We must all acknowledge and adhere to the feeling of boredom, as we have all felt its distinct dampness in some form or another. Epstein’s essay “Duh, Bor-ing” is able to capture and enforce its ideologies through direct references and quotations; with a little education and perseverance you are able to decipher and put meaning behind the unique examples he portrays in his writing. Epstein starts his essay with “Somewhere I have read that boredom is the torment of hell that Dante Forgot” (Epstein 1).
In using this quote from Albert Speer we really get the feeling that boredom is unbeneficial and in fact tormenting at times. As many will agree with that statement, Epstein further goes on to say “When bored, time slows drastically, the world seems logy and without promise, and reality itself can grow shadowy and vague” (Epstein 2). There again giving you the feeling that boredom can cause you to perceive time differently and cause life to become dark and gloomy at times. He does a great job incorporating these quotes into his writing to really back the feeling that we carry towards boredom.
We have all felt the negative vibes portrayed from boredom and many of us try to avoid them at all costs. Being able to form my own opinions, judgments and thoughts on the subject allows Epstein’s essay to be easily relatable and interesting to read. Epstein further allows you to connect with the text by particularizing on the different types of boredom perceived. Situational Boredom, in which he relates to a “dull sermon” (Epstein 1) and existential boredom caused by modern culture. Epstein lets us ponder the thought that maybe our own modern culture is to blame for boredom.
He elaborates that boredom is often less pervasive in simpler cultures “One hears little of boredom among the pygmies or the Trobriand Islanders, whose energies are taken up with the problems of mere existence” (Epstein 2). With everything becoming increasingly more technological and people able to live easier, longer and healthier lives maybe we create our own boredom through modern society. He also refutes existential boredom in saying “Even animals know boredom, we are told, though they are deprived of the ability to complain directly about it” (Epstein 1). An animal at most represents the closest thing to be at its core un-modernized.
Although deprived from the ability to complain about it, animals symbolize pure primal instinct and yet are affected by boredom just alike. Naturally boredom has a negative stigma wrapped around it but as Toohey suggests “Boredom is good for us… Boredom can function as a warning sign…telling those who suffer unduly from it that they need to change their lives” (Epstein 5). Epstein’s allowing that negative stigma to be refuted upon and replaced with that of a greater self-perception. That maybe boredom is a self-defense mechanism or a symptom in reaction to your own life struggles and yet curable.
Epstein constant analytical approach to the advantages and disadvantages of boredom helps make this essay work in building credibility to the fact that he’s not one-sided or condensed. He capitalizes on the indifferences boredom promotes and truly tries to look at the subject from all angles and sides drawing power and reason from multiple sources and references. Overall with the use of distinct wordy visuals and references Epstein able to make his writing work in that of capturing his readers and allowing them to form their own interpretation on the matter.
Courtney from Study Moose
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