ANNOYING UPDATE: The contest is over. Click here for results.
Well This Is Irritating
For some reason, I’ve been asked to review a book called “is it just me or is everything shit?” subtitled, “insanely annoying modern things,” by Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur with Brandon Hay.
I wouldn’t be irritated about being chosen to review a compilation of annoyances except that my sister once gave me a book called, “The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation.” Am I so curmudgeonly that people think I am constantly jonesing for an annoyance fix? Or am I so laid back that people think I need a whole book of aggravating things to get me worked up to a mild lather?
“is it just me or is everything shit?” is an alphabetic list of those “insanely annoying modern things”. Some are longer pieces, such as “Xenu”, about what a scam Scientology is, or “Hitler, People Calling Each Other”, mainly about Bush calling people Hitler when perhaps he should be looking inward; these seem like a collection of essays the authors thought might go into some kind of book. Others are rather short such as “Toast, Overpriced”, which, in its entirety says, “There’s a lot of overpriced toast out there”, which are just there to fill out that book they wanted.
As you read it, you will recall Andy Rooney and “Didja ever notice….” Or Earl Pitts intoning, “You know what makes me sick? You know what makes me so angry…” except this is a whole book instead of one short bit.
Putting a bunch of annoying items together invites the reviewer to find the book itself annoying. I mean, if you read it for a while, you start to pick up on their vibe and think, “You know what’s insanely annoying: essays on insanely annoying stuff!” The list does not include “Blogs” specifically but does include “Self Examination columns”: any kind of writing in which the author observes him or herself doing something and writes about it as if everyone shared that interest. Yet that is the basis of this book, “Hey, we thought of some stuff we find annoying and you should too.”
If you are going to be out some evening with friends and you need something to pontificate about with a sense of superiority, read a few of these items and them bring them up over drinks. “Hey, what’s up with this people calling each other Hitler? And why is toast so pricey?”
In the end, though, these guys have identified a bunch of contemporary shit that does need to be called out (James Blunt, Botox, Dubai, Energy Drinks, among others) and they write about them in a humorous way that will make readers say, “Yeah, that’s what I would have written, if I was literate!” But you are not and you did not, so buy this book.
Or win a copy from me. In the comments, identify some modern thing that is truly annoying and write a brief description of why. The winner, as determine by the annoying panel of judges (me), gets a free copy of the book. The contest ends, not Sunday, November 9, but when I say it does. Then I will post the winner, who will need to send a mailing address to the publisher. Only residents of the US or Canada are eligible to win. You might find that annoying.