Thursday, January 12, 2006


This is the week for Echidne's moral sermons, it seems. Today's topic is boredom. The advertizing industry in the United States has been successful in turning most Americans into creatures which crave instant satisfaction and constant entertainment. Or that is how I will begin because I want to thunder about this concept that boredom is an undesirable trait in life.

The Alito hearings are boring, we are told by various journalists. The journalists deserve to be entertained, I guess, not just do their jobs. And the readers and watchers and listeners deserve to be entertained, too. If it's not entertaining, change the channel. Yet all the time the forces of Gilead are sharpening their spears and adding to their power over our lives. But they do it in a boring way so look elsewhere.

Boredom really bad thing. Professors are now expected to tapdance across the podium or students will fall asleep. Soon I expect my dentist to sing a little ditty while she pokes around in my maw. I can always take my beautiful teeth and my credit card and go elsewhere. So better keep me entertained.

Politics doesn't work very well with a citizenry trained in expecting entertainment. But bread and circuses works for those in power; they have no real interest in making politics interesting for the non-wonks. Don't buy it if it isn't entertaining! Too bad that you buy it whether it is entertaining or not.

Boredom is an essential part of life, and better than some other parts of life. There is no way of sailing through totally unbored unless your life is short and violent. The proper approach to boredom is to crack through it and pay attention.

End of sermon.