Wisdom comes from all walks of life. Baseball player Yogi Berra, author Jean-Paul Sartre and politician Winston Churchill all have produced thought-provoking epigraphs about life. “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations” is an excellent source for these. “Daily Afflictions,” sadly, is not.
In “Daily Afflictions,” author Andrew Boyd, alias Brother Void, has created a work as pretentious as the recent movie, “Waking Life.” He not only compiled a list of diverse quotes on how to deal with life’s ups and downs, but he also appallingly felt the urge to restate the original quote after devoting a paragraph or two to the original, far superior quote. Why Boyd did this, exactly, is unclear.
If Boyd was trying to be original, he had limited success. If he was trying to be funny, he completely failed. His self-important attitude, most evident in the genuinely unfunny introduction and explanation of “Brother Void,” is a complete turn-off for a book which evidently tries to be an improvement on the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series.
One positive note is that the short (just over 100 pages) work is divided into chapters, so if you feel the need to find an inspirational quote on “embracing your inner corpse” or “the perils of creating your own reality,” (Lord knows I’ve been waiting years for this) then you can simply flip to the page and read Boyd’s theories on this subject matter.
Prior to the last election, Boyd co-chaired a hilarious web site titled “Billionaires for Bush (or Gore).” His humor was appropriate to the page, which skewered both candidates. But as Boyd has so thoughtfully demonstrated, philosophy and humor sometimes just don’t mix.