Columnist Gary Brown has a few questions for the people who write the Complete Idiot's guides.
Imagine how disconcerting it was to learn recently that the “Complete Idiot’s” people have published “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Journalism.”
What sort of specific need is this book meeting? And was my name mentioned in the index?
This column is another attempt in my continuing quest to get a handle on our collective understanding of life simply by noting the publication of the latest “Complete Idiot’s” guides. A newsletter I received the other day noted that more than two dozen new “Complete Idiot’s” guides have been published, so apparently we still don’t understand much.
The guides include “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Walt Disney World” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Life After Death.” From Goofy to God. That’s a pretty wide range.
Some Expected Selections
Unsurprisingly, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Algebra” is listed among the new titles. That doesn’t shock me. I had a high school math teacher who more or less told me I could use this kind of textbook almost 40 years ago. So, on the same page as “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Journalism,” I learned being an idiot is nothing new to me.
It’s not new to many of us, if you believe the publisher. “The Idiot’s Guide to Algebra” is the second edition. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geography” is the third edition, for heaven’s sake. I guess they keep finding new stuff we don’t know. For example, the Algebra guide made mention of something called “polynomials.” Are you more idiotic if you can’t understand what they mean, even with guidance?
The fourth book on the page is the “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the College Diet Cookbook.” Students can use it to “fight the freshman 15,” the publisher explained. It’s from the “Animal House” school of educational thought. “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son” I seem to remember the actor portraying “Dean Wormer” in the movie telling a heavy-set freshman.
So, readers of this book may still be drunken idiots, but they’ll possibly be thin.
Best of the Rest
Some of the remainder of the books listed seem to raise more questions with their titles than they provide answers in their text.
Do we really need to read both “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Investing in Bonds” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Poker Bets & Bluffs?” Or are they more or less the same book?
Does it help to read “The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the iPhone” if you can’t afford the phone?
Can the guy who reads “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ultimate Fighting” beat up the person reading “The “Complete Idiot’s Guide (to) The Ultimate Reading List?”
Might not the publication of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hybrid & Alternative Fuel Vehicles” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Living” make you feel sort of silly if you chose to read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Rock Guitar Songs” instead?
And what’s the value, beyond being able to watch “CSI,” of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Forensics?” How often were you called upon to investigate a crime scene before they had the book?
Reach Canton Repository Living Section Editor Gary Brown at (330) 580-8303 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org