Paul Krugman's article “Reckonings; Pursuing Happiness” is the wittiest articles I have read so far. The humor and tone of the article, compared to the other article of his we read, really stood out to me. Because of the sarcastic tone and clever humor, I think Krugman's article is very effective.
Krugman grabs the reader's attention with humor in the first paragraph of the article. He is making fun of the movie American Beauty and says it was based on the “original premise that material possessions don't bring happiness.” He is even being sarcastic with the word “original”. He then goes on to write, ‘Oh, well. Anyway, not all trite ideas are wrong.” This is funny because it is true that we hear all the time that money can't buy happiness and that American Beauty did receive a huge amount of attention and it was based on this common idea.
In the last paragraph, Krugman writes, “Is there any way out of the dilemma? Well, East Germany had full employment without a rat race—but it fell a bit short in the life and liberty departments.” This is funny because it is subtle. The reader needs to know about East Germany and communism's restrictive ways, but the reader gets the joke if he or she knows that our county is founded on the ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Krugman's article is witty because he seems to really know what he is talking about. Paragraphs 6 and 7 demonstrate Krugman's knowledge of the effects some changes made on society to improve a materialistic “pursuit of happiness” might have. He specifically talks about increasing minimum wage and then says we, as the U.S., would end up like the French who are no happier than we are because unemployment generated by increased minimum wage is demoralizing.
In short, I find Krugman's article to be very effective because it grabs my attention with its humor, it is witty, and has a sarcastic tone that takes the issue seriously but makes a point in an interesting way.