cover image Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit

Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit

Laura Penny, . . Crown, $21.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-8103-5

The odious lies of advertising and PR; "morbidly obese CEO bonuses"; news networks that are "content providers" rather than sources of journalism; "nutraceuticals," "cosmeceuticals" and lifestyle drugs; overly powerful and financially motivated insurance companies and HMOs; and, of course, the reliably unreliable politicians—Penny's political and corporate targets in this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink sendup are largely American (although she reserves some ammunition for her homeland, Canada—or, as she lovingly calls it, "Soviet Canuckistan"), and rest assured the U.S.A. comes off pretty badly in comparison to its neighbor to the north. Penny, 30, is a teaching fellow at King's College in Halifax. Her common-sense, ordinary-language observations are peppered throughout with historical context and riffs on current pop culture. (Some of the latter feel on the verge of being dated.) Penny's exemplars and analyses of official and corporate insincerity give an otherwise flip and insubstantial work some credible heft—even with the subtitle's blatant attempt to ride Harry Frankfurt's coattails. (Aug.)