Return to bad (idea)
BAD (case-sensitive in this instance) is a critique of American society and global Americanization by Paul Fussell. "What's the difference between bad and BAD? Bad is something like dog-do on the sidewalk, or a failing grade, or a case of scarlet fever--something no one ever said was good. BAD is different. It is something phony, clumsy, witless, untalented, vacant, or boring that many Americans can be persuaded is genuine, graceful, bright, or fascinating. Lawrence Welk is a low example, George Bush a high. For a thing to be really BAD, it must exhibit elements of the pretentious, the overwrought, or the fraudulent. Bathroom faucets that cut your fingers are bad. If gold-plated, they are BAD. Dismal food is bad. Dismal food pretentiously served in a restaurant associated with the word gourmet is BAD. Being alert to this distinction is a large part of the fun of being alive today, in a moment teeming with raucously overvalued emptiness and trash." Fussell then proceeds to skewer
and round it all out with a chapter called "The Dumbing of America" (which is also the subtitle of the book).