August 02, 2004

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to “Weblogs”

When perusing the local bookstore, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” often find many tomes that get our dander up. It’s as if someone is attempting to make one of life’s true pleasures—shopping for books—a mercilessly horrid experience.

First, the neighborhood Barnes & Noble seems to have an affinity for those over-lauded Beatniks, as if William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg would have really dug the antiseptic ambience of this un-thinking man’s Borders. We all know that nothing screams antinomian counterculture quite like a $45 cup of Starbucks at the ole’ B & N.

And if this pseudo-radicalism weren’t enough to rankle us, the magazine section of this Barnes & Noble sure is. Looking for The New Criterion? You’re out of luck. Modern Painters? Not a chance. The (London) Spectator? Oh, come on: Of course not. But, if you have a hankering for such highbrow journals as Maxim, Details, and Black Hair Care, you’re in luck: B & N carries all three of these. Gee, those magazines would really hit the spot—provided we hate reading.

But the literate person need not head to the magazine rack to feel alienated from his fellow man. A perusal of the “Best Sellers” section serves this function too. Are we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” the only people in the United States who don’t own copies of “The Da Vinci Code?” We aren’t even sure what this code is; perhaps it’s a way of figuring out Victoria’s Secret?

But there is one series of books that really irritates us. This, dear reader, is the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series, which offers potential readers helpful tips on a wide variety of subjects, from computers to dating. (Well, for some of us, those two subjects aren’t all that different.)

What, you may be asking yourself, bothers you so much about these “Idiot’s Guide” books? Why do these tomes offend, whereas “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” doesn’t irritate at all?

Frankly, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have never even ventured to read one of these dubious books. We simply can’t bring ourselves to it. And, to misquote one of Bill Shakespeare’s characters, here’s the rub. The title of the series—“The Complete Idiot’s Guide”—is so patently offensive that we can’t fathom why anyone would purchase a book with such a title.

To be sure, plenty of people--and we mean plenty--are inveterate morons. But you have to be a complete chucklehead not to realize that clutching a monograph that reads “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Autism” makes you look rather foolish indeed.

It seems, in fact, as if purchasing such books serves as a kind of literary masochism: You are announcing to the general public that, not only do you need to polish up your French, you are a complete dunce.

Still, it appears as if there’s quite a market for “The Complete Idiot’s Guide” series. And this led us to wonder: Could a series with an even more offensive title, which is even more patronizing, somehow sell like hotcakes? We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are certainly willing to team up with some swashbuckling venture capitalist and give it a try. How do the following titles grab you?

1. “The Pertinacious Tyro’s Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”
2. “Spanish for the Drooling Moron”
3. “The Dim Bulb’s Guide to Cooking”
4. “Look, Stupid, Buy This Book on Politics”
5. “The Knuckle-Dragging Buffoon’s Guide to Rocket Science”
6. “Stupid White Men”

Oh, wait a minute. Michael Moore already penned a book with the same title as number six. And, boy, you’d have to be a real idiot to buy that one, cracker.

Posted at August 2, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack