Doing Nothing (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Tom Lutz’s valuable and readable book swells a tide of recent writing on the meaning and nature of work in the global Information Age. That much low-wage work has become soul-killing, dangerous, or unsustainable is the theme of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, David Shipler’s The Working Poor: Invisible in America, Mark Robert Rank’s One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All, and Beth Schulman’s The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail Thirty Million Americans. However, even well-paying jobs can be damaging, as Richard Sennett demonstrates in The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism; here upward mobility is seen as productive of rootlessness, generational strife, compromised family life, and a sense of futility. Allen Wolfe’s Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice powerfully depicts the erosion of the ideals of mutuality and employer-employee loyalty as outsourcing and downsizing come to dominate corporate life.
Is it any wonder, then, that postsecondary, postcollege, and postmodern young people “boomerang” back to their parents, taking up long-term residence on couches and futons? This is where Doing Nothing begins, as Lutz’s son Cody moves in and commences what seems to be a career of watching television. Recalling his own formative...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 16 (April 15, 2006): 7.
Library Journal 131, no. 8 (May 1, 2006): 108-109.
The New York Times 155 (June 12, 2006): E6.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (June 4, 2006): 11.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 7 (February 13, 2006): 71-72.
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