Annual misses the mark

2010-03-17 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

Laugh It Off Annual 4

Brendon Bosworth, Bryce Hepburn, Michelle Willmers, Mike Zeitsman, Bartlett

Jacana

THE idea behind Laugh It Off Annual­ 4­ — an annual published from a website — is to “capture the spirit of our young democracy from A to Z”.

It’s difficult to ascertain what the point of this book is. Even if it’s merely a critique of the status quo of various aspects in our country, it’s not sharp enough to pinpoint exactly what those issues are.

First off, the layout feels a lot more congested and incongruent than the home page of the brand’s website (www.laughitoff.co.za). That’s to be expected when you are dealing with submissions, but that’s not a conundrum a reader should have to redesign — it should have been presented better­.

It seems as though every submission has been used along with an effort to cut back on printing costs ... the end result is big chunks of text which hardly seem to target a current youth market. But then you have to define youth, which in this country is up to 35 and includes Julius Malema. Are most under-35-year-olds interested in an annual that consists of large chunks of text?

If it’s an older audience the book is aimed at again, it just seems arbitrary. The jokes, the humour and the signature cynical satire of Laugh It Off Annual 4 just don’t seem to fulfil what previous issues did. When you think about it, the subject matter — which pokes and prods at law, religion, parents, and most socially built infrastructures — is just not cutting enough to be funny. It’s morbid. This is a half-cocked attempt sledging off South Africa, and thus not a book for patriotic young country folk.

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