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Tag Archive 'Intellectual Curiosity'

Where To Buy The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse VHS starring Edward G Robinson Humphrey Bogart Claire Trevor Allen Jenkins Donald Crisp At The Lowest Price?

The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse VHS starring Edward G Robinson Humphrey Bogart Claire Trevor Allen Jenkins Donald Crisp

Why Buy A The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse VHS starring Edward G Robinson Humphrey Bogart Claire Trevor Allen Jenkins Donald Crisp?
A stylish, often amusing crime drama, this 1938 feature revolves around a central, improbable plot twist that consciously serves its casting against type: as the eponymous doctor, Edward G. Robinson, who had helped define the Warner Bros. style for gritty gangster sagas, jettisons his signature snarl in favor of a plummy, vaguely English accent that underlines his urbane sophistication. Dr. Clitterhouse is a creature of privilege who embarks on a criminal life not out of desperation, but rather through intellectual curiosity; instead of slouch hats and suits, he has marcelled hair and first appears in white tie and tails. He begins pulling off perfect jewel thefts as research into the criminal mind, but his gradual immersion in New Yorks shadowy demimonde of thieves and fences eventually finds the good doctor between those two worlds.

Robinsons principal foils stick closer to their studio strong suits. Humphrey Bogart is Rocks Valentine, a sturdy if familiar variation on the hoods and have-nots that were his early stock in trade at the studio. Bogarts fence and former paramour is Jo Keller, played by Claire Trevor as glamorous, streetwise, and otherwise decent, apart from her knack for larceny. When the doctor asks her to fence his glittering contraband, shes intrigued, and Clitterhouse, known to the hoods only as the Professor, becomes their strategist. Jo is clearly falling for him, while Rocks is visibly jealous of the fastidious strangers rising influence and romantic rivalry.

In keeping with its ultimately goofy premise, the story navigates some eccentric plot turns with an aplomb that can be credited to the solid cast (including other studio stalwarts such as Allen Jenkins, Ward Bond, and Donald Crisp) and the three principals, who would work off each other to much more riveting effect a decade later in Key Largo. –Sam Sutherland

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Black Legion
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Cosmic Banditos by A C Weisbecker – Save 20% Today!

Cosmic Banditos by A C Weisbecker

Why Buy A Cosmic Banditos by A C Weisbecker?
Thousands of fans agree-Cosmic Banditos has been out of print for way too long. So here it is, back by popular demand: A.C. Weisbeckers rollicking novel of high times and hard times-in which he hilariously chronicles the adventures of a group of pot-smoking, number-crunching banditos-in-hiding.

Features

  • Click here to view our Condition Guide and Shipping Prices
  • Condition: NEW
  • ISBN13: 9780451203069
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Over 65 Five Star Customer Reviews On Amazon!

Great
Came in mint condition hard to believe it was used. Came very quickly, less than two weeks if I remember correctly. Definitely would buy from this seller again.

Excellent read
this is an excellent read, so fun and explosive you’ll start laughing at the first page and find yourself still smiling when turning the last page. You’ll be left with the will to start it again or buy a book about quantum physics… Strongly recommended!

Great Inventive Book
This was a great book that was inventive and hilarious throughout. The characters are fantastically fabricated. It’s designed to be read by the same type of person that the book revolves around, namely a suburban father, who become the inspiration for the primary protagonists’ newfound religeon. This is a book about Drugs, Crimes, Banditos, Diaphrams, and Quantum Physics. Nuff said.

hawkings would dig this book.
Best. Fun. EVAR!

I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun reading a book. It’s at the same time one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever read, yet very familiar. I feel connected to the intellectual curiosity of the narrator, even though some of the most bizarre, unbelievable circumstances surround him.

If you like quirky, unrestrained narratives AND you enjoy lol’ing while reading book on the L train… then buy this book!

It’s a quick read too, one of my favorites to read over and over again.

Just read it, trust me on this one
Seriously, just read it, and then you’ll understand.

