Intelligent digs at urban neuroses



I am Moderately Fond of Australia
Cartoons by Phil Somerville
Hardie Grant Books


Phil Somerville has contributed cartoons to the Bulletin, the Australian and is a semi-regular humourist at the Sydney Morning Herald. I would not be surprised if economic rationalist editors decide that Somerville's slightly surreal, gently subversive style just isn't rationalist enough for their liking — a good enough reason to buy this book.

Those who relish intelligent digs at urban neuroses and attacks on the violent intrusion of modern technology into our lives will find much to enjoy in Somerville's first published collection.

Somerville is a social commentator rather than a political satirist. He surveys much of the same territory as Michael Leunig with a similar cynicism but without the same religious conviction.

There is wit aplenty along with insight, passion and the ability to succinctly summarise vast issues into small snippets. Interestingly, underneath there is a discernable thread of despair. Somerville sees no political road out of the impasse of our increasingly downsized, reengineered, globalised and alienating world.

Without a spiritually satisfying answer, either through religion or politics, he finds some comfort in a psychoanalytical stance. Street-smart activists might find that frustrating but it accurately reflects much of our society at the nervous beginning of the Twenty-first Century.

This book would be a good conversation starter for those difficult relatives this Christmas. While not strident about capitalism, it is nonetheless biting because the pugnacious humourist, with his telling attacks on consumerism has, ahem, released it just in time for the gift-giving season!

From Green Left Weekly, November 7, 2001.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.