George Haskel, a retired professor of German literature, decides to found an institute to promote dullness, as a counterpoint to the hustling celebrity culture of contemporary America. The venture soon attracts a number of brilliant misfits, who transform the project into a political movement, the Authentic Party, that ultimately swells to 8 million members. Events begin to overtake George and his merry band, as luminaries such as Bill Maher, Woody Allen, and Jerry Brown get on board. The final showdown with the White House threatens a coup d’état: Will America undertake a radical shift in the direction of authenticity, or will it remain committed to business as usual?
Writes James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and The World Made by Hand, “Morris Berman has a marvelous comic sense of America’s intersecting neuroses and the scary place that they are taking us. He’s a Voltaire for our shaky time and this is his Candide.”
And writer and cultural analyst Curtis White (author of We, Robots, The Science Delusion, The Middle Mind, and Memories of My Father Watching Television) adds, “As much a work of philosophy as a novel, Morris Berman’s The Man Without Qualities offers a new political orientation—None of the above. In the aftermath of politics as usual, partisans of Berman’s Dullness Institute can at last give a hearty Neitzschean laugh and say, “Workers of the World—Relax!”