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Idiot Proof: Deluded Celebrities, Irrational Power Brokers, Media Morons, and the Erosion of Common Sense
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Idiot Proof: Deluded Celebrities, Irrational Power Brokers, Media Morons, and the Erosion of Common Sense

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In 1979 two events occurred that would shape the next twenty-five years. In America and Britain, an era of weary consensus was displaced by the arrival of a political marriage of fiery idealists: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher transformed politics with a combination of breezy charm and assertive "Victorian values." In Iran, the fundamentalist cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by PublicAffairs (first published May 12th 2004)
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The title of this book overseas is How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, which I think is a better name. Anyhow, I was on the verge of giving this book 4 stars, because I think sacred cows should be tipped every now and then, and I took visceral pleasure in at least some of his rants. On the other hand, for a relatively short book, it covers a lot of ground with widely disparate targets, and I don't think it all comes together that well, a notion which is reinforced by the lame attempt of the clo ...more
Steven Williams
I felt it to be a pretty good book. This is the first book I have read by Francis Wheen. He writes clearly and continues to hold the attention. Although I was more or less familiar with the topics covered, it still was filled with lots of interesting particulars and explanations. While he did not focus on religious belief per se, Wheen brought those beliefs in to the story when it was pertinent to those other beliefs he was writing about. The most focused chapter on god was the end timers one. H ...more
Rants on and on about the waning of the enlightenment and rational thought. I agreed with him mostly, but it was tiring reading page after page of the rants. Some targets were too easy. (Really? Politicians will tell white lies in pursuit of votes? Post-modernists are wacko?) Hits the right and the left about equally hard.

OK, this is really weird. I had this written down on my list of books to read, under "How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World." That seems to be the name of the book in Britain.

Josephus FromPlacitas
Paeans to rationality are fine and good, but this seemed more like a paean to "How Very, Very Much I Read In the Past Three Decades." It does not make a strong, coherent book, just a few scattered strong points. It feels like a bunch of overlong newspaper columns threaded together.

Wheen really goes off the rails in the last chapter, jumping on the bandwagon demonizing the anti-war movement. A signer of the execrable Euston Manifesto, where leftish lights all got quivery in the knees after 9/11 a
Mostly a catalog of ideological blindness on both the Right and the Left. Wheen makes an effort to tie everything back to rational Enlightenment ideals, but mostly the book reads as a long list of why the Right is stupid for believing in trickle-down economics and the power of the market, while the Left is dangerous for reducing life to relativism and for blind hatred of America.

I have to admit, I enjoy anyone skewering fanatics, and while I always enjoy taking the piss out of conservatives, I a
Terrible. Yes, the book had chapters. Each chapter was labeled. But I'm not so sure the author kept to the chapter topic. Maybe it is because the chapter, like the book itself, had no point. There is not really any direction anywhere in here. Mostly it is filled with what the author considers to be dumb things that dumb people have said or done. But the writing? Really? This was published?
Jul 23, 2011 Jon added it
Drily amusing overview of current social trends the writer disapproves of. Wheen sometimes indulges in a moronic notion of his own (as when he cites with approval Richard Dawkins' suggestion that one should be able to sue astrology columnists for providing inaccurate advice), but on the whole this is both fun and insightful.
American edition of How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World. Frequently hilarious attack on business con-men, new agers, Princess Diana and her cult, politicians, religious cretins, vapid academics, and other anti-Enlightenment dopes.
Ex Leftist Orwell Is Spinning
This is the 'How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World' book for the American Market; don't buy both. If I remember correctly this has one chapter fewer than the UK version.
trying too hard to be clever

almost interesting reading, but wasn't. didn't finish. labourous reading but very interesting topics.
Phil Cannon
An incoherent rant about the absurdities of the modern era done with wit and a total lack of structure.
A lot of one sided ranting on fads such as gurus quacks astrology Religious nuts etc
Mike Stolfi
Sick of cultural newage? Well he is too, & describes the lunacy brilliantly!
Elitism for common folks.
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Francis James Baird Wheen (born 22 January 1957) is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster.

Wheen was educated at Copthorne Prep School, Harrow School and Royal Holloway College, University of London. At Harrow he was a contemporary of Mark Thatcher who has been a recurring subject of his journalism.[citation needed] He is a member of the 'soap' side of the Wheen family, whose family business
More about Francis Wheen...
How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World Karl Marx Marx's Das Kapital: A Biography Strange Days Indeed: The 1970s: The Golden Days of Paranoia Hoo Hahs And Passing Frenzies: Collected Journalism, 1991 2001

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