Mumbo-Jumbo

Now this is something everyone should read. For a start, it’s seriously funny. Francis Wheen has been a newspaper columnist, commentator and observer of this, that and quite possibly the other for many years. In How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, he turns his attention to a wide range of irrationalities, and while having a lot of fun in the process, makes some very serious points about human behaviour and the state of civilisation in general. I think it’s fair to say that most people will find something to disagree with here, but unless you’re a completely credulous loon, you’ll find a lot more to agree with.

Wheen blasts his way through true believers in “The Market”, the dotcom boom and bust, New Age lunacy, post-modernist vacuity, and much more.

One of his key points relates to the consequences of powerful nations funding and supporting dangerous movements on the dubious “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” principle. It’s good to see I’m not the only one who has a problem with this. I’ve always thought that people should consider the possibility that “my enemy’s enemy might just be a psychotic maniac who doesn’t get on with anybody”.

Anyway, there is much to enjoy here, and much to think about. The paperback edition includes an interview with Wheen and some other bits and bobs. Worth a look.