Saturday, July 12, 2014

Would you attend a conference about procrastination?

I'm sure many of us have heard the old proverb that "Procrastination is the thief of time" (although I think constipation may be even more so . . . but let's not go there!).  I was therefore bemused to discover that the subject is receiving academic attention.  The Telegraph reports:

To Oxford, that humming hive of academic endeavour and fantastical far-niente, for a cultural exploration of procrastination convened by the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing.

Procrastination is notoriously the scourge of creative types, schoolchildren and journalists. Its patron saints are Dr Johnson, frantically scribbling as the printer’s boy waited to snatch the sheets with the ink still wet upon them; Cyril Connolly, morosely cataloguing the sombre impediments to good art (the pram in the hall, the blue bugloss of journalism, the charlock of sex, the slimy mallows of success, etc) while scoffing gulls’ eggs and failing to write a good novel; and Douglas Adams, the modern virtuoso of procrastination, who cheerily admitted that “I love deadlines, I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

The sacraments of procrastination are coffee, Red Bull, Pro-Plus and a lurid spectrum of less innocent stimulants. Its ceremonies are the missed deadline, the specious excuse and the exasperated riposte of the schoolmaster and editor.

. . .

The fuzzy boundary between work and idleness was a leitmotif of the conference, with papers on “Idle Days in Baghdad: The emergence of bourgeois time and the coffee shop as a site of procrastination”, and the Egyptian novelist, Albert Cossery’s poitics of laziness. Cossery, who remarked that he wrote “only when I have nothing better to do”, produced eight novels in 60 years, written mostly at the Café de Flore, an establishment to which he once turned up in a wheelchair pushed by a beautiful blonde, still wearing the pyjamas of the hospital from which he had just fled.

There's more at the link.

Surely a conference about procrastination should have failed to start according to the timetable, and have been reconvened at a later date?



Capt. Schmoe said...

Maybe next year.

Stu Garfath. Sydney Aus. said...

Capt. Schmoe, what's the rush?.

Anonymous said...

For a while at Flat State U, someone had a notice up stating: "The Procrastinators Anonymous Meeting Has Been Postponed."


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Graybeard said...

I keep meaning to join the Procrastinators club, but I've never gotten around to it.