An Almost-Every-Day Column by Kenneth Volgarus
Here's my question. As Trump wants his signature to appear on the subsidizing checks from the federal govt, will people be stupid enough to simply accept this transparent (and unprecedented) effort at vote buying through deception? The check would not normally be from the President, foks...It's deception because the money is not from him and it was not his idea... Even if it were "from Trump"--is it legal to try to influence the election that way? And are Americans stupid enough, intellectually and morally, to let themselves be influenced, when the election comes, because his signature was on the relief checks? Trump's plan to have his name on each check was reported at the Wall Street Journal: Trump buying votes: He has told people he wants his signature to appear on the direct payment checks...
Every so often someone says something NOT stupid, even if it was some hundreds of years BC. (Or, BCE if you prefer). It applies to so much now--eg, the internet's capacity for boosting stupidity. "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it." -- Gautama Buddha. Smart guy, the Buddha. He was endorsing critical thinking, more than two thousand years ago. It's not his fault that people formed a religion around him, and made up myths about him, even though he didn't actually make any supernatural claims at all.
Stupid America? Stupid humanity. Stupid world. PARIS (AP) — "Young German adults hold “corona parties” and cough toward older people. A Spanish man leashes a goat to go for a walk to skirt confinement orders. From France to Florida to Australia, kitesurfers, college students and others crowd the beaches." ...Viral payback is a bitch, young "rebels" as you will find out.
Kansas official: Pandemic isn’t a problem here because there are few Chinese people... “Well, they say it came out of China,” he answered, “and I’m not putting it past the Chinese government in communist China.” Meaning, to export a virus on purpose? “Normally, this kind of thing spreads slowly,” he answered, so “I put two and two together. I’ve been around a long time, girl.” ...You know what's also viral? Idiocy. It can spread, through shared ignorance. This idiot is infectious.
Another insightful observation from President Trump. “People are dying who have never died before”, Trump said today. So he's surprised? Is he a believer in reincarnation or what?
An Oregon police department is asking residents to stop calling 911 because they've run out of toilet paper... 'The Newport, Oregon Police Department put out a notice on Facebook urging residents to stop making emergency calls due to a toilet paper shortage. "It's hard to believe that we even have to post this," the police wrote. "Do not call 9-1-1 just because you ran out of toilet paper. You will survive without our assistance."' - But hey, that's what the cops are for, right? Emergencies. Urgent...emergencies. People do call 911 for stupid reasons. A lady called 911 because she couldn't remember her passcode. A guy called 911 to insist that crystal meth was legal because he made it with products he'd bought from the store. A guy called to say a bear was in his yard. It was an opossum. A caller dialed 911 at 4:00 on a Saturday morning and asked: ‘Where is the best place to get a bacon sandwich right now?' - All true stories...
Another stupid response to the coronavirus only ends up spreading it: A church in South Korea sprayed salt water inside the mouths of followers out of a false belief it would help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but by using the same spray bottle without disinfecting the nozzle, it resulted in 46 church-goers infected, authorities said on Monday.
Whole Foods CEO suggests employees who are not sick "donate" their vacation time to employees who are sick...Not only morally stupid but it idiotically assumes that the employees who are now well won't get sick. "As a subsidiary of Amazon, the world’s biggest company, Whole Foods could easily afford to pay its hourly employees for sick days taken during the coronavirus outbreak without breaking the bank. Instead, the company has put the onus back on workers... “Considering [Whole Foods] is a billion dollar company, I think it is selfish asking the retail workers to figure it out within themselves,” a Whole Foods cashier wrote to Motherboard in an email."
Silly censorship of vanity plates: in Rhode Island you can be “fatty” but not “chubby;” “tipsy” but not “drunk;” advertise “heaven” but not “hell;” say “dogdoo” but not “doobie;” be an “oldfrt” but not a “jockey;” and proudly trumpet “friar” but not “hoosier.”
