- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Big Babies: Or: Why Can't We Just Grow Up? Hardcover – 2 Nov 2006
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
I suspect [this book] might change our world... it details, in shocking and visceral and wincingly recognisable fashion the way in which we are treated, by government and advertising and people who write signs and, well, everyone really, as if we are all mewling infants who have to be told, essentially, look look shiny shiny coin coin every forlorn second of every babyish day. --The Observer
Sharp, very funny and slightly disturbing...it is hard to know which group should be more despised: that which bosses and patronises with its imprudent warnings or that which feebly acquiesces. But one thing is certain: neither is likely to read Big Babies, for it is far too intelligent, witty and original to appeal to any of these infantile minds...Bywater must be our leader, Big Babies our bible. --The Telegraph
Michael Bywater [is] a wonderfully sharp and witty writer, whose sentences sing and dance, whose fluffiest paragraphs are held up by a steal core of thought. --The Scotsman
Have you ever had the feeling that, in some hard to define way, we are throwing away two and a half millennia of Western civilization, bit by bit, as our culture becomes more and more infantile? That day by day we grow more and more focused on the quick fix, the ticking-off, the expedient lie, the jingle, the spin, the catchy slogan, the obsession with safety, the horror of risk, the terror of complexity, the preoccupation with surface, the apportioning of blame, the instant gratification? Have you ever wondered what happened to grown-ups? Michael Bywater turns his penetrating eye on the state of Western culture, from politics and the media to show business and science, and concludes we are all Big Babies now. He argues that the Baby-Boom generation is now running the show, and its own commitment to perpetual infantility is reflected in its unstoppable drive to infantilize the rest of us.Ranging from the White House to Buckingham Palace, from MTV to the BBC, from mission statements to Viagra spam, Bywater examines advertising, music, politics, the health industry, education, religion, fashion, sport and publishing, and makes a fierce and often hilarious case that, in almost every area of our lives, we are inexorably becoming...Big Babies. See all Product description
Customers also shopped for
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
And yet, and yet - there are nuggets of brilliant thought here, stuff which really challenges you. If only this guy could find a serious editor who would make him do the job properly, we could end up with something of real worth, as well as providing a few deep laughs along the way.
So, it's worth a punt - but be ready to skim sections at speed, and get ready for a disappointing ending.
It makes a good start, as Bywater presents the thesis that we've become 'infantilized', unwilling to take responsibility for our actions, unable to make sensible choices, not wanting to question what we're told, etc. He backs this up with some standard complaints about things like over-legislation and safety notices; although this has all been said before, it's useful to hear it again (at one point, just after I'd read his indictment of a hot water tap to which had been affixed a "CAUTION: Hot water" notice, I looked up from the book and saw a tap with a label reading... "CAUTION: Very hot water"). He also references my personal peeve in this area - i.e., notices that say things like "Our staff have a right to work in a stress-free environment, and we shall proscute anyone who assaults them" - doubtless well-intentioned, but could anyone seriously imagine that they'd make a would-be assailant (even if literate) think twice about their actions?
However, although Bywater's a good writer, he doesn't really develop this idea, and I got a bit tired of the continued re-iteration of this theme, beginning to think that there really wasn't enough material here to warrant a full-length book. Perhaps the same message could have been delivered more usefully as an article - indeed, his suggestions about how to break out of the infantile condition are crisply presented in his last few pages; if a similar terseness had been used throughout, it would have had greater impact, I think.
It's an interesting idea and there are a few laughs along the way, but it's job done by page 10 and yet on and on it rambles for 250 pages. It's hard to keep up that level of indignation for that long but credit where credit's due Bywater achieves this. It becomes a polemic for the sake of itself.
The theory gets over stretched and the book suffers from major repetition. At times it's even self contradictory- he doesn't like books telling you what to think and moaning about the modern world as he then goes on to do both. He doesn't even like Amazon's review system- which means the 5 star reviews are going against the ethos of the book they so enjoyed.
Bottom line this book is not meant to change the world but be interesting and humorous and due to its length it ends up being neither.