Questions & Answers

I am often asked questions about the Joy of Moaning. These are the most popular.

In two sentences–why should I buy the book?

The book improves your understanding of moaning and with that comes self-awareness and control and with that comes more chances to laugh. In these troubled times, we all need more laughter.

Why is moaning good for you?

My instinct is to say there is no short answer so read the book and find out. A more constructive answer would be that moaning (done correctly) boosts self-confidence, releases frustrations, signals group membership and above all make us laugh.

What are the most common myths about moaning?

In no particular order of importance, the following are all wrong:
Men moan more than women.
You moan more as you get older.
Moaning means you are unhappy.
Moaning is ‘bad for your health.’

Can too much moaning harm your health?

It goes without saying that too much of anything can be dangerous. The level of moaning most of us indulge in is somewhere between neutral and good for our health. I would like to think that after reading The Joy of Moaning yours will shift from good to very good.

Do the ‘left’ moan more than the ‘right’?

All the research I have seen suggests those on the ‘left’, people calling themselves progressives or liberals are more unhappy and apprehensive than those who identify as being conservative. To be honest I don’t give much credence to this analysis since all these words have changed their meaning over the last few decades.

Many of the most vocal critics of today’s progressives called themselves progressives a few years ago. The same fluidity of meaning also applies to words like conservative. This is a long – winded way of saying ‘I don’t know’.

Why is it called the Joy of moaning?

It’s a personal thing but all my books have had short titles, three or four words max. Moaning obviously needs to be one of them, so the question was how to describe it.

‘Pleasure’ and ‘Fun’ were possibilities, but they were too light-hearted. For sure, moaning can be both fun and pleasurable, but it was much more than these words describe.

Then I remembered a much talked about (rarely bought) book from my adolescence, The Joy of Sex.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines joy as: ‘A vivid emotion of pleasure arising from a sense of well-being or satisfaction; the feeling or state of being highly pleased or delighted; exultation of spirit; gladness, delight.’

All these terms, ‘ vivid emotion’, ‘sense of well-being’, and ‘state of being highly pleased’ described the essence of moaning. That was that, the title was decided.

Why are you alone in describing moaning as a good thing?

If I were to have a tombstone (I won’t) it would say ‘He was a contrarian.’ I have always questioned prevailing opinions and been suspicious of the current consensus. When these are determined by small groups of experts, I am even more sceptical.

Maybe I have a weird way of viewing the world but moaning for me has always been a positive experience, nothing like how it’s portrayed. You could argue that there are many more important ‘wrongs to be put right’ but I decided that I would give moaning its rightful place in the hierarchy of positive human activities.

What are your favourite moaning subjects?

Like everybody, the subjects of my moans change over time, but there are a few that keep cropping up. None of these will surprise you if you have read the book.

The media is becoming overly politicised at the expense of reporting objective accounts of the news.

Politicians (of all persuasions) will always choose short-term popularity over long-term solutions.

The machinery of government – the thing that translates policy decisions in actions – is inefficient (at best) and totally broken (at worst).

What I don’t know is if these issues are getting worse or if it is my perception of them that has changed. Maybe that’s a question for another book