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The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder Hardcover – May 29, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Miller, a New York University professor of media studies, has fashioned a devastating compendium of President George W. Bush's grammatical gaffes, syntactical shipwrecks, mind-boggling malapropisms and simply dumb comments. Page after page (after page) of quotations, suggests Miller, reveal that Bush is a man who, while not stupid, is prodigiously illiterate and woefully uneducated. Further, and compounding the problem, Bush could not care less about these shortcomings. How then, Miller asks, and this is his larger concern, did someone in Miller's opinion so obviously unqualified to be president convince so many voters that he was? Miller's answer is, in a word, television: Bush succeeded on TV not despite his "utter superficiality," but because his superficiality blended seamlessly with the vacuous culture of the tube. It was not simply that Bush's handlers were able to manipulate his image, attempting to construct out of his ignorance an anti-intellectual "good ole boy" persona, but that news professionals in the medium were all too willing to go along with this ploy. They went along because the pundits of TV have become, according to Miller, increasingly right-wing, thus natural Bush allies, but also because they no longer care to talk about substance, preferring instead discussion of "likability" and other attributes of pure image. While Miller is sometimes vague in his arguments, he has produced a sharp-edged polemic questioning the wisdom of how we elect our leaders. As President Bush has said, "It's not the way America is all about."

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (May 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393041832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393041835
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,449,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Crispin Miller is Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. He is the author of several books, including 'Boxed In: The Culture of TV;' 'The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder;' 'Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order' and 'Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform.' He is also the editor of 'Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008.' His essays and articles have appeared in many journals, magazines and newspapers throughout the nation and the world, and he has given countless interviews worldwide.

Customer Reviews

This book was a page turner for me.
michael egan
After you read this, you will never hear the outlandish, cliche-ridden locutions of our president in quite the same way again.
Foster Grant
This relates to Mr. Miller's book as he makes a damning case against the motivations and quality of television media.
Robert Swanay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

181 of 192 people found the following review helpful By Josh Dougherty on December 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
As my title says, this book is really NOT about GWB's quirky verbal stammers. It is about George W. Bush the man. It is an analysis of his political positions, his background and his personal politics.
Beware: after reading this book you will have good reason for thoroughly disliking this man, but not because he makes a bunch of funny verbal mistakes. If you're afraid of being thoroughly skeptical and possibly oppositional to the policies of our "commander in chief", then don't buy this book.
There are many many things in the book that I already knew, but the author defintely does lay out a very damaging portrayal of our current President's personal politics and ideology.
Please, get the newest paperback version, released AFTER 9-11. Do NOT get the old hardcover version printed before the September events. You'll miss out on a lot of extra materials if you don't.
This book is very parochial and does not go very deep into foreign policy, class analysis, or deeper and longer standing issues of US society (issues that are often laughingly painted as "class warfare" in the commercial media whenever they are hinted at, and thereby sidestepped in favor of fluff), but it does paint a very convincing picture of a president who is fully devoted to the most reactionary and privileged elements of the ruling class in the United States.
This is NOT about some supposedly "stupid" president who is "incompetent" or "dumb". These kind of appeals to Goerge Jr's supposed "stupidity" only show how stupid and gullible Democrats and "Liberals" really are, and how they really fall all over themselves to play into the hands of the Bush administration who want nothing more than to portray George W.
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136 of 146 people found the following review helpful By on August 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"What's not fine is, rarely is the question asked, are, is our children learning." - George W. Bush, Jan. 2000
Media critic Mark Crispin Miller has written a new book titled The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder. Although it brims with outrageous examples of Bush's inability to speak meaningful sentences (e.g., "Laura and I don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis."), this book is not so much about Bush's illiteracy as it is about how the corporate media cherishes him and his utter lack of ideas.
Miller believes that Bush's problem is deeper than mere dyslexia, or what he calls Bush's "West Texas ebonics." It's deeper, too, than simple ignorance. Bush's problem is that he's an ANTI-intellectual, and thus he plays very well on television. Although an excellent advertising medium, television detests reasoned discourse and instead focuses attention on the visual and the trivial, such as Ross Perot's big ears, Al Gore's robotic gestures, or any woman's hair style. Writes Miller: "The networks' journalistic stars go on and on and on about the politicians' failure or success at pleasing--or at not displeasing--viewers. ...such interminable yakking tells us nothing, dwelling on details of bearing, posture, voice, and makeup, instead of dealing with what anybody did, said, or failed to say." Put another way, our TV culture reduces "all discussion to the level of the taste-test, wherein 'likeability' is all that counts.
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Tom Museth on February 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Where Miller could have opted for the easy laughs and compiled a list of Bush's oratory gaffes, appending them with a few pompous put-downs, he has infact used Bush's verbal foul-ups merely as tools with which to support a much deeper and more unsettling observation.
Miller paints a lucid and disturbing picture of 21st century America, where a ubiquitous media culture promotes the dumbing-down of society and scorns intellectualism, instructive debate, creative vision and radical argument. Television, he says, exists solely to entertain, not educate, within safe, predictable parameters. Its agenda reserves no place for florid speech, mental provocation or inspirational ideals; instead, news and advertising are delivered in easily digestable chunks that deem obsolete any input on behalf of the viewer. The viewing masses are assailed with the familiar and the comfortable; advertisers reassure us they have our every whim catered for as long as we keep the cash flowing, and Hollywood celebrity scandals take the edge off any serious issues that might threaten to force us to form opinions or reassess our lives.
Moreover, Miller claims it is this brain-dead media culture that has cushioned Bush's rise to power - a culture that dispensed with intelligent debate and adroit character exposition during the presidential campaign and instead focussed on trivialities such as the candidates' likeability, photogenic profile and ability to keep the viewers from switching channels.
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