Thom Dunn's Reviews > Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free

Idiot America by Charles P. Pierce
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Much more fun to read than Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, and brings the polemic up to date.
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message 1: by Meaghan (new)

Meaghan Sounds like the kind of book that is 50/50 likely either to make me laugh my fool head off, or commit suicide.


message 2: by Velvetink (new) - added it

Velvetink I have to read this one.


Thom Dunn Velvetink wrote: "I have to read this one."

Meaghan wrote: "Sounds like the kind of book that is 50/50 likely either to make me laugh my fool head off, or commit suicide."

I plan to go to Hebron, KY and get eaten by a T-Rex.


message 4: by Valerie (new)

Valerie I'm always leery of the term 'stupidity', which seems to imply an innate incapacity. I tend to think of it more as obdurate ignorance. Stephen Jay Gould used to marvel at the fact that people would boast their innumeracy ("I never can understand that science stuff"), and then go on to evince dazzling scientific knowlege in their own chosen hobbies (gardening, brewing, etc).


Thom Dunn Valerie wrote: "I'm always leery of the term 'stupidity', which seems to imply an innate incapacity. I tend to think of it more as obdurate ignorance. Stephen Jay Gould used to marvel at the fact that people wou..."

Well said. At the root of American anti-intellectualism is a confusion of myth and fact, and the words, "myth" and "truth".

Q: What did the Irishman say when he saw the giraffe ?

A: 'Taint no such animal.

The vast majority of us are Neoplatonists quite capable of denying present reality to say nothing of scientific evidence.


message 6: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Not all myths are unscientific, however. For example, if you were to ask Hawai'ans educated in traditional folklore to point to the location of Loi'hi on a map, they could give an accurate location, although the peak of the volcano won't reach the surface for many years. And in at least one Polynesian myth, our hero demonstrates his worthiness to the gods by correctly identifying various sorts of yams, their uses, and how to cultivate them.


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