In this bitingly witty book, Joe Bennett lays bare the techniques behind bullshit and how it has become so ingrained in our everyday lives we can barely recognize it.
Bullshit has always been with us, but the proliferation of media in the last century means we are now drowning in the stuff. If we were to strip bullshit from our conversations, television screens, newspapers and airwaves, we would barely recognize what remained. Bullshit has become so accepted that people can not only make a living from it, and use it to achieve power, prestige and wealth, they can even win prizes for it. Unironic prizes.
Joe Bennett reveals examples of everyday bullshit — commercial, spiritual and political — from New Zealand and around the world to expose the techniques that underlie it. These techniques are surprisingly few and surprisingly simple.
Describing an email he received during The Rugby World Cup in which Telecom proclaimed themselves to be ‘massive All Blacks fans’ who wanted to ‘share their passion’ with him, Joe writes ‘the email is transparently dishonest, from start to finish, as hollow as a rotten log. It assumes that I am a thumb-sucking dupe. And yet there is nothing exceptional about its false matiness. Stuff like this bombards us from all sides at all times. Why aren’t we screaming?’ 'Double Happiness' is Joe Bennett’s scream, loud and clear, railing against the bullshit that assails us on a daily basis, and to which most of us have become oddly immunized.
There are two possible consequences of this exposure. One is that bullshit will be laughed out of existence forever. The other and more likely consequence is that bullshit will continue to proliferate and the bullshitters to prosper. But anyone who reads 'Double Happiness' will at least be able to identify exactly how they are having bullshit foisted upon them — and, at the same time, relish some vigorous argument from a master stylist.