peteg's blog - noise - books - 2010 10 22 WillSelf TheQuantityTheoryOfInsanity

Will Self: The Quantity Theory of Insanity

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I read a lot of Will Self ten to fifteen years ago, in my impressionable youth. This is the first time I've read him since then, and this collection is a lot weaker than I remember. I only really enjoyed the titular piece, and even then not so much; the idea of reductivist studies is still funny, but these days it is played out in the real world, far too literally. I imagine that if he wrote that story now he would point to Madoff's ponzi scheme, providing quality financial services to the financiers. Self is too smart to be authentically empathetic; unlike Douglas Adams his humour to enlightenment ratio tends toward the brutal.