Friday, November 11, 2005

"Ignorant and Proud"

The following is a transcript from the 10/21 taping of “Baxter On Books,” a syndicated television show featuring Theodore Baxter, professor of modern literature at Cornell University, interviewing authors. His guest for this show was Brenda Fritz, author of the bestselling book, “Ignorant and Proud.”

Baxter: Welcome. Thanks for tuning in to “Baxter on Books.” I’m Theo Baxter, and I think you’re going to find today’s show fascinating as we talk to an author whose book challenges some very deeply held assumptions about how we perceive the world. Is that fair to say? Okay. Our guest author is Brenda Fritz, whose book “Ignorant and Proud” has soared to the top of everyone’s bestseller list in a very short time. Welcome, Brenda.

Brenda: It’s a pleasure to be here.

Baxter: “Ignorant and Proud.” Fascinating. Explain the premise of this book to me. I mean, you’re proud to be ignorant?

Brenda: Oh yes. You see, for centuries, we’ve been told over and over again that being ignorant is a bad thing, something you should be ashamed of. In our modern society, the mantra is “Learn. Learn. Learn.” We’ve become so conditioned to the idea that we have to “think” about everything, that we lose touch with some very important human qualities.

Baxter: Such as?

Brenda: Bliss. Who in this world experiences bliss anymore? Very few, I must say. Your mind needs to be empty to experience true bliss, but our heads are so crammed full of facts and figures that we can’t find the simple bliss of staring at a leaf for hours.

Baxter: Staring at a leaf?

Brenda: Or reading a story of courage in Reader’s Digest. Or singing the National Anthem in the shower. Or digging a hole. We champion the idea of simplifying our lives. Why not simplify our minds?

Baxter: So you’re actually encouraging people not to think.

Brenda: As I say in my book, “Ignorance can unlock a new stress-free world.” Thinking creates tension and promotes discord. Ignorance allows you to create the world in which you’re most comfortable.

Baxter: But what about facts? How can you simply choose to ignore facts?

Brenda: With practice it becomes very easy. The Bible says that God created the world in seven days. That’s simple and straightforward. I like that. Evolution is complex and messy. I don’t understand it so I don’t find comfort in it. So why should I choose to believe something that isn’t comfortable?

Baxter: Because one is a belief and the other is supported by scientific evidence?

Brenda: There you go, complicating matters. I choose the less complicated reality.

Baxter: Truly fascinating. In your book you write, “Facts are just beliefs wrapped in tin foil.” What exactly do you mean by that?

Brenda: I’m not sure. I just liked the way it sounded. I also enjoy wrapping things in tin foil.

Baxter: How do you explain the popularity of your book, Brenda?

Brenda: I think a lot of people are just burned out on the idea of thinking. Be honest. What would you rather do? Read “War and Peace” or watch “Lost?”

Baxter: I don’t own a TV.

Brenda: Thinking wastes vital energy. You have to let go of this notion that thinking will make things better. In my book, I advocate reforming our government to a Christian monarchy. No more campaigning. No more elections. No more questions about who is really in charge. Belief and intuition should be our guideposts in life.

Baxter: But without thinking, we wouldn’t have any of the things we use on a daily basis...electricity, airplanes, medicine, automobiles, books...

Brenda: I never thought of that. On the other hand, we’d be living simpler, happier lives. You see? I’m perfectly content in my own reality. For me, there are no contradictions.

Baxter: Isn’t that also called psychosis?

Brenda: I have no idea. And I won’t worry my beautiful mind about it. Read the book. You’ll understand. They can’t keep it on the shelves in the South.

Baxter: Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. “Ignorant and Proud,” ladies and gentlemen. At a bookstore near you. Thank you for stopping by, Brenda. Good day.

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