Columns » Bob Lancaster

Stupid talk

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Two geezers discuss the stupidity fad; assess its prospects (modified slightly to make them sound less hickey) —

Are the American people stupider than they used to be?

Yep. And getting stupider by the day. By choice.

What do you think accounts for that?

I don't know. Social networking probably. You don't have to be ashamed of it anymore, knowing it's the norm.

What kind of stupidity are we talking here?

The regular kind. It's not ignorance, now. This is a stupidity that has to be consented to.  You have to want it. Lust after it. Might near pledge allegiance to it.

When you talk about the Stupid Elite, who do you mean, exactly?

You know who they are. They don't exactly hide their stupidity, or hide behind it. They exude it, delight in the wonder of it. They wear a little cloud of it around, like Pigpen and his dirt.

OK, let me put it another way. Who in your opinion are the stupidest five people in America today?

I listened to four of them over coffee at Hardee's the other morning. They've got it all figured out.

Is the fifth one a PWed regular op-ed contributor to the local daily?

I'll quote one of Faulkner's characters: "Mought be. Mought not."

Are talk-radio blowhards or televangelists in the Stupid Elite?

No, those people only use stupid to build an audience. To raise a vicarious mob. You don't have to be stupid yourself to organize stupidity, or to exploit it, but it helps to be a son-of-a-bitch.

Is this stupidity more attracted to one political party than the other?

Duh.

And is the attraction mutual?

Sometimes I wonder which is worse, the numskull or the weenie. I guess the numskulls are more dangerous. Weenies are merely exasperating.

Did George W. Bush embody this type of stupidity?

No, he's on a different, higher, purer plane of stupid from the knotheads snatching at the reins today. His stupid is sort of the dark side of the moon of Chauncey Gardener's.

Can stupidity be a principle? Or can pursuit of stupidity be done out of principle?

Commies used to idealize it like that at the same time they were demonizing good sense. Some of the high-profile stupids of today blather about being Fool for Christ types, which twists an intriguing semi-related passage in First Corinthians into something vile and trashy and self-serving.

Hard to believe these birds are really poised to take over?

They'll sleaze in by inhabiting Republican zombies. Then the plutocrats will ride them to another bust, which we might even survive, in a diminished capacity, with 20 per cent of the Bill of Rights, No. 2 and No. 10, still intact. It's not something we don't deserve.

Is this the same old vast right-wing conspiracy vampiring back?

No. People this stupid can't conspire. Something as simple as Adam's navel can distract them. But if there are enough of them, they don't need to conspire. And they're getting there. This might just be a cyclical stupidity surge, like 1994, but it has a more apocalyptic reek.

Why are they so angry?

They're not angry. That's just a put-on.  The media always want a narrative and the angry populist figment has served them well. One reason their takeover has been slow-developing, in fact, is that they're too fat and prosperous to be genuinely disgruntled. Sluggards can't do rebellion. Too easily winded.

No real anger, eh?

The stupid get resentful when those they consider their inferiors get a leg up, and seem to be benefitting in some vague unfair way, moving up to the dee-luxe apartment while the resenters languish in the trailer park. But resentfulness is not anger. It doesn't combust.

Are there historical analogies?

Lord spare us any more of those rascals. Especially the blackboard kind. History doesn't repeat but sometimes it parodies itself. The early Reds furnish a better cautionary tale than the Krauts — insofar as turning your government and your society over to your worst brutes. Took them 70 years to take some of it back. Might take us longer.

Which side will be the best armed?

Oh, please.

How much does race have to do with all this?

About 95 per cent. Or anyhow in 95 per cent of it race lurks somewhere in the woodpile.

Stupid is as stupid does, Forrest Gump's momma said. You don't seem to agree.

Because stupid doesn't do. Or it rarely does.  It's mostly satisfied to tapdance, and admire its own cleverness. No real agenda, ambition, or stamina. I just hope its attention span this time is as short as everybody else's here in Century 21. If it is, it might not be much of a problem. Or by the time it gets to be one, we'll have to look up the archives to remember what it is.

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