, we have been trained to go for the easiest, most time saving solution. That worked when our survival was not at stake. Now is a different story. Hence, the problem.
posted by lamarguerite at 9:57 AM on October 1, 2007


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