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Joy Subtraction

Joy Subtraction

Joy Subtraction

The subtraction of joy. It’s not a new concept—individuals and organizations have been engaging in it for as long as there have been individuals and organizations. Some notable practitioners include the U.S. Congress, girlfriends and wives (and boyfriends and husbands), Mel Gibson, anyone who thinks Ayn Rand had good ideas, Jonathan Franzen, Nazis, Gwen Stefani, every chamber of commerce, and Ted Nugent. But there is an entity that has made the practice a fine art, elevated it to a level higher than Mount Olympus. Because it’s one thing to subtract joy—anyone can do that. But that is merely one tine of a forked tongue. That’s just nihilism. There’s no greater purpose being served. The trick is to subtract the joy of others while maximizing one’s own pleasure. That’s when Joy Subtraction can become art.