What is this craze?

I remember it starting with "DOS for Dummies" long ago. Now apparently everyone needs to be a moron to learn something.

I had to go to a Waldenbooks Store to find a book before my 8 hour bus ride home from visiting a friend.

The entire computer section proudly announced that it was fully idiot compliant. I just find it rather demeaning, I mean really; I want to walk to the counter with one of these things, the proud yellow and black jacket trumpeting out to the store that I am a total fool. The other thing that scares me are books like "America Online for Dummies", quite an redundancy. Better yet, how about "MCSE for Dummies"... Correct me if I am wrong but didn't that used to be a whole set of classes and 8 tests for CS majors to take to land a cush job?

Since we are just going to make a little booky-poo for everything, here are my recommendations:

  • Home Brain Surgery for Dummies
  • Shoe Tying for Dummies
  • Professional Football for Dummies
  • Cult organization and Management for Dummies
  • Sleeping for Dummies

  • and the ever popular

  • Plutonium for Dummies
On a similar note are the "An Idiot's Guide to..." series of books. One time I was in B. Dalton's and found - I shit you not - "An Idiot's Guide to Cybersex." Of course, I had to page through it, and couldn't believe that people actually needed a guide to get onto IRC and /join #teensex.

I'd hardly call "Windows '95 for Dummies" or "America OnLine for Dummies" to be oxymorons; more like self-descriptive, or redundant. When I first saw Win'95 for Dummies, I couldn't help but think that it was more like a statement to be emblazened on a picket sign, to be a mantra during a strike at some factory where they didn't pander to the idiotic masses.

Now, the day they came out with "Linux for Dummies" was the day it stopped being funny.

There is actually a The Bible for Blockheads by Douglas Connery. Brought to you by Zondervan, no less. What a surprise! It is a total ripoff of the various and sundry computer series, from the nerd artwork to the user-friendly language to the typesetting.

Another funny thing is that I was in a computer bookstore in Taichung that had a large English selection. They had a large For Dummies section, and I noticed a Wine for Dummies title. No, this is not wine as in Windows Emulation for Linux, this is a book about wine tasting. Apparantly the Chinese staff made a boo-boo.

Having bought and read Delphi for Dummies, C++ for Dummies and Java for Dummies, I think I'm beginning to see a pattern in how IDG1 names the books in their introductory programming series. I find this makes their book titles... boringly predictable. If there is ever a mainstream demand for an introductory text on programming in Sather, I'll bet they'll call it Sather for Dummies.

I'd like to start up my own series of programming books, but rather than create a cliché like IDG, I'd like to provide a unique derogatory title for each language. That way, people will be looking forward to each new publication, puzzling over what new insult will go with each new language. Here are my ideas2 for the first batch of titles:

  1. I realize that "XXX for Dummies" is an IDG trademark. I enjoy their books and don't wish to step on their toes or anyone else's. This is just a harmless little spoof.
  2. If you, dear reader, don't find this piece humorous, I hope you at least find it interesting to see how much of the alphabet space is covered both by programming languages and derogatives.
  3. You'll notice a number of "???"s in this list. There are some letters for which I find it hard to come up with a programming language or a mild derogative. Any help (by /msg) will be appreciated; your contribution(s) will be added to the list and attributed to you.
  4. Thanks to mkb
  5. Thanks to TallRoo
  6. Thanks to Toxick
  7. Thanks to Toxick, some more!
  8. Thanks to wertperch
  9. Thanks to seagulltheme
  • http://dmoz.org/Computers/Programming/Languages/

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