“Idiot America- How stupidity became a virtue in the land of the free” by Charles Pierce

This article in The New York Times has reminded me of this book review I had still yet to write but have been procrastinating…one of those books you enjoyed reading, but gave you so much to think about that you don’t know how or where to start the review… So I’ll keep this one short.

The article in NYT and this book share one common theme: the outrage at how ‘truth’ and ‘facts’ have become a rare privilege today, especially in the United States in the latter, but I believe that this is a ‘fact’ that can be applied to any country in the world today.

The most prestigious value of America has also become its weakest point. The freedom of expression has become so much valued and emphasized upon that it has allowed for its other side of the coin to be just as valued. Who can stop you from blabbering anything out loud, if freedom of expression is there to protect you? Alas, now, for something to be ‘true’, it just needs to be said out loud and frequently enough for enough people to believe in.

In this era where information flows in from everywhere from every possible form of media, it is indeed important and crucial that we know how to differentiate fact from fiction. Whereas the media used to help us in that very path (or, so we seem to believe, but maybe the media never actually accomplished that role… hmm.. or is this another ‘conspiracy theory’ the author warns his reader against? I’m already lost), it now contributes in blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction.

When we are faced with people supposedly smart enough to participate in the politics of a country stating, matter-of-factly, that there is such a thing as ‘legitimate or illegitimate rape’, that ‘dictatorship and the thousands of deaths ensued can be excused in the name of economic advance’, it really is not hard to see why and how Charles Pierce decided to dedicate a whole book, albeit not very long, to this phenomenon.

The most significant assignment and task that is left to us by this book is how we should deal, react and behave when we are facing the unlimited bundle of information we are submerged into daily.

With his sarcasm and caustic sense of humor, Charles Pierce offers us, according to a reviewer in Amazon, ‘a Must read, but (unfortunately) one that those who should, won’t’.


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