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Bad Or, the Dumbing of America

Fussell, Paul

274 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0671676520 / ISBN 13: 9780671676520
Published by Summit Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1991
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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201 pages, dustjacket price-clipped and spine faded, a very good copy. Bookseller Inventory # 029560

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Bad Or, the Dumbing of America

Publisher: Summit Books, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title


The author of Class has created a satirical reference work that excoriates those things in modern life that are promoted as simply wonderful but are, in fact, BAD. Paul Fussell writes that we are living in a moment teeming with raucously overvalued emptiness and trash. BAD is devoted to identifying examples of the phony or witless that public relations attempts to persuade us are genuine or grand.

From Kirkus Reviews:

From Fussell, a great crying out at just about everything that's awful about today's America. Bad things have always been around--cheap, false, deceitful; but when, as in our deluded ``age of hype,'' these things are not just swallowed whole but are declared to be ``better than any other sort,'' then ``bad'' is raised to ``BAD,'' otherwise understood as the culture-wide ``manipulation of fools by knaves'' that makes up the reality of our everyday experience in a nation that's insecure, ``subadult,'' and ``intellectually deprived.'' Fussell (Wartime, 1989, etc.) chronicles the shabby charade that comprises life in America, organizing his laments into a bitterly hilarious reference book with entries from ``BAD Advertising'' through ``BAD Television,'' with stops in between, for example, at airlines, beliefs, conversation, engineering, language, people, poetry, and even restaurants. The key idea throughout is that what determines true ``BAD'' is ``the distance between appearance and reality,'' and what Fussell is really decrying is the class insecurity, the ``doltishness and provincialism,'' that causes Americans to love the third-rate and to have not a clue as to the genuine. ``BAD Colleges and Universities'' may be the central entry in the whole, since wholesale and happily complacent ignorance lies at the heart of the horror. Out-Menckening Mencken in his silver-tongued diatribes at bunkum and pretense and fraud, Fussell slips sometimes into mere disgust, or worse, into plain insensitivity (West Virginia is a place where the waitresses ``will have no teeth''); but in declaring America to be a clownish nation empowered today only by ``a conspiracy against actuality,'' he addresses what might just be the awful truth about the last rotting timber our house stands on. With droll and despondently elegant wit, a study of the manipulated ignorance of our mass culture, and a dirge for the ``wiping-out of the amenity and nuance and complexity and charm that make a country worth living in.'' Domestic--and invaluable- -Fussell. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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