Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Experts Speak!

I was just watching Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky from the (fictitious) Institute of Expertology who are two of the authors of a new book called “Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won the War in Iraq: The Experts Speak” on Bill Moyers Journal talking about how all of the so-called “experts” got just about everything wrong concerning the fiasco in Iraq. “Never before has such a large and diverse group of experts been so unanimously in favor of a particular national policy as they were in the case of the U.S. invasion of Iraq,” note the authors. “In the face of such a consensus, we had no choice but to ask ourselves, ‘Could the iron law of expertology — the experts are never right — be wrong?’”

Here’s some false expertise from their previous book subtitled “The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation”:

“Just a fad, a passing fancy.”
—Phil Wrigley, Chicago Cubs owner, commenting on the advent of night baseball, C. 1935

“Bill Clinton will lose to any Republican nominee who doesn’t drool on the stage.”
—The Wall Street Journal, editorial, October 30, 1995

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”

—President of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

“Can’t act. Can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little.”
—M-6-M executive, reacting to Fred Astaire’s screen test, 1928

“Forget it, Louis, no Civil War picture ever made a nickel.”
—Irving Thalberg’s warning to Louis B. Mayer regarding Gone With the Wind

You can watch the interview at the PBS website here.