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Friday, December 10, 2010

Guardian: We *Invented* War on Fun!

Posted By on Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 12:05 AM

click to enlarge You want to get the Guardian to make 1984 references? Start hassling nightclub patrons.
  • You want to get the Guardian to make 1984 references? Start hassling nightclub patrons.

As is so often the case when the task befalls us to deconstruct a Guardian article, we don't know where to start. We always know where to end, however: At the train's terminus station, because we fell asleep reading the paper and someone is jabbing us with a cane.

Despite the imminent risk of somnambulism, we took a gander at a recent Guardian article decrying the "Orwellian" turn the "War on Fun" has taken via a proposal that nightclub-goers have to swipe their IDs, with the data being stored for weeks.

Once again, we learned more about the Guardian than whatever it was purporting to cover. First, it's interesting that the paper considers the notion of swiping club patrons' licenses to be a vestige of creeping totalitarianism -- but doesn't apply that standard to, say, empowering city employees to rummage through your garbage and fine you, penalizing drugstore owners for selling legal products, limiting what beverages workers are entitled to buy on city property, or mandating what foods parents may or may not feed their children.

click to enlarge In olden days, the 'War on Fun' was a tad more serious
  • In olden days, the 'War on Fun' was a tad more serious
It would seem the Guardian staff is fine with San Francisco government telling people how to live their lives, until San Francisco government tells them how to live their lives.

Second, it takes a lot of chutzpah to claim, as the Guardian does, that it "coined" the phrase "War on Fun" in 2006. It's a bit like Dr. Evil stating his father would "make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark." It also doesn't stand up to even the least bit of reporting.

Per the good folks at Lexis Nexis, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of uses of the term "War on Fun" dating back to decades before the Guardian's momentous "coining" of the phrase in '06. The following is a much abridged list:

LIFE IN CYBERSPACE; Computer Sex and the War on Fun Newsday (New York), November 22, 1994, Tuesday, ALL EDITIONS, HEALTH & DISCOVERY; COMPUTERS IN THE '90S; Pg. 29, 971 words, Joshua Quittner ... set off a War on Fun (see below) that is challenging the ... ... Outrage, expressed. The latest War on Fun began in earnest.What is a War on Fun?My friend, Marvin ... ... an incident referred to as the War on Fun.The War on Fun, according to the posting, began ... ... James T. Kirk.The War on Fun ended when an overzealous ...

MIND & MATTER Bah! Humbug! Who says science must be fun, fun, fun? The Globe and Mail (Canada), May 31, 1997 Saturday, SCIENCE; Pg. D5, 803 words, Malcolm Browne ... for all-out war on fun ...

Preston Manning's house of cards comes tumbling down The Ottawa Citizen, April 21, 1998, Tuesday, FINAL EDITION, NEWS; JOHN ROBSON; THE EDITORIAL PAGE; Pg. A13, 806 words, JOHN ROBSON; THE OTTAWA CITIZEN ... art and otherwise waging war on fun. Don't make me come ...

It would seem much warfare has been waged on fun in Canada -- and long before 2006. Hopefully there's still fun to be had in the Great White North. You'll  note the oldest article to appear in the Lexis search, dated 1994, includes the phrase "the latest war on fun."

Quite simply, the term "war on fun" is neither new nor complicated -- we wouldn't be surprised if dispatches from the Lancastrians or Yorks during the Wars of the Roses decried "Ye Warre on Funne." You really do have to be some kind of egoist to claim you "coined" it in 2006.

So far, the government hasn't yet commenced an Orwellian campaign to prevent that sort of chest-thumping bluster. But that day may yet come.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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