Never before, or since, has a book truly made me laugh out loud and get strange looks from people while riding the train to and from work. You definitely want to pick this one up, and share it with your friends when your done.

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In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfers Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road
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Zen & Zero
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Tijuana Straits: A Novel

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10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children by Shmuley Boteach – Save 22% Today!

10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children by Shmuley Boteach

Why Buy A 10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children by Shmuley Boteach?

Why do I have to repeat everything? Why does every conversation end in an argument?

Communicating with our children. Conversing. Connecting. When did it become so difficult? And how do we begin to change it for the better?

This book was designed to help parents answer these important questions, and it is based on two fundamental ideas: The first is that there are no bad children, and no deliberately bad parents — but that sometimes, despite the best of intentions on both sides, there can be bad relationships between parents and children. The second is that, as parents, we must do everything we can to save those relationships, to reach out and really communicate with our children, because it is only through talking to them that we can create an environment for inspiration and change.

In this compelling book, Shmuley Boteach, passionate social commentator and outspoken relationship guru, walks you through the critical conversations, including: cherishing childhood; developing intellectual curiosity; knowing who you are and what you want to become; learning to forgive; realizing the importance of family and tradition; being fearless and courageous. As a father of eight, Rabbi Shmuley speaks from a wealth of experience. He has written a book for parents of children of all ages, from toddlers, who are just beginning to become aware of the world around them, to adolescents, who must learn to navigate all sorts of tricky social and academic pressures.

10 Conversations will help you stay connected to your children so that they develop the kind of strong moral character that leads to rich, meaningful lives.

Features

  • Click here to view our Condition Guide and Shipping Prices
  • Condition: NEW
  • ISBN13: 9780061134814
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Over 22 Five Star Customer Reviews On Amazon!

10 conversations
Great book, really helps you get perspective on what kind of people you want your kids to be. I liked it because it reinforced my own beliefs and helped articulate some thoughts I had about parenting. 10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children

A Book of inspiration
This book instills me with motivation to be a better parent.His ideas are inspiring and I really value this as a reference tool to my parenting techniques.
Beautifully written
very valuable book for all parents to read10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children

Beautiful book! Need to read it again!
This is a great book! I read it all and now I want to go back and read each individual chapter. This is more than a parenting book–it will really help you reflect our your own life. The writing is non-judgemental and easy to read. The author comes off as very friendly. I don’t agree with the reviewer that says the religious chapter at the end ruins the book. It has a base in Judiasm but comes across as more spirtually based that can be applied to any religion you are. I am a psych nurse and have used these techniques in dealing with my adult inpatients so the information is very transferable to all aspects of your own life, not just your life as a parent.
This is a great book!

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The Broken American Male: and How to Fix Him

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Squirrel Inc.: A Fable Of Leadership Through Storytelling By Stephen Denning – Save 20% Today!

Squirrel Inc.: A Fable Of Leadership Through Storytelling By Stephen Denning

From Publishers Weekly
The fable has been a durable vehicle for imparting wisdom since ancient times, and in this tale about a former high-flying enterprise that’s fallen on hard times-and just happens to be managed by squirrels-the form is deftly deployed by author Denning (The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations). The former World Bank executive turned consultant, whose client list includes General Electric, McDonald’s and the U.S. Army, uses his extended parable not only to make this volume more lively than most business books, but also to emphasize his main point: that storytelling is a crucial tool for surmounting the challenges facing leaders today. The ability to tell the right story at the right time is emerging as an essential leadership skill for coping with, and getting business results in, the turbulent world of the 21st century, he writes. Like many real companies, Denning’s Squirrel Inc. must deal with a technological change in order to survive. In this case, the company must transform itself from a nut-burying firm to a nut-storing firm. The main squirrel in the apologue is Diana, a company exec who learns the basics of creating stories from a bartender at the local nectar tavern. Although written in a narrative form, Denning’s book provides plenty of pull-out nuggets for quick reference as well as concise summaries at the end of each chapter. This book may not turn skeptics into believers, but it should ignite the intellectual curiosity of all who would like to learn more about the power of telling stories in the boardroom.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
“…a very effective management tool…it is sure to inspire readers working in all sorts of organizations…” (Edge Magazine, February 2005)

