cover image You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos

You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos

Robert Arthur . Feral House (Consortium, dist.), $24 (400p) ISBN 978-1-936239-43-6

Directly inspired by Peter McWilliams terrific volume, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do%E2%80%94his 1996 examination of hypocrisy and the erosion of personal liberties%E2%80%94Arthur offers a similarly-themed mash-up, commencing with less politically incendiary material (he begins with boogers) and over the course of the book working his way up to social mores and the drug war. That rather immature approach doesn't inspire much confidence at the outset, but as Arthur gains momentum, readers will find themselves increasingly engrossed. He unspools threads on centuries of papal sex scandals, rampant misinformation regarding the addictiveness of drugs, and consequences of sexual ignorance, identifying the common themes behind moral crusaders while outing famously pious philanderers like Henry Ford. Wild and inflammatory accusations abound, but Arthur backs up his observations, claims, and analyses with fistfuls of footnotes. Points such as the fact that most prostitutes are not drug addicts and that many actually enjoy their work, or the argument that the reason illegal drugs are so deadly is because they're illegal, won't sit well with those firmly entrenched in their beliefs, but Arthur's richly researched and readable treatise will give those open to other positions plenty to think about in this heavily annotated volume. (Jan)