cover image Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber

Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber

Andy Borowitz. Avid Reader, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-66800-388-6

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.)