Work It

Today we have chosen hope over fear – US Elections – Independent.ie

Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted — for those who prefer leisure over work

Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus)
Image via Wikipedia

The most important thing about work, for me, is that I don’t want to do any. When I say ‘work’, I mean those tasks I am compelled to carry out in order to buy food and keep the wolves away from the door, which is what most people understand by work.

It’s worth pointing out that work, in the sense Obama uses it, is an abstract idea, but he talks about it as though it exists as a concrete reality (the same would apply to leisure). To illustrate, let’s test his statement with a few examples of things reasonably described as work:

It has not been the path for the fainthearted — for those who prefer leisure over carrying out their duties as a concentration camp guard.

It has not been the path for the fainthearted — for those who prefer leisure over having sex with drunken men in exchange for cash.

It has not been the path for the fainthearted — for those who prefer leisure over playing snooker at the Crucible.

It has not been the path for the fainthearted — for those who prefer leisure over shovelling pig slurry.

The process by which an abstraction is treated as though it had concrete form is known as reification. This is not a word you are likely to hear in an inaugural presidential address, for fairly obvious reasons.

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Update: Harry Browne has more on this.

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6 Responses to “Work It”


  1. 1 Sweary January 21, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    And there I was being all inspired and ready to roll up me sleeves and do some good, at the very least metaphorically. Thanks a lot, Mr. Snidely Logical!

  2. 2 Hugh Green January 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    ‘Snidely Logical’, eh? Hmm, maybe this means I’d better keep my Obama-The-Blood-Scarfing-War-Criminal post under wraps for a little while longer.

  3. 3 Marian Quinn January 22, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Might be very effective as a hyphenate: if you were styled Mr. Hugh Snidely-Logical I expect you would secure many invitations to country house parties.

  4. 4 Hugh Green January 22, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Maybe, but to cook a hog and partridge roast for them as their celebrity chef.

  5. 5 lolarusa January 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I couldn’t help but suspect that the two million people on the Capitol Mall and the many millions of Amercians watching on television felt the same sense of unfocused energy after the inauguration that I did. I just felt I should be doing something useful, but I didn’t know what it should be.

    Tidied up the kitchen.

  6. 6 Hugh Green January 23, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Well, I was already at work when Obama was giving his speech. Mainly because I was at work.


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