Friday, January 22, 2010

The Best of the BAD

If you're still confused by BAD as defined by Paul Fussell, a quick rundown of the difference between the bad and the BAD should make it clearer. Some of these examples are mine, others come from Fussell's 1991 book "BAD Or, The Dumbing of America."
Jell-O is bad food. Dyed, chemically treated fruit is BAD food.
Howard Stern is bad because he's an obnoxious radio entertainer. But because Stern has never pretended to be sophisticated or profound, he doesn't qualify as BAD. Rush Limbaugh, who's taken seriously as a political commentator despite his own obnoxiousness and his inability to get his facts straight, is BAD.
A public sign that misuses the apostrophe ("Open Sunday's") is merely bad, but a sign that needlessly inflates language ("Open Monday to Sunday" instead of the simpler "Open Daily," for example) is BAD.
Detroit is a bad city. Atlantic City, which is just as rotted and decaying as Detroit but bills itself as a tourist destination because of its glitzy, modern, sumptuously appointed casino-hotels, is BAD. Las Vegas, because of its sense of what kind of city it is and its acknowledgment of its own character, is more bad than BAD, but Washington, D.C., because it is our nation's capital and has nothing other than the showy, empty political elite to brag about, is very BAD.
Sarah Palin and Scott Brown, I believe, are more bad than BAD because they're not showy enough, but if either one of them runs for President, that may change.
I think that should explain Fussell's ideas.

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