52 of 67 people found the following review helpful
a deceitful book in an ugly tradition,
This review is from: Do They Think You're Stupid?: 100 Ways of Spotting Spin and Nonsense from the Media, Celebrities and Politicians (Paperback)
I picked this book up because I'm fascinated and appalled by the misuse of logic, by the misrepresentation of opinions, by the way people in power (in the media as much as in politics) abuse their power through their astute and clever dishonesty.
`Do They Think You're Stupid?' is the title of the book, but its implied subtitle is Baggini asking `Do You Think I'm Clever?' Well, yes, I admit, I do think he is clever. He cleverly takes a series of texts which his reader is unlikely to know directly. He cunningly selects the slenderest of phrases. And then his book mocks and scorns the writers in question. Well, as it happens, some time ago, I had read `No Logo', one of the books he attacks, and his interpretation seemed peculiar, and wholly at odds with my memory. Puzzled, I took the book off my shelves and looked again. And I was disgusted at the way Baggini misrepresented it, in a way which is not only illogical but profoundly deceptive. I went on to look at a few other writers Baggini attacks: over and over again, Baggini twists their words, cherrypicks their arguments, to make flat-footed generalisations which the original text do not warrant. He also, incidentally, lambasts Thom Yorke's praise for George Monbiot. I doubt very much that the world would be a more intelligent place with a Baggini but without Radiohead, Monbiot and Klein. But the reasons for Baggini's disapproval of Yorke are interesting. Baggini says that Thom Yorke is a musician, and therefore has no authority whatsoever to comment on any political subject. The crassness of this view speaks for itself, but Baggini's hypocrisy is also striking, for Baggini offers us his opinion of Thom Yorke's musical skills. Baggini is rather hoist by his own petard, here, for (according to his own crude intellectual model) being a philosopher Baggini therefore has no authority whatsoever to comment on music.
I would suggest that if any reader wishes to buy this book, the real intellectual discovery lies in reading it alongside the actual texts: to see how the deceits lie not in those texts but in Baggini's work. People in the media often abuse the power that they have: Baggini here upholds that ugly tradition in book form.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Apr 2013 12:37:49 BDT
Very good review. It's not easy to heavily criticise a book without sounding over-emotional, but you've done it. What I hope you will do is write more book reviews, as both of those so far are good ones . . .
Posted on 4 Sep 2014 14:07:12 BDT
I've just been told about this book as it slags off some of my own work and the part on me is badly researched, inaccurate, and nonsensical. if the rest of it is the same you are probably right!
Posted on 18 Sep 2015 15:24:58 BDT
Simon Taylor says:
From flicking through it, I got a similar impression. Thanks for confirming that this is not worth buying, because normally it would be a book I'd leap on.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›