An Easy Lesson in Keeping Your Shoes Clean
Joe Bennett has had me laughing out loud reading his articles and now his treatise Double Happiness – How Bullshit Works.
Born of the generation, just a tad before Joe’s, I had often wondered why the lauded clothes, hairstyle, toothpaste etc. did not work their magic on me and help me achieve lifelong happiness and success. For example: Coke did not launch me into magical beach holidays with lots of friends; I did not achieve a svelte figure: and I never found time to write that block-buster novel I planned. I cannot blame my friends (or Coke); in my memory my friends were all trying the same promoted products with similar mediocre or skewed results.
I’ve just read Joe Bennett’s Double Happiness – How Bullshit Works. I can’t say it has been an awakening – more an “I understand now” revelation. For some reason being outside the mainstream, or looking at things differently, I took as not having the tenacity to follow through like film stars do. Now, thanks to Joe, I realise that, deep within, I harboured a simple distrust of the promises of nirvana.
Life for most is mediocre
Life for me would be a struggle outside the world of lovely (rich) people, I decided. And so it turned out. Not that life has been without happiness – on the contrary, I have been blessed with much joy and some heartbreak. I presume, (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that has been similar to the lives of most Baby Boomers who ploughed through life after the even-Greater World War.
New age temples
But back to Joe Bennett’s book. On the subject of sport, let me quote (p153-154): “In many parts of Europe temples are temples no longer. For most visitors they’re now little more than historical theme parks with gift shops. Today’s temples, where people still go to find the meaning and purpose through ritual, are, most commonly, sports stadiums.”
And so Joe goes on to disassemble the great business of international sport.
It’s not only sport that comes under his perceptive eye. Ever been suspicious about the use of the word ‘natural’? Ever wondered why you let things grab your emotions? Ever noticed how music is used to heighten that emotion? Answer, says Joe, is that someone is trying to sell you a product, or belief, that allows them to grow their coffers and power.
Worth a bedtime read
‘Stern stuff’, you might say. ‘Not something I want to read before bedtime.’
The joy of Bennett’s book, however, is that these unpalatable home truths go down with a dose of humour – laugh aloud humour. He is happy to share examples where he has fallen for the entrapment of the conflation, the slither of expertise, parochial milking, the tyranny of image and other bullshit. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you get hold of a copy of Double Happiness – How Bullshit Works for bedtime reading.
PS: As I went to edit this blog my email clicked and there was a request from Neilsen to take part in a survey on sport. If only they knew who they were giving this extended chance to in ‘in the draw’ for one of three Prezzie cards. Luckily I have been vaccinated against such advertising bullshit. Thanks Joe!