“…This charming little book holds many secrets within its attractive covers….” (City to Cities, Jan/Feb 2005)

“…clearly encapsulates both the why and how of seven types of organisational storytelling”. (Knowledge Management, September 2004)

“…makes serious points about leadership and change…” (Financial Times, 29 July 2004)

Why Buy A Squirrel Inc.: A Fable Of Leadership Through Storytelling By Stephen Denning?
Take a satirical scamper through organizational life in the midst of  changing times, brought to you by master storyteller and former World Bank executive Steve Denning. With wisdom and a healthy dose of wit, Denning introduces a cast of furry characters who together learn the fine art of change through storytelling in their quest to overcome obstacles, generate enthusiasm and teamwork, share knowledge, and ultimately lead their company into a new era of success and significance. Through the stories of Squirrel Inc., readers will learn that the ability to tell the right story at the right time can determine the outcome of any major change effort. In each chapter Dennings squirrels learn to use storytelling to address leadership challenges:

  • How to bring about change
  • How to communicate who you are
  • How to transmit values
  • How to foster collaboration
  • How to stop rumors
  • How to share knowledge
  • How to lead your organization into the future

Over 6 5-Star Customer Reviews On Amazon!

Highly Recommended!
Any leader will benefit from mastering sincere storytelling that is designed to achieve specific organizational objectives. By using some storytelling techniques himself, in the form of a fable about business-owning squirrels, author Stephen Denning teaches you how to tap into your natural storytelling ability, so you can focus your listeners’ goals and vision. He explains what types of stories elicit a variety of desired outcomes. He also teaches you how to tell your story and explains the reaction you can expect to generate if the story is apt. Storytelling lets leaders engage people, helps them relate to the company’s goals and creates a forward-looking organization. With Denning’s guidance, you can use your ‘once upon a time’ skills to build camaraderie, focus and happy endings. We recommend this book to all leaders, since storytelling is destined to become an unexpectedly critical skill.

Nuts R Us
Think about it. Who are among the greatest storytellers throughout history? My own list includes Homer, Plato, Chaucer, Aesop, Jesus, Dante, Boccaccio, the Brothers Grimm, Confucius, Abraham Lincoln, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), Joel Chandler Harris, L. Frank Baum, and most recently, E.B. White. Whatever the genre (epic, parable, fable, allegory, anecdote, etc.), each used exposition, description, and narration to illustrate what they considered to be fundamental truths about the human condition.

In his previous work, The Springboard, Denning focuses on “how storytelling ignites action in knowledge-led organizations” and does so with uncommon erudition, precision, and eloquence. His narrative covers a period of approximately three years during which he used what he calls “springboard” stories to “spark organizational change” at The World Bank. More specifically, to forge a consensus within that organization to support the design and then implementation of effective knowledge management, first for itself and then for its clients worldwide. How he accomplished that objective is in and of itself a fascinating “story” but the book’s greater value lies in what he learned in process, lessons which are directly relevant to virtually all other organizations (regardless of size or nature) which struggle to “do more with less and do it faster” in the so-called Age of Information. Maximizing use of their collective intellectual capital is most often the single most effective way to do that.

In this volume, Denning uses many of the same devices which Orwell does in Animal Farm: He creates a stressful situation to which anthropomorphic animals respond; the lead characters discuss what to do; strategies are selected; conflicts and crises immediately develop; tension is increased by the perils the lead characters encounter; ultimately, the situation is resolved. In Animal Farm, the pigs prevail. In Squirrel Inc.,….

Whereas Orwell’s purpose is to dramatize the evils of totalitarianism, Denning’s purpose is to give “detailed advice on how to craft and perform a story that can spark transformational change in an organization” by examining six different kinds of storytelling “which illustrate the impact of storytelling on our work and our lives.” Although this is a fable of leadership, it is important to keep in mind that (a) everyone throughout any organization tells stories of various kinds each day; therefore (b) the value of the information which Denning provides and the recommendations he makes is by no means limited to senior-level executives.

