Why We Shouldn’t Suffer Stupid
The other day a very simple Facebook friend of mine said something extremely ignorant and disparaging about the Occupy Wall Street movement. My first impulse was to lambast that ignorance and finish with an ad hominem point that the writer was stupid. I almost did it in this blog. But I hesitated.
And I am deeply, deeply ashamed of that hesitation. And also thrilled by it. Because it gives me an excellent topic to open my blogging tenure here with: When did it become taboo in this country to condescend stupid?The practice of condescending people is still alive and well in this country. Every time a presidential candidate is too well-spoken they’re elite and out of touch with the people. And it is said with a wink that they’re elite. That wink means that they have no balls. They don’t like shooting guns, drinking whiskey and fucking pigs.
But if you hear someone making an ignorant comment, and you are an intelligent person, you are not permitted to point a finger at them and yell, “stupid!” Every time Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann says something stupid and someone else points and yells “stupid” it is sexist. Every time Rick Perry says something that barely qualifies as human speech, almost no one has the balls to shout “stupid!” Instead we have to wait until they say something that doesn’t jell with the views of Evangelical America and attack them for not representing the wants and needs of that section of the public.
Why can’t we just yell stupid? Did it start with Jimmy Carter being smarter than the people he was governing and therefore ‘losing touch’ with his electorate? Did it start when we elected an Alzheimers’ patient who once starred in a movie next to a chimpanzee to replace him? Or did it happen when two planes hit two buildings in my city and the man running the country spent ten minutes holding a children’s book upside down in silence?
It doesn’t matter when it started. But this impulse to not call “stupid” out when you see it is one of the most dangerous impulses a group of human beings can have.
Let me put it this way. If you live in a village full of giant, sleeping, man-eating lizards, and in that village there are ten stupid people who like poking things with sticks…and they decide the lizards look like fun to poke…and they’re sleeping next to the orphanage…isn’t it socially irresponsible not to yell stupid at the top of your lungs when the stick wielders approach the sleeping beasts?
Why is it any different when the stick wielders don’t believe in global warming and refuse to act on it because their buddies make a lot of money on oil and they take the teachings of a dead society over modern science? How about when it comes to building more nuclear power plants? Or engaging in fracking or offshore drilling? Or waging war against a nation that poses us no threat? Or cutting school funding while leaving the military budget intact? Or refusing to tax the richest people in the country while the nation goes deeper and deeper into foreign debt and loses its credit rating? Why won’t someone just yell “stupid?”
Well, some people have started to yell “stupid” in Zuccotti Park. And the stupid people are lining up to yell more stupid things at them. And I am at home witnessing their barbs and refusing to yell “stupid” right back at them.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should all join the people in Liberty Plaza in the community-strengthening exercise of calling out stupidity when we see it. It might prevent our society from collapsing. Shit, it might prevent us from destroying our planet to the point where our species can’t survive. So please, do me a favor. Start condescending stupidity in your day-to-day life. If they can dish out condescending barbs, they should learn to take them. And if there is one thing in the world that is truly worth condescending, it is stupidity.