Reviews for Profiles In Ignorance

by Andy Borowitz

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Readers may laugh, cry, or swear under their breath (sometimes all at once) with this scathing survey of the seemingly increasing ignorance of American politicians. Borowitz, a writer of page and screen and satirist for The New Yorker, humorously examines the ever-increasing, lowering-of-the-bar expectations of presidential candidates' knowledge and beyond in this book that is perfect for fans of The Daily Show or John Lithgow's "Dumpty" series. Beginning with Ronald Reagan, the author identifies "the Three Stages of Ignorance: Ridicule, Acceptance, and Celebration" and carries readers through the Trump era. All the while, he provides interesting tidbits and oft-underreported information, such as the various subjects' academic leanings and reading habits (or lack thereof). He also highlights the specific qualities that politicians have that made their successes possible, despite their lack of knowledge, such as Reagan's acting ability and what he calls Trump's "island of competence." For readers who have ever looked at the political landscape and asked how or why, this is a book that will inform and infuriate. VERDICT Though the chapters are long, the copious notes, footnotes, and index add to this amusing but maddening book's wealth of information.—Jack Phoenix


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A celebrated political satirist eviscerates know-nothing politicians, mostly Republicans.Over the past 50 years, the Republican Party has continuously nominated incurious, poorly read, and laughably unprepared candidates for public office, with puppet masters in the wings to minimize the damage. Such is the all-too-convincing premise of Borowitzs exhaustively detailed, devastatingly funny takedown of a veritable Mount Rushmore of incompetents: People sometimes call our nation the American experiment. Recently, though, weve been lab rats in another, perverse American experiment, seemingly designed to answer this question: Whos the most ignorant person the United States is willing to elect? If this parade of intellectual lightweights began its Age of Ignorance with Ronald Reagan, writes the author, it reached its nadir with Donald Trump. In the hallowed tradition of Will Rogers, Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Ambrose Bierce, and other cleareyed satirists, Borowitz skewers all manner of chronically befuddled, willfully ignorant dolts: Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene (a prolific QAnon loudmouth), Matt Gaetz (the ultimate specimen of Florida Man), Lauren Boebert, and former football coach Tommy Tuberville, who once said, There is one person that changes climate in this country and that is God. Ravaging this seemingly endless rogues gallery of buffoonery and corruption, Borowitz marshals mind-boggling, breathtaking evidence. In pillorying Trump, hes shooting fish in a barrel, but even worse are the unprincipled handlers behind the scenes: Roy Cohn, Stu Spencer, Roger Ailes, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, et al. Democrats dont get a pass, but Borowitz clearly demonstrates that Republicans are unrivaled in behaving as if stupidity was a virtue. While there are countless laughs in the book, they have a rueful edge given that we are all affected by such widespread ignorance. In this book, he writes, Ive made nothing up. All the events Im about to describe actually happened. Theyre a part of American history. Unfortunately.Top-notch political satire from a practiced pen. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A celebrated political satirist eviscerates know-nothing politicians, mostly Republicans. Over the past 50 years, the Republican Party has continuously nominated incurious, poorly read, and laughably unprepared candidates for public office, with puppet masters in the wings to minimize the damage. Such is the all-too-convincing premise of Borowitz’s exhaustively detailed, devastatingly funny takedown of a veritable Mount Rushmore of incompetents: “People sometimes call our nation ‘the American experiment.’ Recently, though, we’ve been lab rats in another, perverse American experiment, seemingly designed to answer this question: Who’s the most ignorant person the United States is willing to elect?” If this parade of intellectual lightweights began its “Age of Ignorance” with Ronald Reagan, writes the author, it reached its nadir with Donald Trump. In the hallowed tradition of Will Rogers, Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Ambrose Bierce, and other cleareyed satirists, Borowitz skewers all manner of chronically befuddled, willfully ignorant dolts: Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene (a “prolific QAnon loudmouth”), Matt Gaetz (the “ultimate specimen of Florida Man”), Lauren Boebert, and former football coach Tommy Tuberville, who once said, “There is one person that changes climate in this country and that is God.” Ravaging this seemingly endless rogues’ gallery of buffoonery and corruption, Borowitz marshals mind-boggling, breathtaking evidence. In pillorying Trump, he’s shooting fish in a barrel, but even worse are the unprincipled “handlers” behind the scenes: Roy Cohn, Stu Spencer, Roger Ailes, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, et al. Democrats don’t get a pass, but Borowitz clearly demonstrates that Republicans are unrivaled in behaving as if stupidity was a virtue. While there are countless laughs in the book, they have a rueful edge given that we are all affected by such widespread ignorance. “In this book,” he writes, “I’ve made nothing up. All the events I’m about to describe actually happened. They’re a part of American history. Unfortunately.” Top-notch political satire from a practiced pen. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New Yorker columnist Borowitz (editor, The 50 Funniest American Writers) delivers a quip-filled look at U.S. politicians who “turned ignorance from a liability into a virtue.” Claiming that “not so long ago, it was less than ideal for an American politician to seem like a dumbass,” Borowitz blames Ronald Reagan for showing, in the words of humorist Molly Ivins, “that ignorance is no handicap to the presidency.” (As governor of California, Reagan once claimed that plants and trees produce more air pollution than chimneys and cars.) But at least Reagan could memorize a script; Dan Quayle, on the other hand, “spewed nonsense worthy of Lewis Carroll on opium.” Borowitz also skewers Sarah Palin, who allegedly did not know that Africa was a continent. But the book’s biggest target is Donald Trump, who once suggested that Frederick Douglass was still alive and that American patriots “took over the airports” during the Revolutionary War. Though Borowitz’s inability to resist a pun can grow tiresome, he sheds light on the cultural and economic trends that gave intellectualism a bad name and identifies the political operatives—including Roger Stone and Bill Kristol—who facilitated the rise of ignorance. Fans of The Borowitz Report will gobble this up. (Sept.)

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