Why a fable? When considering how he could best communicate the various kinds of stories (e.g. “springboard” stories that communicate complex ideas and spark action), their specific uses in modern organizations, and their relevant similarities and differences, Denning “quickly discovered that conveying an understanding of seven types of stories across four or five different dimensions represented a level of complexity not well adapted to text-book style presentation.”

I include that excerpt because many of those who read this book will also find themselves in situations in which they are preparing to make an especially important presentation and use of a traditional format is not appropriate. Their audience will not respond as well to the “textbook-style” as they will to a entertaining as well as informative narrative which seeks to achieve one or more of these objectives:

To spark action

To communicate who the speaker is

To transmit values

To get everyone working together

To share knowledge

To “tame the grapevine”

To lead people into the future

Here’s the situation. Diana is a fast-track executive at Squirrel Inc. who is frustrated by her inability to convince senior-management to transform the company’s core business from helping squirrels to bury nuts to storing nuts for them. Why should it? Because approximately 50% of the nuts buried are lost, either because squirrels forget where they buried them or the nuts are dug up by human gardeners. Great opportunity for Squirrel Inc. She shares her frustrations with Bartender who is the owner/host of a nectar tavern located high in an oak tree near the Squirrel Inc. headquarters. (He is also this book’s narrator and thus, in several respects, a surrogate for Denning.) Throughout the remainder of the book, Denning focuses on Diana and Bartender’s joint efforts to use effective storytelling to mobilize the support needed to transform Squirrel Inc.

Because Denning is himself a master storyteller, never does his narrative become precious, cute, quaint, darling, etc. Credit him with wit, style, grace, and — yes — intellectual rigor. His characters may be squirrels but the relevance of his material to human experience is profound: “The underlying reason for the affinity between leadership and storytelling is simple: narrative — unlike abstraction and analysis — is inherently collaborative. Storytelling helps leaders work with other individuals as coparticipants, not merely as objects or underlings. Storytelling helps strengthen leaders’ connectedness with the world. Isn’t this what all leaders need — a connectedness with the people they are seeking to lead?”

I especially appreciate Denning’s provision of a chart (“Seven High-Value Forms of Organizational Storytelling,” pages 150-153) which clearly and cleverly summarizes all of his core concepts and specific suggestions. It serves as a useful reminder that the most effective story is one which has a crystal clear objective and includes the appropriate elements (e.g. problem to be solved, situation to be explained, value of the information provided). The story must also meet certain requirements of the given purpose. For example, provision of relevant background information and an analysis of current situation before proposing a future course of action, especially one which may seem bold and threatening to others.

For whatever reasons, only in recent years has there been an awareness and appreciation of the importance of the business narrative. Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Annette Simmons’ The Story Factor, Doug Lipman’s Improving Your Storytelling, and Storytelling in Organizations co-authored by John Seely Brown, Denning, Katarina Groh, and Laurence Prusak.

BUY THIS BOOK!
Squirrel Inc. absolutely sings along. It’s not only jockerblock full of strategies for how to use storytelling as part of innovative strategies for change within organizations, it’s a fun book to read. Steve Denning is a master teacher and storyteller. He is also a leading business consultant with a tremendously strategic mind and an extraordinary sense of humor.

If there is one book on change management you buy this year – this should be it.

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The Leaders Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative
The Secret Language of Leadership: How Leaders Inspire Action Through Narrative (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership)
The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition)
The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations (KMCI Press)
Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact

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Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue In The Land Of The Free By Charles P. Pierce

Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue In The Land Of The Free By Charles P. Pierce

Amazon.com Review
Book Description
The Culture Wars Are Over and the Idiots Have Won.

A veteran journalists acidically funny, righteously angry lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States.

