There are many ways of endearing people to your worldview. A carefully reasoned argument set out in engaging prose, or an impassioned cry for justice related to your own experiences, perhaps. Another way would be slamming them violently and repeatedly with your no-holds-barred attack on all things current, to make sure at least some of it sinks in. This is the approach taken by ‘angry-young-man’ Tristan Clark in Stick This in Your Memory Hole. The book’s intelligent, well-researched but putridly heated and often officious arguments cover 37 current issues in Australian and western society such as political party systems, economics, vegetarianism, the environment, the media, nuclear energy, the concept of patriotism, and much, much more. While the topics are broad, certain ‘themes’ begin to emerge and recur. For example, all (big ‘L’) Liberals are wankers and f**kwits (some of his favourite words), eating meat is horrendously bad, and drinking isn’t so bad.
While parts of the book are laugh-out-loud clever and almost elicit applause, there are many parts where even Clark notes his own biases, and presents us with contradictions. One contradiction is his one-sidedness when he is really urging ‘the other side’ to be more open-minded. Some moments of genius include his choice of theme songs for political parties, his look at dangers to democratic liberties within current capitalism (in ‘Shit Talkin’ to the Shit Eatin’), and his own questions added to the citizenship test. As an example:
‘Which of the following are Australian values?
a. Men and women are equal
b. ‘A fair go’
d. All of the above
e. ‘Whoever smelt it dealt it’
f. ‘Lebos go home’’
At first, the swearing and insults are a little grating, then once into the rhythm of the book they have a certain appeal, especially his use of colloquial swearing that is usually only let loose amongst good mates (like ‘f**k oath’) but by the end it all gets quite tiring. After about half way, one can read the title of the chapter and the first line and know exactly what his take on it is going to be. For many, this book will be annoying. They will feel they’re been spoon-fed someone’s (well-researched) opinion in short, angry bursts, rather like being yelled at. But there will be many dissenting youth out there for whom this book will really strike a chord – it is defiant and anarchic, and it does carry a ‘shitload’ of relevant, shocking and important facts.
Purchase Stick this in Your Memory Hole from Aduki.