Write a book for idiots and only idiots would read it. Sounds like yet another quote-ready addition to the Murphy’s Laws For Writers. Or maybe not. Because they won’t. Idiots rarely read at all (non-idiots tend to think so), and they never read books for idiots. You wouldn’t either, why bother if you are a certified idiot?
Most idiots, however, don’t know that they are idiots, and those who do — generally, are no idiots.
For Dummies books are intended to present non-intimidating guides for readers new to the various topics covered. Despite the title, their publisher has taken great pains to emphasize that the For Dummies books are not literally for dummies. The subtitle for every book is A Reference for the Rest of Us! Meaning, us – not-too-smart-sonofabitches?
Funny that Google search results for A Reference for the Rest of Us include “Spirituality for Christians. Reference for the Rest of Us: Shortcut to Heaven.”
Do you think it means complete information on the subject or complete idiots as the target readership? According to the Wikipedia, it’s the former: The term “idiot” is used as hyperbole in claiming ensured comprehension. The smarter idiot might find the information incomplete and feel duped, don’t you think?
Very well, then. For Dummies isn’t literally for dummies, and the idiot is just a hyperbole. Clever ploy, isn’t it? Smart people read them because they aren’t intimidated by the title. Idiots, who don’t know they are ones, read them. Non-categorized nincompoops read them because they act upon an idiotic assumption that they aren’t dummies. Why idiotic? Because they could be wrong.
Both For Dummies and Complete Idiot’s Guides are very popular brands, as every idiot knows by now. As of December 2012, over 1,800 For Dummies titles have been published.
Hyperbolized idiots made Complete Idiot’s Guide To Amazing Sex a bestseller. I’m not sure about its completeness, though, in spite inclusion of such titillating topics as Master of Your Domain. Masturbation is the most fun you can have by yourself. Enjoy playing with your body!
Please note the exclamation sign to make clear it is all TRUE. And all capital TRUE to ensure you paid attention.
Sex for Dummies is written by Dr. Ruth in her particular brand of zany-silly-smart Jewish-mama style. Lots of valuable information about condoms, by the way, and not much on Kama Sutra. On her lips, the quotations of Jong-suppressed oriental manual on the art and techniques of love would have sounded riotous.
If a man makes a sort of jelly with the juices of the fruit cassia fistula and eugenic jambolina and mixes the powder of the plants soma, veronia anthelminica, eclipta prostata, lohopajuihirka, and applies this mixture to the yoni of a woman with whom he is about to have intercourse, he will instantly cease to love her.
However, the Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Kama Sutra exists and, although far from complete, is very popular among complete and incomplete idiots alike. The quote above wasn’t lifted from the Idiot’s Guide but from the Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine.
And, in addition, yet another interesting bit of information. It back-references the name featured in my previous post, that of John Wiley and Sons, publishers:
In October 2011, John Wiley and Sons sued 27 BitTorrent users in New York for pirating books from the For Dummies series. The company claimed that their losses to piracy were “enormous” pointing out that demonoid.me recorded more than 74,000 downloads since June 6, 2010 for the single title Photoshop CS5 All-in-One-for Dummies. Thus far, Wiley is the first book publisher to take this kind of action.
No in-your-face Latin today. When I said that everything sounds great in Latin, I didn’t mean dummies or idiots. They don’t sound any better in Latin. Judge for yourself: morionem, stupidus, ydiote – moron, stupid, idiot.