In the midst of a career-long quest to separate the smart from the pap, Charles Pierce had a defining moment at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, where he observed a dinosaur. Wearing a saddle… But worse than this was when the proprietor exclaimed to a cheering crowd, “We are taking the dinosaurs back from the evolutionists!” He knew then and there it was time to try and salvage the Land of the Enlightened, buried somewhere in this new Home of the Uninformed.

With his razor-sharp wit and erudite reasoning, Pierce delivers a gut-wrenching, side-splitting lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States, and how a country founded on intellectual curiosity has somehow deteriorated into a nation of simpletons more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant than a presidential candidate.

With Idiot America, Pierces thunderous denunciation is also a secret call to action, as he hopes that somehow, being intelligent will stop being a stigma, and that pinheads will once again be pitied, not celebrated.

A Q&A with Charles P. Pierce

Question: What inspired, or should I say drove, you to write Idiot America?
Charles P. Pierce: The germ of the idea came as I watched the extended coverage of the death of Terri Schiavo. I wondered how so many people could ally themselves with so much foolishness despite the fact that it was doing them no perceptible good, politically or otherwise. And it looked like the national media simply could not help itself but be swept along. This started me thinking and, when I read a clip in the New York Times about the Creation Museum, I pitched an idea to Mark Warren, my editor at Esquire, that said simply, “Dinosaurs with saddles.” What we determined the theme of the eventual piece—and of the book—would be was “The Consequences Of Believing Nonsense.”

Question: You visited the Creation Museum while writing Idiot America. Describe your experience there. What was your first thought when you saw a dinosaur with a saddle on its back?
Charles P. Pierce: My first thought was that it was hilarious. My second thought was that I was the only person in the place who thought it was, which made me both angry and a little melancholy. Outside of the fact that its “science” is a god-awful parodic stew of paleontology, geology, and epistemology, all of them wholly detached from the actual intellectual method of each of them. The most disappointing thing is that the completed museum is so dreadfully grim and earnest and boring. It even makes dragon myths servant to its fringe biblical interpretations. Who wants to live in a world where dragons are boring?

Question: Is there a specific turning point where, as a country, we moved away from prizing experience to trusting the gut over intellect?
Charles P. Pierce: I dont know if theres one point that you can point to and say, “This is when it happened.” The conflict between intellectual expertise and reflexive emotion—often characterized as “good old common sense,” when it is neither common nor sense—has been endemic to American culture and politics since the beginning. I do think that my profession, journalism, went off the tracks when it accepted as axiomatic the notion that “Perception is reality.” No. Perception is perception and reality is reality, and if the former doesnt conform to the latter, then it’s the journalists job to hammer and hammer the reality until the perception conforms to it. Thats how “intelligent design” gets treated as “science” simply because a lot of people believe in it.

Question: You delve into Ignatius Donnelly’s life story. In 1880, he published the book Idiot America?
Charles P. Pierce: Cranks are noble because cranks are independent. Cranks do not care if their ideas succeed—theyd like them to do so—but cranks stand apart. Their value comes when, occasionally, their lonely dissents from the commonplace affect the culture, at which point either the culture moves to adopt them and their ideas come to influence the culture. The American crank is not someone with 600 radio stations spewing bilious canards to an audience of “dittoheads.” The concept of a “dittohead” is anathema to the American crank. He is a freethinker addressing an audience of them, whether that audience is made up of one person or a thousand. A charlatan is a crank who sells out.

Question: What is the most dangerous aspect of Idiot America?
Charles P. Pierce: The most dangerous aspect of Idiot America is that it encourages us to abandon our birthright to be informed citizens of a self-governing republic. America cannot function on automatic pilot, and, too often, we dont notice that it has been until the damage has already been done.

Question: Is there a voice or leader of Idiot America?
Charles P. Pierce: The leaders of Idiot America are those people who abandoned their obligations to the above. There are lots of people making an awful lot of money selling their ideas and their wares to Idiot America. Idiot America is an act of collective will, a product of lassitude and sloth.

