Pub Date 08 Jun 2018
Talking about this book? Be sure to tag it using #ImaginedAgencies #NetGalley
Imagined Agencies explores the possible future involvement of the government in every aspect of our lives with jarring wit, mocking playfulness, and dead-on discernment. Through his inventive bureaucracies, Joseph Bulgatz contemplates the frighteningly inept and frequently damaging methods authorities may implement to regulate our behaviors in the course of time. Walking a fine line between reality and fantasy, the author sprinkles just enough identifiable circumlocutions with imaginary bureaucratese to expose the tiny gap between current systems (as in the Department of Motor Vehicles) and future administrations (such as, “The Department of Driverless Motor Vehicles”).
Imagine an “Obesity Police Department” that issues tickets on the street due to “probable cause for obesity,” a “Department of Death” that assists you in the writing of your own obituary, or a “Household Budget Office” that reports which way you hang your toilet-paper roll. From the humorous (“The Committee on the Suppression of Puns”) to the inane (“The Bureau of Nomenclature”) to the outlandish (“The Schadenfreude Society”), Bulgatz reveals an omnipresent adversary, camouflaged as government assistance.
An important, well-written, and timely book, it offers compelling, emotionally engaging examples of social injustice toward individuals and groups by ubiquitous authoritative organizations. Equally valuable are Bulgatz’s psychological insights of those impacted by the agencies, pointing us toward understanding how we may respond in equally restrictive circumstances. Inevitably, we are bemused at the absurdness of Bulgatz’s agencies; yet simultaneously, we cherish the expectation that they will remain “imagined.”