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What Should I Do If Reverend Billy Is In My Store? Paperback – April 21, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The title of this engaging manifesto/memoir is taken from a Starbucks memo (thoughtfully reprinted) instructing employees on how to deal with its protagonist and author, New York City's most visible anti-shopping provocateur, "Reverend Billy." The reverend is, after all, the sort of person who, accompanied by his "devotees," might interrupt the gentle slurping of Mocha Frappuccinos with an impromptu discussion and preach-in, and perhaps a hymn or two. Starbucks's advice boils down to "try and ignore him," but the good reverend makes such an undertaking difficult. Combining the situational flair of Abbie Hoffman with an evangelist's tireless zeal, Reverend Billy's efforts against mindless consumerism and corporate greed have adding the oxygen of publicity to the flames of a number of worthy causes, as well as reintroducing a much-needed sense of fun to Manhattan's somber and overregulated plazas. One of the keys to the success of Talen's creation is reflected in the book's good-natured tone. Unlike many recent political tomes both right and left, Talen's account of his alter ego's pilgrimage is evenhanded and reflective and remarkably free of the rancor that poisons so much public debate. Reverend Billy was not born overnight, and Talen is candid and un-self-righteous about the ethical and moral considerations that accompanied both his emergence and career. Talen never confuses the employee with the corporation or mere disruption with thoughtful protest, and the discipline and inventiveness of his crusade demonstrates that sometimes the absurdities of power are best undercut with absurdity, and greed with generosity.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"The collar is fake but the calling is real." —The Village Voice

"A mind-bending blend of street theater, political grandstanding, and performance art. . . . Talen’s act has made him something of a media darling." —San Francisco Chronicle

"The zeal of a street-corner preacher and the schmaltz of a street-corner Santa." —The New York Times

"It’s a funny rant against developers and supermodels and everything that feeds off authentic humanness. But there’s a potent, delicious kernel of truth here." —Los Angeles Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 151 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (April 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565849795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565849792
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,340,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Mickey on the cross, credit card exorcisms and the anti-consumerist gospel are just a few of the wonderful things you can expect out of Reverend Billy's shows. All of this has been captured on the page in this captivating and passionate book. Funny and wise, who needs a Starbucks coffee when you have Bill Talen to wake you up.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Justin Pallack on May 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
You know that local store in your town that has been there for years? Maybe you even know the name of the nice woman behind the counter, or maybe she knows yours. Yeah, that one. Soon it will be gone. A large corporation from another town in another state will move into that store and that nice lady won't work there anymore because they pay somebody from another town less money. Over time you will notice this happening alot. Look around YOUR neighborhood, do you see a Home Depot where the hardware store used to be? Is there an Applebees where your favorite restaurant as a child used to stand? If not, there will be. Unless we listen to the message of Bill Talen, an out of work actor from Hells Kitchen. When in character as "Reverend Billy" he preaches to anyone willing to listen about the serious problems that consumerism and relentless advertisment and big business in general cause in our neighborhoods. He also preaches about the solution to the problem, simple things that we, you and i, can do in our own lives to combat this problem. We can practice consumer disobediance, we can avoid shopping at places like Walmart and go to the local grocery. Or you can actually walk past the fifteen Starbucks' on your block and buy coffee from your local deli. Maybe the guy who owns the deli coaches your kids soccer team. Who owns Starbucks? Does he care about your family or your neighborhood? Rev. Billy cares about your neighborhood and so should you.
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By Chad on November 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The humor throughout is undeniable. While Billy is very clearly against certain elements in society, he doesn't take himself too seriously. I laughed and laughed while reading this book - the humor caught me by surprise in that it was much funnier and less self-righteous than the documentary, "What Would Jesus Buy."

The only buzz kill in the book is that he does take his beliefs on religion a bit too seriously. It goes from funny to strange to mildly annoying pretty quickly; in my opinion, this is due to the fact that his views on this are non-sequitor to his message. Fortunately, this is not a large portion of the book.

He is "The Fool" in Disney's tarot. Emerson would be singing in his choir. Definitely worth a read.

I've got some other reviews at [...].

What Should I Do if Reverend Billy Is in My Store?
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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Stop shopping. Good advice.
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