Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Review: Now THAT'S What I Call Appropriate Behavior, Volume 38

The Now THAT'S What I Call Appropriate Behavior family of books has been my go-to resource for standards of morality since the first volume was published in 1997. There are a lot of ideas about what appropriateness is, and Now THAT'S What I Call Appropriate Behavior has been the curator of the best-of-best -- the chart toppers.

"The knife goes on the left."
"You are wearing a woman's jacket."

This is bite-sized, reliable info that has made it to the top, burning itself into our minds through constant exposure. Over the years, Now THAT'S What I Call Appropriate Behavior has been a reaffirming and succinct guide, proving that "right" and "correct" are not necessarily the same thing, and making sure readers will always be "right."

That's why I'm sad to say Now THAT'S What I Call Appropriate Behavior 38 has abandoned this no-filler format in favor of a complex system of forking charts, cross-references, and interactive online supplements featuring videos in 14 different languages, some of which seem nothing like English. Based on factors such as religion, gender, age, and something being called "orientation," (which I believe has to do with one's relative location to the Earth's magnetic poles) Now THAT'S What I Call Appropriate Behavior 38 is a convoluted and difficult to process maze of options.

Trying to look up something as simple as the correct response to the unexpected nudity of an elderly gym patron has become a nightmare of research and verification. I was not even able to successfully navigate the "Gradient of Multi-Stance Religions Smart Chart" without encountering options I did not understand, or which caused me a lot of frustration.

Certain pages contain holographic diagrams that change based on the reader's viewing angle, and other pages leave entire sections blank, as if we are meant to fill them in with our own thoughts.

Overall, I cannot recommend Now THAT'S What I Call Appropriate Behavior 38. It might sometimes be interesting content to explore, but if you're in a hurry, it is probably best to stick with a prior volume.

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