The Unbiased Eye

A scientist's commentary on events and culture

Long Live Stupid; Stupid Is Dead

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It is with great relief that I tell you the age of stupidity is over.

We all know that by the time all the newspapers agree on the ascendancy of some cultural trend, the rest of us can relax and know that this trend is thoroughly passé.

This alignment of the heavens occurred a week ago when opposing columnists, liberal Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and conservative Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post, both declared the ascendancy of stupidity in politics (as if we needed to be told that).

Oh, to be sure, Dowd was depressed about all the stupidity. The citizens, she said, deserve better. Parker was provocative. Stupidity, she said, is smart, because the voters like it. OK, I simplify a bit, but read the stuff yourselves if you like.

We have suffered through much stupidity for a decade now, and it seemed to be an endless decline.

In a way, I would date the cultural nadir, that is the apex of stupidity, was the ad campaign from the fashion-jeans company called Diesel. It just so happens that I walk past a Diesel shop in my neighborhood a couple times a week. A year ago, soft-core-porn ads started to appear in the store windows. Emaciated young women in torn clothing and black eyes stared at us belligerently. They glared and shouted, “Be stupid.”

I looked it up. It was a winner for the creative tycoons at the advertising agency called Anomaly — a rather high tone name for the lowest common denominator.

I can’t improve on the pitch for the stupid philosophy:

Smart may have the authority but stupid has one hell of a hangover. It’s not smart to take risks … It’s stupid.
To be stupid is to be brave. The stupid isn’t afraid to fail. The stupid know there are worse things than failure … like not even trying.

Smart had one good idea, and that idea was stupid. You can’t outsmart stupid. So don’t even try. Remember only stupid can be truly brilliant.

Maybe these idiots never had a hangover; never woke up with a black eye from a blackout with no clue about what day it was, where they were or what they had done. But nevermind …

But that’s their philosophy. The pictures show pretty high-school-aged kids doing dumb things ranging from moderately raunchy to seriously self-destructive.

It’s over. Just in case Dowd and Parker and Diesel weren’t enough, we have more evidence.

The real clincher came on Thursday night. We checked out one of the new prime time comedies on television, Whitney, which as the promos suggest, extols stupidity. But they do it emphatically. It was amazing to sit in silence for 10 minutes watching the actors (the ditzy girl in Victoria’s Secret outfits, and the gloomy, serious guy with a beard) mouthing the dumbest lines. After each one, a pause. The actor giggled a bit, and then the laugh track kicked in. They said it was a live audience. I doubt they were lying, but I bet they added the laughter in later.

I don’t know what goes inside the mind of the TV executive. But I do know that for two years, NBC has had one bust after another. Obviously they had no idea why their Thursday night hits of the recent past were winners. They started to think they were pretty smart, but they’re looking kind of stupid, and, sorry, Diesel, I don’t think they’re crowing about it.

For an antidote, we tried switching over to the Republican presidential debate, in which a long row of intellectual dwarfs were standing on a glitzy stage. After a few scenes of Whitney Romney’s preternatural glare at Perry was hilarious. But, alas, their polite recriminations were tiresome. We quit. Dowd’s right. We deserve better.

Now, today, Sunday, we have an epilogue: I saw in the news that Herman Cain defeated Rick Perry in the Florida Republican straw poll. That’s got to be progress.


Written by theunbiasedeye

September 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Culture, Politics, Trends

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