In this remarkable story, Dempsey takes birdwatching (which, in his words, serves the social use of “keeping those nerdy kids who have no chance of ever making a real friend out of already overcrowded bars”) and makes it cool. While I probably won’t immediately invest in a pair of binoculars, Dempsey has effectively instilled an appreciation of a pastime to which I had never given a single, solitary thought. On the one hand, the sub-title of this book pretty much sums it up. But on the other, it says nothing. The picture on the cover, if you can see it, only begins to hint at the mirth within its pages. Who knew a book about birdwatching could be hilarious. One reviewer on Barnes and Noble’s website found Dempsey’s humor a little derogatory and believes he thinks he is better than everyone else. What this reviewer fails to recognize, however, is that Dempsey pokes as much fun at himself as anyone. He describes himself as having skin “not exactly white, more an off-gray color, like a once vivid photograph that’s been left too long in the sunlight”. He’s a self-proclaimed “beertotaller”, and occasionally dons the cape of “small injustice man” risking bodily injury over trivial matters. A Supremely Bad Idea is edutainment at its best, as I unwittingly learned about impact of habitat destruction, global climate change and “dunce families” in National Parks, on bird populations, all while being thoroughly entertained.
Jan 21, 2009