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Is it just me or is everything shit?: Insanely Annoying Modern Things    by Steve Lowe, Alan McArthur & Brendan Hay order for
Is it just me or is everything shit?
by Steve Lowe
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Is it just me or is everything shit?, Steve Lowe, Alan McArthur and Brendan Hay describe 'Insanely Annoying Modern Things' from A to Z (Abstinence Programs to Z-List Celebrities Saving the Planet).

Though, not being up on the music scene, many of the entries eluded me, there's something for everyone - at least for everyone who enjoys an ironic look at modern life - in this biting volume. A typical entry on Adventurers/Mountaineers/Explorers begins, 'This is the news: Some bloke with more money than sense has got himself lost in a small dinghy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.' It continues 'would it be unreasonable to suggest that when they do capsize, rather than expect a multithousand-dollar rescue operation and media furor, they could at least have the decency to drown, quietly?'

There's a sarcastic comment on Body Art; a treatise on Books on CD that calls Finnegan's Wake 'a book that even people who really like reading get frightened of'; and depressingly valid entries on Calamity Porn, "Change Yourself Today!" Culture, Faith Schools, and Iraq War Euphemisms. I chuckled over 'what kind of person would want to stop anyone from seeing a film that "contains mild peril"?' in Film Warnings. And I groaned over Helpdesks, the notion that the IKEA store layout 'makes you feel like a lab rat', and Misery Memoirs.

Is it just me or is everything shit? is a humorous book that I believe Alan Alda and Tom Lehrer would enjoy - which is an accolade in itself. I recommend it as a holiday gift for those on your list who enjoy satire.

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