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137 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't misunderestimate this book!, August 7, 2001
This review is from: The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder (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."
Thus, a smirking ignoramus who couldn't name any world leaders during his presidential campaign actually became a darling of the media, whose reporters and pundits continue to coddle him like a slow child, virtually never throwing him any curves nor attempting to pin him down with pointed or complex questions. In a typically wry passage, Miller observes: "Thus, Bush himself is a big-time beneficiary of what he likes to call 'the soft bigotry of low expectations.'"
Particularly galling to Miller is the Right's attempt to spin Bush's ignorance as an indication that he's a man of the people, like an Andrew Jackson or an Abraham Lincoln. (Republican Representative J.C. Watts actually introduced Bush at a campaign rally in South Carolina by shouting proudly, "You don't have to be smart to be president!") Miller reminds us that Bush hardly dragged himself up from common conditions. Rather, he partied his way through school, squandering rich educational opportunities at Andover and Yale, two highly competitive institutions which never would have accepted him--much less graduated him--without his family's intercession. Accordingly, Miller dubs Bush the anti-Lincoln, "one who, instead of learning eagerly in humble circumstances, learned almost nothing at the finest institutions in the land."
"And I see Bill Buckley is here tonight, fellow Yale man. We go way back, and we have a lot in common. Bill wrote a book at Yale--I read one." - George W Bush, Oct. 2000
Miller's book is nothing short of alarming, cataloguing as it does the anti-democratic collusion between the corporate media and the conservative politicians who support them. But Miller's wit is as keen as his powers of observation, so this book is as pleasurable as it is disturbingly informative.
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