Friday, 4 January 2008

GK Chesterton Vs Paul McKenna

The G in G.K. Chesterton stands for Gilbert, but it's my experience that it could easily stand for 'great' - though GKC himself would be loathe to hear such sentimentality or sycophantism.

"But why great?" you ask. And I will tell you, oh inquisitive and forbearing reader!

You see I find that when a situation occurs -- whether it's a thought on the latest politically correct fad, or some particular political con and I struggle to find adequate words to encapsulate the situation with all its ridiculousness, seriousness and craziness -- there is usually some little gem hidden away written so long ago by GKC that skewers the situation with the kind of dry wit and exact language that escapes the rest of us so often.

I'll give you an example.

The other day I was in one of the main bookshop chain outlets just killing time and browsing really, with a couple of the FC sprogs in tow, when we noticed the preponderance of books by hypnotist Paul McKenna.

I'm not sure if they'd be called "lifestyle" or "self-betterment" books, anyway I'm sure you know the sort.

We were laughing because one was called something like "How I Can Make you Rich." I told the sprogs not to buy the book - making them quite a few pounds better off immediately.

I then quipped - oh the gift of wit! - that the book should be called "You Can Make Me Rich."

What a talent for humour! I was carried out of the shop on the shoulders of two chaps such was the general merriment. At least that's what I thought till they said they were 'security' and I was banned from the shop for telling third-rate jokes everyone had heard before.

But seriously, there were a plethora of these books and a quick web search led me to find a few more of McKenna's books of wealth, health and much more besides.

Are we, as people, really so pathetic that we need to buy the warblings of these Uri Geller self-styled "experts" to make our lives "better?"

It was just a few days later that I found a piece in a collection of GKC's essays, which we keep in the smallest room in the house for family and visitors alike, entitled "The Fallacy of Success" in which he addresses this very fad.

You see such self-improvement books are nothing new!

Here's the piece by GKC - which I located on the net - that deals with these books, the authors and how they approach this thing from entirely the wrong angle.

GKC can do the subject justice, way better than I could. In fact, GKC would have told a better joke in the bookshop too!

The Fallacy of Success


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