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Hwat is the deal with those? Is it trying to make being a "dummy" cool? I don't get why they took off so much. I can see the SUBJECT MATTER being out & about in books, but I don't get why they'd make it a title of being for dummies. Maybe it's a way that people think they'll come off more likeable- like they aren't arrogant? It just seems to be that there's actual "dumbing down" going on in this part of the world & has been for years. I don't think glamourizing being a dummy is a good idea for generating an opposite effect.
I figure it was probably a marketing tactic, but also that it might have broader implications- especially since they ARE a popular brand & is a very common reference. If it was just a random publication, I probably wouldn't have thought much of it- but it's not & I'm wondering what's at the root of that?
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Probably just a good marketing idea - take a bunch of subjects that many people would be interested in and simplify it so more people will think they can learn it. I don't think it was about dumbing down or trying to make being a dummy cool. I haven't read through one, just flipped through a couple of them. But it didn't seem bad, just a good marketing idea with wide appeal.
It's because being an idiot is seen as a bad thing, but self-deprecation is 'cool' and a mark of humility -- this is not true in all, or perhaps even most circumstances, but it is something that pervades our culture and that a lot of people believe. If they had said 'you know you're an idiot on this subject, buy our book,' people would huff and tell them to go write 'f***ing Yourself, for Dummies.' But because it's titled the way it is, where you are 'in on the joke' (this is the same requirement most of the mainstream public has for being able to enjoy comic book movies), you buy the book, and it's a funny and positive thing. "See?" you say as you grin sheepishly at the bookstore clerk. "This is proof that I'm not full of myself!"
Also because, at the time, it was a pretty unique marketing gimmick. I don't know if they were the first to try that approach period, but they were the first to get big with it, and they have the most garishly recognizable aesthetic this side of porn mags. They have so much association with their market now that if you are looking for introductory learning in ANYTHING, your mind basically jumps to "Well, there's a For Dummies' book on that, I bet."