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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Make sure you are well-scrubbed, your nails are clean and your hair is washed. Remember that girls are as nervous around you as you are around them, if you can imagine such a thing. They think and act rather differently to you, but without them, life would be one long rugby locker room. Treat them with respect.”

From The Dangerous Book for Boys, page 127. Sound advice on every page. The book is a non-PC work of genius that has tapped into a sense among many folk that life has become too obsessed with safety and avoidance of risk.

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Ham

    I generally sympathise with people who question why such a book could not also appeal to a young girl, but an expression of this book’s brand of restless adolescence gets you put on Ritalin, so I wouldn’t want my daughter near it anyway.

  • Julian Taylor

    You might well say that, but there is an equivalent book for girls just about to be published in the UK.

  • Ham

    Whoever is writing these is playing with fire!

    Unless the girls’ one is exactly the same, there will be trouble. Well…at least five pages ranting in the Guardian.

  • I was recently given the How to Be the Best at Everything Boys Book. It’s a cracker too.

    My favorite tip is how to hypnotize a chicken. Useful and fun!

  • Jack Coupal

    The book has finally been published in the US as of May 1.

    I have already bought 1 copy for my grandson and may get another copy.

    It appears to be as popular here as in the rest of the Anglosphere.

  • manuel II paleologos

    Wow – that’s a very useful tip indeed.

    I liked the comment in the very first section, something like
    “A large handkerchief: useful for a number of purposes including making a sling, or for giving to girls when they cry”.

    I’ve bought this for numerous godsons, nephews etc. as well as my own boys. Bought for an American friend’s boys too – presume that the US version (which has been getting a lot of press on Instapundit) has its own history and sports sections?

  • J

    It’s a very good book, but the things in it are really not especially dangerous. That’s not a criticism. Indeed, it would be very silly for any book to advise children to do dangerous things.

    Something I have noticed over the last couple of decades, is that children are *not* becoming more risk averse. It used to be easy to convince children aged 11-14 that they were doing something fairly dangerous. It’s now very hard to, even when they actually *are* doing something dangerous.

    We live in a world where jumping off a tower with elastic round your ankles is considered a fun holiday activity. It is indeed fairly safe. But it is safe because a lot of effort from experienced people – from elastic manufacturers down, goes into making it safe. The one person who contributes nothing either way to the safety of the activity, is the person jumping off.

    Such activities teach us that extreme thrills are safe, and we need take little responsibility for assessing the situation ourselves. It’s hard to convince children that swimming in a river is more dangerous than bungee jumping. It’s hard to get children excited about walking up Ben Nevis when they’ve just come back from skiing in the alps.

    The problem is not that children today don’t do dangerous things. It’s that they can’t well judge the true danger of a situation, and what they can do to reduce or increase that danger. The excitement of an activity is no longer closely linked to its danger, and that only makes the judgement harder.

  • It’s a very good book, but the things in it are really not especially dangerous.

    Oh I disagree, it is just not dangerous for the children.

  • Kim du Toit

    They say “one long rugby locker room” that that’s a BAD thing…?

    I’m always reminded of a friend who was berated by his girlfriend with the familiar “We never talk anymore!” and responded, “If I wanted good conversation, I’d go to the pub with my mates more often.”

    Alas, their relationship did not survive long after that, and he was all the happier for it.

  • Sunfish

    Oh I disagree, it is just not dangerous for the children.

    The **** it ain’t. Teach a teenage boy what he needs to know about girls and he’s liable to break an ankle jumping out of her bedroom window when her father knocks on the door.

  • Sam Duncan

    Then he obviously hasn’t been taught how to jump out of girls’ bedroom windows properly, Sunfish.

  • I concur, Duncan, a well drilled repertoire of rapid unscheduled exit techniques was something my dad made sure I was taught at a suitable (mid teen) age.

    It is amazing how far you can fall safely if you fully extend your arms from the ledge before you let go, don’t lock your knees and roll sideways to the direction of the drop.

    That said, treat the subject’s father like he’s “the coolest geezer you’ve ever met and oh how you wish your dad was so cool” and those sort of manoeuvres are rarely required, hell, he’ll probably buy you the “rubber johnny” himself … as I’m now of that the age myself, I can see why such dastardly psych-ops techniques worked all too well.

  • I bought it soon after it came out and I am surprised, and delighted, it is becoming a ‘phenomenon’.

  • RAB

    I havent read this little book, but read many good things about it. But it is Just William without the jokes and narrative isn’t it? A world that my generation grew up with naturally and which the current one will never know.
    Now a book that I’m sure the Just Williams of the English speaking world would have read back in the 1920’s was-
    The Children’s Encyclopedia by Arthur Mee.
    I am flicking through volume three right now.
    It is astonishing what was expected of an eight to twelve year old to know back then.
    Things to make and do include how to make a model hot air balloon that works and how to measure the height of a tree. You get an A grade A level for that sort of stuff now!
    If re- published as pure nostalga, The children’s Encyclopedia would be the sensation of the decade. It may also shame our current educationalists into realising how badly they are doing their job.
    I re-iterate. The books were designed for 1920/50s British Children aged 8 to 12. They did every science and skill from brewing to candle making, to astrophysics and chemistry. The Arts and literature, was there as well… Well It’s an Encyclopedia!
    If anyone has seen a copy they will know what I mean.
    Hell I may investigate the copyright! I think I may be on a winner here!!

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    I grew up with the Children’s Encyclopaedia on the bookshelves, and that was in Australia.

    You couldn’t republish it these days, probably too racist and sexist.

  • Terry Wrist

    Women: Everything got to be just perfect for them. Unfortunately, whoring is far from acceptable in polite ACC society, as an alternative to girl friend screwing. Although, remunerated dating makes the distinction a tad mute.
    So here are the guidelines:
    – there’s always tomorrow
    – there’s plenty more where that came from
    – never barfine a girl with wet hair, and
    – you never lose your girl, you just lose your turn (advice that David Blunkett would have been wise to heed)
    Been there, done that, got the Tee-shirt.
    Now go ahead, be shocked and appalled. TIA; This is Asia. Or occasionally, TIFA.

  • RAB

    You couldn’t republish it these days, probably too racist and sexist.

    Oh it certainly is ! But that’s the publicity taken care of right there!
    The hue and cry from Gardianistas and “Educationalists” would have sets flying off the shelves! People are becoming perverse in their purchases. Hence the popularity of the original book in question.
    Besides if you read it cover to cover, and despite most of the science being 100 years out of date, you’d still end up better educated than 6 years at a bog standard Comrehensive.