John Stossel has a unique and thankless job on ABC. He is a rare libertarian voice on a very liberal network. They are not CBS or MSNBC, but they do have The View as a show. I have enjoyed his pieces on 20/20 and was pleased when he became one of its anchors. I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Mr. Stossel more than a decade ago. He is as entertaining in person as he is on TV.
I have read many of John’s books, but found this one particularly pertinent as it addresses many of the issues I would like to frame in our dialogue. Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity covers issues from the clueless media (his words, not mine – I would not be as kind) to stupid schools and the perils of parenting.
Throughout the chapters, myths are listed followed by the truth supported by a frank, short discussion. Most disappointing to me was that size DOES matter to most women. Unfortunately he is not referring to shoe size or I would be golden (size 13 feet).
He does not avoid controversy as he tackles the myth that public schools are under-funded. I can attest that throwing more money at a substandard school does not guarantee results. The cost to educate a child in the school district where I live (suburban district) is about half of what it costs in the urban district near us. The children in our schools are consistently some of the best in our state while the urban school is always near the bottom. It is not just about the money.
Myths provides both serious and light-hearted busting of conventional thinking. I was shocked to learn that my Mother lied to me for years as she made me wait an hour after eating to swim. “You’ll get cramps and drown,” she said. In John’s words, “Swim away” after you eat (My Mother is not likely to find out that I called her a liar as she is not connected to the internet).