The two John Grays


The two John Grays
Originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

Conflated comically at Helsinki Academic Bookstore.

From a review of John Gray’s “Heresies” in the Guardian:

“Gray sees our faith in progress – “the Prozac of the thinking classes” – as the illusion that underlies the most egregiously mistaken political and social policies of the present day. Certainly there is such a thing as progress, but it is a fact only in the realm of science, while “in ethics and politics it is a superstition”. Throughout his work Gray hammers relentlessly against the notion, first advanced in the Renaissance and reified in the Enlightenment, that history moves inexorably in a straight line, and that human nature will necessarily improve as our knowledge accumulates. He grants that in some areas things do get better: we have abolished judicial torture, for example, and modern dentistry is a great boon. The mistake, he contends, the wilful, foolish and tragic mistake, is to imagine that more dental implants and fewer thumbscrews will make us into better beings. “Human knowledge grows, but the human animal stays much the same.”

From a review of John Gray’s “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships”:

“Unfortunately, his overuse of gimmicky, often silly analogies and metaphors makes his otherwise down-to-earth guide hard to take seriously. Here Martians (men) play Mr. Fix-It while Venusians (women) run the Home-Improvement Committee; when upset, Martians “go to their caves” (to sort things out alone) while Venusians “go to the well” (for emotional cleansing). While graphically illustrative, the hyperbolic, overextended comparisons, particularly in the chapters that refer to men as rubber bands and women as waves, significantly detract from Gray’s realistic insights. “

I am now pretty convinced that these books were authored by two different people who just happen to have the same name.

0 comments
  1. Andy said:

    You’ll be telling me next that my old Spanish lit tutor John King, who wrote The Cambridge Companion to Modern Latin American Culture, doesn’t in fact have a lucrative sideline as a writer of football hooligan stories. He always did deny it, but we never believed him.

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