‘Dyslexicon’ Scares You

by Alice Cherbonnier
The Bush Dyslexicon

by Mark Crispin Miller
Hardcover - 304 pages (May 29, 2001)
W.W. Norton & Company;
ISBN: 0393041832

       The British version of Mark Crispin Miller’s The Bush Dyslexicon carries the teaser “Be afraid, be very afraid.” And yes, after reading this book, we should be afraid—and not just because the captain at the helm of our ship of state has no business being there. As Miller demonstrates, George W. Bush—notwithstanding his powerful family and friends—would never have become President (we cannot say “elected”) had it not been for the collusion/malfeasance/nonfeasance of our supposed “free press.”

       Miller writes powerfully and passionately; the contrast between his words and those of Mr. Bush—-so often mangled and incomprehensible—throws into clear relief the horror of our situation.

       Things are worse than we might have supposed: Mr. Bush isn’t stupid, he’s defiantly and dangerously ignorant. He’s vindictive, and he’s mean.

       How did such an inadequate, undistinguished person come to be President? Miller lays out a convincing case that there’s “a strange new national disorder” that prevents us from perceiving what’s really happening.

       The disorder stems, in part, from too many mixed signals. You see someone on TV, for example, and get one impression; you hear the voice, and get another; you hear the words, but they don’t match the body language; you hear something that sounds ridiculous or flat-out wrong, and no one comments on it; and then you have some commentator tell you what you just heard, and it’s totally different from what you think.

       You get confused and angry. You doubt yourself. You stop trying to understand the issues. You don’t trust your impressions.

       Our media bombard us with these sucker punches, and we’ve been reeling from them without realizing it. We’re in the thrall of a sort of info-dyslexia every bit as debilitating and demoralizing as whatever learning disability George W. Bush suffers from.

       Now that the disease has a name and a defined causation, we can find ways to prevent it from recurring. Start with The Bush Dyslexicon.


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This story was published on June 27, 2001.