Monday, June 28, 2010

What were they thinking?

I was in a public library last week and saw the title: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jesus. I have always wondered what this publisher was thinking when they call their readers "complete idiots." I looked on the publisher's web site and here's how they refer to their readers, " Smart People Read Idiot's Guides, You're smart, curious, at ease with yourself, and interested in learning." If the reader is smart why use the word "idiot" in your title? Why don't they call the series the "beginner's" or "learner's" guide? Does the title mean you are are "idiot" if you learn about the topic of the book? Another publisher has the right idea with a series for self learners called "teach yourself."

Using my educator's hat, I want to encourage people to learn and make them feel good about learning new topics, not demean them with labels such as "idiots." If a teacher walked into class on the first day and said, "Good morning idiots, this is a course that will help you master U.S. history. Open up your idiot's guides to find out what you don't know," the teacher would never get the respect of students.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Respect, maybe not. Attention, the teacher most certainly will get. And as The Idiot's Guide series shows us, it's brought much success as well. People sometimes like things quirky & different. As long as the joke is not personally directed, most people will take it in stride. sure would be funny if they offered 'Idiot Notes' in competition with Cliff Notes. Or maybe they should just go with 'Lazy Bum Notes.'