Question: What is the difference between stupidity and glorifying ignorance?
Charles P. Pierce: Stupidity is as stupidity does, to quote a uniquely stupid movie. It has been with us always and always will be. But we moved into an era in which stupidity was celebrated if it managed to sell itself well, if it succeeded, if it made people money. That is “glorifying ignorance.” We moved into an era in which the reflexive instincts of the Gut were celebrated at the expense of reasoned, informed opinion. To this day, we have a political party—the Republicans—who, because it embraced a “movement of Conservatism” that celebrated anti-intellectualism is now incapable of conducting itself in any other way. That has profound political and cultural consequences, and the truly foul part about it was that so many people engaged in it knowing full well they were peddling poison.

Question: While writing Idiot America, what story or incident made you the most incensed?
Charles P. Pierce: Without question, it was talking to the people at Woodside Hospice, who shared with me what it was like to be inside the whirlwind stirred up by people who used the prolonged death of Terri Schiavo as a political and social volleyball to advance their own unpopular and reckless agenda. There are people—Sean Hannity comes to mind—who, if there is a just god in heaven, should be locked in a room for 20 minutes with Annie Santa Maria, the indomitable woman who works with the patients at the hospice. Only one of them would come out, and it wouldnt be him.

Question: With the election of President Obama, is Idiot America coming to an end? Or, will there always be a place for idiocy in America?
Charles P. Pierce: Look at the political opposition to President Obama. “Socialist!” “Fascist!” “Coming to get your guns.” Hysteria from the hucksters of Idiot America is still at high-tide. People are killing other people and specifically attributing their action to imaginary oppression stoked by radio talk-show stars and television pundits. That Glenn Beck has achieved the prominence he has makes me wonder if there is a just god in heaven.

Why Buy A Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue In The Land Of The Free By Charles P. Pierce?
Book Description The Culture Wars Are Over and the Idiots Have Won.

A veteran journalists acidically funny, righteously angry lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States.

In the midst of a career-long quest to separate the smart from the pap, Charles Pierce had a defining moment at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, where he observed a dinosaur. Wearing a saddle… But worse than this was when the proprietor exclaimed to a cheering crowd, “We are taking the dinosaurs back from the evolutionists!” He knew then and there it was time to try and salvage the Land of the Enlightened, buried somewhere in this new Home of the Uninformed.

With his razor-sharp wit and erudite reasoning, Pierce delivers a gut-wrenching, side-splitting lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States, and how a country founded on intellectual curiosity has somehow deteriorated into a nation of simpletons more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant than a presidential candidate.

With Idiot America, Pierces thunderous denunciation is also a secret call to action, as he hopes that somehow, being intelligent will stop being a stigma, and that pinheads will once again be pitied, not celebrated.

A Q&A with Charles P. Pierce Question: What inspired, or should I say drove, you to write Idiot America? Charles P. Pierce: The germ of the idea came as I watched the extended coverage of the death of Terri Schiavo. I wondered how so many people could ally themselves with so much foolishness despite the fact that it was doing them no perceptible good, politically or otherwise. And it looked like the national media simply could not help itself but be swept along. This started me thinking and, when I read a clip in the New York Times about the Creation Museum, I pitched an idea to Mark Warren, my editor at Esquire, that said simply, “Dinosaurs with saddles.” What we determined the theme of the eventual piece—and of the book—would be was “The Consequences Of Believing Nonsense.”

Question: You visited the Creation Museum while writing Idiot America. Describe your experience there. What was your first thought when you saw a dinosaur with a saddle on its back? Charles P. Pierce: My first thought was that it was hilarious. My second thought was that I was the only person in the place who thought it was, which made me both angry and a little melancholy. Outside of the fact that its “science” is a god-awful parodic stew of paleontology, geology, and epistemology, all of them wholly detached from the actual intellectual method of each of them. The most disappointing thing is that the completed museum is so dreadfully grim and earnest and boring. It even makes dragon myths servant to its fringe biblical interpretations. Who wants to live in a world where dragons are boring?

