by Charles P. Pierce
We hold these truths to be self-evident.
The First Great Premise: Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units. (p. 35)
The Second Great Premise: Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough. (p. 41)
The Third Great Premise: Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it. (p. 43)
At a time when the "birthers" are in the news daily and Michele Bachmann represents a congressional district in my home state, I found Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free to be an extremely interesting book. It takes on the battles of "Gut v. Intellect" and "Personality v. Expertise". He talks about the above noted Great Premises as they pertain to television and the internet, Intelligent Design v. Darwinism, sensationalist media, talk radio, reality TV, global warming, Terry Schiavo, 9/11, the Iraq War, the War on Terror, the 2008 presidential election, and more. Conservatives will hate this book. Liberals will most likely love it, but they don't completely escape Charles Pierce's scathing commentary either. His irritation is not completely politically driven and therefore merrily crosses party lines here and there. It's not that Pierce believes that America has dumbed itself down, but that it is "selling off what ought never to be rendered a product, . . . and believing itself to have made a good bargain with itself." (p. 276)
I read it, and I loved it. Go ahead and skewer me as an elitist you must. I can handle it. :-)
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NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!