Doing Nothing

Download Audio

"Every man is, or wants to be, an idler," wrote the great Samuel Johnson in 1758. And he surely could have added every woman, too. From Johnson to Jack Kerouac to Ferris Bueller and the great age of Slackers, the appeal of lounging, loafing, goofing off, and vegging out has been huge — always there, snoozing right behind the work ethic.

Now, with the slide into summer upon us, who would not rather go fishin', hit the beach, catch a wave — loaf. Leave the cubicle and the deadline and the time clock and do nothing, or only what we pleased.

From dharma bums to lazy bums, and unrepentant slackers, hear the great and horizontal history of loafing.


Tom Lutz, author of "Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America"

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst, senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly

This program aired on May 30, 2006.


More from On Point

Listen Live