Question: Is there a specific turning point where, as a country, we moved away from prizing experience to trusting the gut over intellect? Charles P. Pierce: I dont know if theres one point that you can point to and say, “This is when it happened.” The conflict between intellectual expertise and reflexive emotion—often characterized as “good old common sense,” when it is neither common nor sense—has been endemic to American culture and politics since the beginning. I do think that my profession, journalism, went off the tracks when it accepted as axiomatic the notion that “Perception is reality.” No. Perception is perception and reality is reality, and if the former doesnt conform to the latter, then it’s the journalists job to hammer and hammer the reality until the perception conforms to it. Thats how “intelligent design” gets treated as “science” simply because a lot of people believe in it.

Question: You delve into Ignatius Donnelly’s life story. In 1880, he published the book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World in an attempt to prove that the lost city existed. Yet, you characterize Donnelly as a lovable crank, and don’t take issue with him as you do with modern eccentrics, like Rush Limbaugh. What’s the difference between a harmless crank and a crank in Idiot America? Charles P. Pierce: Cranks are noble because cranks are independent. Cranks do not care if their ideas succeed—theyd like them to do so—but cranks stand apart. Their value comes when, occasionally, their lonely dissents from the commonplace affect the culture, at which point either the culture moves to adopt them and their ideas come to influence the culture. The American crank is not someone with 600 radio stations spewing bilious canards to an audience of “dittoheads.” The concept of a “dittohead” is anathema to the American crank. He is a freethinker addressing an audience of them, whether that audience is made up of one person or a thousand. A charlatan is a crank who sells out.

Question: What is the most dangerous aspect of Idiot America? Charles P. Pierce: The most dangerous aspect of Idiot America is that it encourages us to abandon our birthright to be informed citizens of a self-governing republic. America cannot function on automatic pilot, and, too often, we dont notice that it has been until the damage has already been done.

Question: Is there a voice or leader of Idiot America? Charles P. Pierce: The leaders of Idiot America are those people who abandoned their obligations to the above. There are lots of people making an awful lot of money selling their ideas and their wares to Idiot America. Idiot America is an act of collective will, a product of lassitude and sloth.

Question: What is the difference between stupidity and glorifying ignorance? Charles P. Pierce: Stupidity is as stupidity does, to quote a uniquely stupid movie. It has been with us always and always will be. But we moved into an era in which stupidity was celebrated if it managed to sell itself well, if it succeeded, if it made people money. That is “glorifying ignorance.” We moved into an era in which the reflexive instincts of the Gut were celebrated at the expense of reasoned, informed opinion. To this day, we have a political party—the Republicans—who, because it embraced a “movement of Conservatism” that celebrated anti-intellectualism is now incapable of conducting itself in any other way. That has profound political and cultural consequences, and the truly foul part about it was that so many people engaged in it knowing full well they were peddling poison.

Question: While writing Idiot America, what story or incident made you the most incensed? Charles P. Pierce: Without question, it was talking to the people at Woodside Hospice, who shared with me what it was like to be inside the whirlwind stirred up by people who used the prolonged death of Terri Schiavo as a political and social volleyball to advance their own unpopular and reckless agenda. There are people—Sean Hannity comes to mind—who, if there is a just god in heaven, should be locked in a room for 20 minutes with Annie Santa Maria, the indomitable woman who works with the patients at the hospice. Only one of them would come out, and it wouldnt be him.

Question: With the

Customer Reviews & Opinions

Necessary reading
Extraordinary reading. This astringent book needed to be written about a trend in America that needs to be stopped. Pierce has been an astute observer of the American condition for years in the pages of major magazines and on NPR. If you haven’t read his piece for Esquire about the cynic & Obama before the election, do yourself a favor, if only for his original and highly prescient observation that America will never undergo a “true” transformation until it demands a true reckoning and examination of itself, and what we’ve become on the way to getting in the political and social and economic muck we’re in. (Thanks Bush, Cheney, and Rove. Now go away, hope you never get prosecuted for war crimes, and never show your faces again.) This book is a logical extension of that article, and must-reading for anyone who feels we’re on a worrisome though not irredeemable path as a nation. We’ll survive. We always do. But books like this prod us to do better than we’ve been.

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