Cheeky and snotty punk philosophy from across the pond.
Founder and editor of The Idler, British grouch Hodgkinson (How to Be Idle, 2005) is mad as hell—about everything. He hates kvetchers, for example, contending that “Moaning means a shirking of responsibility. And people make money from it, particularly lawyers.” He has no love for the typical 21st-century career arc, claiming, “You start out doing work experience, you graduate to being bossed around by idiots, you become idiotic and, then, if all works out well, you end up being the idiot who bosses other people around.” He also has issues with television and wishes you would chuck yours out the window. Nor does he like rude people, which is somewhat ironic, since throughout his engaging, lucid rant on today’s society, he’s nothing if not rude. But if he were polite, what fun would that be? Hodgkinson’s sophomore effort is indeed a hoot, in a Michael-Moore-on-crack kind of way. Like Moore, he’s a well-meaning, left-leaning smarty-pants who wants to change the world by utilizing a blend of biting humor and cannily positioned facts. His structure is a bit messy—the chapters are all but interchangeable—but his prose is edgy and readable, and the energy never flags, a definite danger in this rambling format. He did a ton of research, appropriating the words and thoughts of everybody from Dante and Bertrand Russell to Greil Marcus and Ken Kesey to support his boiling rage at the medical profession, consumerism, class division, etc., etc., etc. The content is a bit on the time-sensitive side, and the book probably won’t have much punch beyond 2008, but for now, if you need a dose of quality righteous indignation, you need not look further.
The perfect antidote to those who are secretly frightened of Rhonda Byrne.