'I am fascinated' Andrew Marr, Start the Week, Radio 4 'Wonderful' The Times 'Intelligent' Independent
It was Nietzsche who said that if people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever happen. Returning to the original meaning of an idiot as a private man with views, Stephen Bayley draws a firm line between those who have opinions and those who hold stupid mass-produced views one can pick up anywhere. The first group, the idiots, is opinionated, will come up with interesting views and challenge orthodoxy; the other group, the stupid, merely regurgitate what they have heard before. However, the number of stupid people is growing, however, and we urgently need more idiots! Investigating further, Stephen Bayley finds the reason for illegal substances in Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, unveils the mysteries of Italian cuisine, what Foucault and Barthes have in common, what Princess Diana meant when using the word 'tidy', and why everyone hates accountants with a vengeance. Inevitably, idiocy has to be seen to be believed and Bayley delves deep into the arts, architecture, design, advertising, leather, kitsch and other professions which bring idiocy to the surface.
From beards to opera, celebrity to phallic symbolism, A Dictionary of Idiocy dissects existence in bite-sized chunks that even the MTV generation will be able to digest.