Skip to main content
Now building my TET.Life Store.

Book Review: A Short History of Stupid

I must admit I was expecting a much funnier book from Helen Razor and Bernard Keane given Helen's background in comedy and Bernard's background in politics (how can anyone write about politics seriously?).

Their book, A Short History of Stupid, The Decline of Reason and Why Public Debate Makes Us Want to Scream, is a collection of essays that serve as a reality check for life with an awareness that we're all being manipulated by spin to varying degrees.

For me it finally answers the question of why TV news desks cross live to a reporter who is standing nowhere of significance to the report they are about to give. Apparently it's to give the daily news report that feeling of 'things are happening now' in a world where you can follow what's happening now live on the internet. It's a desperate attempt to say TV news reports are still relevant and current - even if the live cross is actually meaningless.

On the whole this was a very good read that puts the spotlight, mostly on recent public debates that you more than likely be familiar with, and looks behind the spin to not only look at the facts but also some of the consequences of following 'Stupid'.

Personally I found the first chapter, L'Oréal and the fade-resistant rise of liberal individualism, which attempts to track some kind of history of stupid from dead philosopher, John Locke, to actress, Heather Locklear a tedious and almost off putting read. Largely because it explores the kind of knowledge and book reading that only university philosophy students and people who have an obsessive desire to sound smarter have to endure.

Dead philosophers are hard to relate to outside of Monty Python songs. I feel the chapter was put in to give the rest of the book more authority. A 'look we're smarter than you' when it comes to this subject matter. (As far as I'm concerned both authors are more well read than me but just because Helen Razor has longed to slap Heather Locklear's face doesn't mean she needs to take it out on me with how well read she is).

Unless philosophy is something you've studied, power through that chapter. I wouldn't skip it but just know the rest of the book is much more relate-able and covers many things they may even be on your radar such as religion, politics, the war on terror, global warming, eating healthy, media, Kony and more.

Everything is put under the microscope to see if what we're being told is actually accurate and/or effective in achieving the desired outcomes (usually not since the book is an examination of 'stupid').

The book does try to inject some humor into the discussion but there was nothing laugh out loud funny. If anything the humor is more cynical which is entirely appropriate. Cynicism about anything at least makes you think about what you're being told. If this book has a message it is simply that: Think.

Think for yourself and, perhaps, re-engage in facts rather than opinion. You'll learn that much stupid occurs because opinion replaces actual facts as truth, personal stories are used to represent the mass experience even if those stories actually represent the minority and that data can be skewed to the desired outcome for political purposes rather than representing anything based in reality.

Consider this book a look behind the curtain on modern public debate and why it's going off the rails in nearly every forum. If you find yourself in many public debates or are a keen observer of public discourse then this book may open your eyes to the hidden stupid that you probably know is there but just can't articulate.

Well worth a read.

Comments


Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog, Creating My Oddessey.

You should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse.

We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against - the original exterior of the house - and the light …

Finding Time to Skate - Swap a Skateboard Session into Your Weekly Workout Routine

A common problem among skaters dealing with work/life commitments (typically older skaters with families, careers, or both) is finding the time to actually spend on a skateboard. In fact, life in general getting in the way of skateboarding, is what often leads so many to drop out of the sport, only to rediscover it later, once everything else starts to even out.

I'm certainly in that category. Never really giving skateboarding away altogether but only using a skateboard to get from A to B, when I didn't have a vehicle, for many years. In the last couple of years I've been trying to get back into the sport properly, i.e. building up my trick list and skating for fun and not just to get from A to B.

The problem is I have so many interests, projects, paid work, and more, that I would often leave skateboarding to the end of my day. Kind of as something to look forward to. Except I wouldn't be that motivated to really improve because my mind would be fried from everything …

The Lego Man - He's got all that!

Who would have thought that owning one of the worlds largest, private Lego collections could take you so far. Tom Lucieer of Angaston, South Australia, not only has met the Queen (of England) but is a frequent guest of her majesty and family when they are in Australia. He's also met Prince Charles, Lady Diana and Camila Parker-Bowles. Not only that, he grew up with TV Vet, Dr Harry, and is a friend of the Irwin family (yes, that's Steve Irwin's family).

Tom will happily tell you all this as part of the guided tour of his collection, which, aside from Lego, includes much railway memorabilia and colourful anecdotes about days gone by, his achievements and more. Frequently he will finish each particular monologue with the phrase, "Have you got that?", just to check that he hasn't confused you because, as he points out, his display and the stories behind it are a lot to take in at once.

In the photo you can see Tom holding a special award, which I think is for bein…

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 10: Opportunities to make money (Part A)

In my last post I looked at What to Create and Finding Your Market. This post is something of a natural follow on from finding your market as many of these money making opportunities include their own market places that you can research to see what kinds of themes and subjects sell best.

It's worth doing this research to find out if the art you're already creating is a good fit for that market place - which is ideal - or if you may have to consider expanding your interests to cover popular themes in order sell in a particular market.

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) *Spoiler Free*

Ten years in the making and Marvel finally releases part one of the Avengers versus Thanos, A.K.A. Avengers: Infinity War.

After seeing all 18 films in the MCU prior to this, and liking most of them, I was pretty confident this movie would not disappoint.

Other than a few minor issues - that are all my personal taste and in no way reflect on the quality of the film - it really delivers. Thanos is indeed the big, bad villain of the MCU that we've been antcipating.

12 Side Hustle Ideas You Won't Overthink and Can Start Right Now

Have you been thinking about starting a side hustle to earn a bit of extra money but haven't been able to make a start because of everything you don't know about running your side hustle yet, or because of other things you think you have to do first?

If this is you then chances are, what you're really doing is making excuses not to start. I can't start anything new until I cross a few more things off my to do list. Sound familiar?

I'm too busy to start my side hustle and don't have the time to work on it just now.
One reason you may be stalling is a perceived notion that your side hustle is actually too complicated, and is going to require a lot of research and education before you're even ready to make your first dollar.

Here are some side hustles you can start in the next hour or two for low or even no cost. You don't need to know the ins and outs of everything you just need to start, everything else is 'on the job' training. It doesn't m…

Movie Review: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-verse (2018) *No Spoilers*

I didn't go see Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse in theatres because a) Sony, and b) Animated movie... and if there's a c) Sony + Spider-man.

Then I started hearing all this word of mouth that this movie is really good so I thought, 'yeah, still not going, I'll wait for the home release'.

Then it won all these awards including an Oscar for Best Animated Feature... so I guess this movie must be good...right?

I rarely see animated features in the cinema because I have little faith in them to deliver enough entertainment at an adult level. Especially movies like Into the Spider-verse which you know is skewing for a younger demographic (as all Spider-man films in general do due to the popularity of the character with kids).

Having bought this movie on DVD (which is why I'm reviewing it now) I don't regret not having seen it in theatres, even though it would have looked amazing on a big screen.

The animation style is what really makes this film stand out. If I…