A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America

Matthew Price in the Los Angeles Times:

Slackers may avoid the humdrum demands of the working life, but they aren’t necessarily lazy. Far from it: They can spend hours blowing hot air about why they avoid the grind. Society says, “Get off your duff”; the slacker volubly retorts, “Why the heck should I?”

Given his subject, it’s perhaps fitting that Lutz rambles on at a slacker-like pace as he traces the rise of this lovable if exasperating cultural type. You might know him — a few women turn up in “Doing Nothing,” but slacking, it turns out, is largely a male phenomenon — from your local video store or coffeehouse. But who knew the slacker had such an illustrious lineage? Samuel Johnson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Bertrand Russell and Jack Kerouac all issued spirited dissents to the conventions of work.

More here.