The new, new dumb: Paul Carr’s 12 Steps

Has Paul Carr’s article on alcoholism been popular inspite of being dumb or because of it? My Secret to Getting Sober – WSJ.com.

Of course, it’s always popular to mischaracterize and bash AA. Carr isn’t very original; it’s rather familiar ground he re-plows. But he does it with brisk efficiency, and the fact that he’s been sober for more than two years gives him a certain credence, at least to those who don’t know better.

Carr did the usual stuff that alcohol abusers do when they want to quit drinking. He got in shape, got a girlfriend (or at least some dates) and got a new line of work. This approach doesn’t work for alcoholics, of course, but it’s a tried and true method for people with bad habits.

Although he refuses to recommend his quit-drinking-program to others (with a doozy of a disclaimer at the end of the article), Carr nonetheless codifies his method in steps. “Take that, AA!” he seems to be saying, as he runs merrily through the 12 Steps of Paul Carr.

At the end of the article, he seems to veer perilously close to conscious thought when he talks about “repairing all the broken aspects of your life.” But he’s not talking about his life. No! He wants to find new and better ways to preserve his favorite habits, like “reckless spending.” Americans will always love a Brit like this.

In running this fatuous article, the WSJ keeps up it’s storied tradition of running other fatuous articles, like its peerless defense of opaque credit default swaps. Hey, it’s the free market of ideas.

–Jeff Jay

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