Originally posted on February 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Yesterday at work I got three versions of basically the same E-mail entitled “Lean For Dummies.” A very brief inspection I gave the first iteration indicated that employees in our agency were invited to join an online chat group centered around a book by the same name which presumably deals with issues such as diet and exercise. I didn’t check further versions since in my opinion the first one should have been deleted prior to sending.

No, I don’t have anything particularly against either dieting or exercise. I try to indulge in both from time to time. The thing that angers me is this use and overuse in contemporary culture of book titles of the form …For Dummies. I never read such books and don’t believe anyone else should, in fact I think those who do read such books are probably the audience the authors are seeking. No, that’s not really fair. I am afraid that a lot of people allow themselves to be called condescending names and allow themselves to think of themselves in diminishing terms because they don’t possess much self esteem which is certainly unfortunate but does not mean the persons in question are stupid, unable to speak or clothes mannequins which so far as I know are the three common definition for the term dummy.