Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly witty, intelligent and thought provoking., 14 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Devil's Advocate (Paperback)
John Humphry's writes a challenging critique of the confused social and political landscape of Britain today. In Section One, Humphry's examines the increasing tendency of people today to blame others for their supposed 'misfortune', leading to an increase in compensation claims for 'personal injury', which he refers to as the 'victim culture'. Alongside this he also looks at how society has become so fearful of taking risks and preoccupied with safety, that many schools have started abandoning field trips for fear of being sued should accident and injury occur. There are also some poignant personal references to the Aberfan disaster in 1966. Humphrys descibes not only the dreadful scenes he witnessed as a reporter, but how the financial generosity shown by the public, who raised £1.75 million for the victims families, was turned against the villagers by the Wilson government and National Coal Board (NCB) who said that the money should be used to clean up the landslide, when it was clearly the NCB's fault. Further excellent analyses looks at how trust has broken down in society. He makes a reference to the chilling and repulsive child abuse 'suspicions' raised against former news colleague Julia Somerville, when a film developer at Boots became 'suspicious' at the number of naked bath time photographs taken of her baby. There are many amusing analogies in this book to things which irritate the author which had me in stitches of laughter. However the subsequent sections of the book go on to criticise the 'consumer culture' which Humphrys sees as all pervading. This preoccupation with 'consumer culture' in my opinion, is one of the weaker points of the book. Humphrys argues that the expansion of 'consumerism' is largely responsible for contemporary social atomisation and political disillusionment. What Humphrys fails to fully comprehend is that it is the failure of politics that has led to the climate today where we are all treated as 'consumers' rather than citizens, and not greater consumer choice. John goes back into personal reminiscences of growing up in post-war Cardiff, where there was a greater sense of community than is apparent today. Again what he only partially pinpoints is that today's breakdown of solidarity and 'community' is more to do with the Tina (There is no alternative) outlook of today's society, the general slowdown in capitalism, and the dissolution of 'right' and 'left' as competing political ideologies which gave the post-war world a semblance of 'coherence'. Humphrys flatters 'cosumerism' by giving it a dynamism it doesn't possess. If the 'consumer' is a limited view of the person, then surely a theory of 'consumerism' would be even more receding. Overall, this is an excellent, beautifully written and challenging book. Humphrys refers to a wide variety of sources to explain his argument, ranging from radical sociologist Frank Furedi to conservative psychologist Oliver James. An original and enticing piece of writing which runs rings around the political guff put forward by todays Labour and Conservative parties. We need more challenging voices today, Humphrys is one of them.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]