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Briefing and Opinion
November 26, 2004

Western culture in general, and North American culture in particular, is becoming increasingly defined by the incessant search, even the need, for entertainment. In between slaving for the man and sacrificing for the kids, we crave some downtime when we can shuck off our cares, thumb our noses at the world, and ingest a little candy for the eyes and ears and sometimes even that most neglected of organs, the mind.

This perhaps explains why some of us are addicted to shows and media spectacles that are both annoying and compulsively watchable, otherwise known as irritainment(1995):
"Irritainment is a word we've come up with that means something is so annoying, you can't stop watching it." A good example was the O.J. Simpson murder trial. (AMUSEMENT BUSINESS, June 10, 2002)

joy-to-stuff ratio n. (1995) The time a person has to enjoy life versus the time a person spends accumulating material goods. As families become more affluent, sometimes they begin to suffer from what has come to be called "affluenza": They focus their lives around accumulating more and more stuff that they have less and less time to enjoy; their "joy-to-stuff" ratio gets out of balance. (CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER, December 28, 2001)


layoff lust n. (2001) The extreme desire to be laid off from one's job. A new term has entered the language: "layoff lust," the sudden desire to be sent away with a severance package, providing time at last to search for meaning and cultivate the soul. (ATLANTIC MONTHLY, April 2002)


One way to get yourself laid off is to become dispensable, and here's one tactic you could follow:

strategic incompetence n. (1985) Job performance that is purposefully incompetent. Some people are geniuses at avoiding hard work. Either through ignorance or strategic incompetence, they are constantly shunting their responsibilities onto someone else. It's easy to identify these flawed individuals. If you delegate something to them, they always return it to you half done. (PLAIN DEALER, Cleveland, March 2, 1993)