Matthijs van Boxsel believes that no one is intelligent enough to understand their own stupidity. In The Encyclopaedia of Stupidity he shows how stupidity manifests itself in all areas, in everyone, at all times, proposing that stupidity is the foundation of our civilization.
In short sections with such titles as The Blunderers Club, Fools in Hell, Genealogy of Idiots, and The Aesthetics of the Empty Gesture, stupidity is analysed on the basis of fairy tales, cartoons, triumphal arches, garden architecture, Baroque ceilings, jokes, flimsy excuses and science fiction. But Van Boxsel wants to do more than just assemble a shadow cabinet of wisdom; he tries to fathom the logic of this opposite world. Where do understanding and intelligence begin and end? He examines mythic fools such as Cyclops and King Midas, cities such as Gotham, archetypes including the dumb blonde, and traditionally stupid animals such as the goose, the donkey and the headless chicken.
Van Boxsel posits that stupidity is a condition for intelligence, that blunders stimulate progress, that failure is the basis for success. In this erudite and witty book he maintains that our culture is the product of a series of failed attempts to comprehend stupidity.
The United States went to war in Iraq to eliminate the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction--which turned out not to exist. As the war drags on, the strange case of the weapons that were not there remains a matter of bitter debate, for it underscores the fact that the goals and the motivations of the Bush administration officials who argued for war are still largely obscure. Yet in fact there exists crucial and little-publicized evidence that lets us understand the secretive, even deceptive, way that the the US launched a war of choice in the Middle East in March 2003.At the beginning of May 2005, just before the British elections, the London Times published the "Downing Street Memo," the leaked secret minutes of a July 2002 meeting of senior British intelligence, foreign policy, and security officials. The memo made clear that eight months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush had already decided on war. The British officials who attended the meeting were told that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," that the US wanted to avoid consulting the UN, and that few plans were being made for the aftermath of war. Largely ignored in the US press for weeks afterward, The New York Review of Books published the memo in its entirety with an extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Mark Danner. Danner explains how the memo clarifies the broader--and largely concealed--history of the events leading up to the Iraq war. He shows that the Bush and Blair administrations advocated the resumption of UN weapons inspections as a means not to avoid war but to ensure it. Most importantly, Danner argues that in the face of the memo's clear evidence of deception, the press, public, and Congress still have not held the administration responsible. The Secret Way to War, with a preface by by Frank Rich, includes Mark Danner's strongly argued analysis of the Downing Street Memo as well as the complete text of the memo and seven other leaked British documents. Collectively, the documents show the members of Tony Blair's government and their counterparts in Washington struggling to find legal and political rationales and strategies for regime change in Iraq.
The Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures of Aslan, the Pevensie children, and the rest of the colorful cast. Do the spectacular events in Narnia give readers a simplistic view of human choice and decision making? Does Aslan offer a solution to the problem of evil? What does the character of Susan tell readers about Lewis's view of gender? How does Lewis address the Nietzschean "master morality" embraced by most of the villains of the Chronicles? With these and a wide range of other questions, this provocative book takes a fresh view of the world of Narnia and expands readers' experience of it.
In hisNew York Times bestseller, National Magazine Award-winning journalist Eric Schlosser charts the fast food industry's enormous impact on our health, landscape, economy, politics and culture as he transforms the way America thinks about what it eats.
In these refreshingly bold, creative, and incisive essays, John D'Agata journeys the endless corridors of American's myriad halls of fame and faithfully reports on what he finds there. In a voice all his own, he brilliantly maps his terrain in lists, collage, and ludic narratives. From Martha Graham to the Flat Earth Society, from the brightest light in Vegas to the "outsider artist" Henry Darger, D'Agata's obsessions are as American as they are contemporary.
Martha Graham, Audio Description Of
Flat Earth Map: An Essay
Hall of Fame: An Essay About the Ways in Which We Matter
Notes toward the making of a whole human being . . .
Collage History of Art, by Henry Darger
And There Was Evening and There Was Morning
Studio 54 was the epicenter of disco culture and pre-AIDS debauchery. Now, journalist and nightworld denizen Anthony Haden-Guest takes us behind the velvet rope that separated the celebrities from the wanna-bes, into an all-night world of revelry, sensation, and decadence.
Going beyond the endless partying with Liza, Bianca, Halston, Andy, and Mick, Haden-Guest probes the seamy underside of Studio 54: the drugs, the deaths, and the corruption that eventually shuttered the club. It is the story of Studio 54's flamboyant owners, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, who achieved early success beyond their wildest imaginings, came within a hair's breadth of great power, and then crashed and burned.