A LAYER CAKE OF IDIOCY. How cranks adore Trump..."Wealthy Scientologist John Mappin lives in a castle... and spends his time online boosting byzantine conspiracy theories, including QAnon. He’s a British right-wing political aficionado with ties to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and one of the GOP’s most powerful youth organizations...A giant “Q” flag waves above Mappin’s King Arthur-themed castle..."
That "medical expert" Rush Limbaugh suggests you ignore coronavirus. Judd at Popularinfo reports: "Rush Limbaugh, who was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Trump, has been dismissing the danger of coronavirus, falsely claiming it is just like a 'common cold.' But now Limbaugh is suggesting that his millions of listeners ignore the warnings of a top CDC official, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, because she is part of a deep state plot to take down Trump." ...Messonnier is a MD who's been a public servant for 25 years. But hey, Rush Limbaugh's medical expertise trumps that, right? Classic talk radio imbecility.
"Ex-Missouri officer pleads guilty in fatal Russian roulette shooting" - what were we saying here recently about the prevalence of cops using incredibly bad judgment? "A former Missouri police officer has pleaded guilty to killing a fellow officer last year in a Russian roulette-style shooting. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of off duty-officer Katlyn Alix...Prosecutors said Alix was killed while the two were playing Russian roulette." Officer Hendren initiated the charming pastime. Apparently he had some kind of special relationship with the lady and a lawsuit Alix's family filed stated this idiot also pressed other girlfriends to play Russian roulette! So, repeated acts of imbecility lunacy. I know--let's hire this guy and give him a gun and a badge! There's often a fine line between being simply stupid and crazier than a soup sandwich.
Yes we point up Stupidity in Other Countries too. There's plenty of stupidity to go around, after all. This one pretty much speaks for itself. As Carnival celebrations occupied streets around the world this week, a Spanish parade troupe featured Nazis dancing with guns, scantily clad concentration-camp inmates waving Israel’s flag and a float with two crematorium chimneys. Astoundingly, the parade float planners claimed that it was "a message of consideration and respect." It's flabbergasting to consider how many people had to be involved in this, in an approving way, for it to move forward...
An Apple engineer, who was killed two years ago in a fiery Tesla crash on a Silicon Valley freeway, was playing a video game on his smartphone at the time of the accident... But....Apple Engineers are sooooo smart, aren't they? Except that screen addiction makes everyone stupider. Look, people, Teslas are NOT self driving. Musk's electric car had a feature that helped you drive some but you can't play your damn phone game while driving, even with that feature, you damned fool! But he did.
BARBARISM in the USA. In a time when we have an extinction crisis, along with a horrific diminishing of wildlife in America, 45 states in America allow a WILDLIFE KILLING CONTEST. "Dead foxes were piled high in the pickup truck after the hunting contest in Frederick County in January. Men lifted the bloodied animals out of the truck by their legs, dropping them on the ground to be counted. The winner of the contest killed 38 foxes and won about $400", reports the Washington Post. It's always morally stupid and barbarically churlish to kill an animal for sport...or for a contest. But how STUPID IS IT to allow this mindless brutality at a time of EXTINCTION CRISIS? Astoundingly stupid.
Zuckerberg has staff blow-dry his armpits before speeches, BoingBoing tells us. That's what you were hoping to do when you got that job at Facebook, right?
Also from BoingBoing: Trail of empty pill bottles led cops to Florida robbery suspects In Florida, sheriff's officials say a trail of pill bottles stolen from a Florida pharmacy led detectives to a home where they encountered two men who matched descriptions of robbers seen on surveillance video. Oh Florida Man. Don't ever change.
Oh Good, here's an app that gets you stuck alone on a mountain side miles from civilization. So apparently there is this phone app, see link below, that controls your rental car. You start the car with your phone. But if your car is not in an area with cell service (or presumably if your phone has lost power) you cannot start the car and--you're stuck. 1. Why would you need such an app? 2. How would no one developing the app anticipate this problem with it? 3. They probably did but they were morally stupid enough to gloss over it. And here we go: "today...our app powered car rental lost cell service on the side of a mountain in rural California and now I live here I guess " There's a lot of good technology around. The website program that helps us bring you Stupid America is a good one. But there is ever more STUPID TECHNOLOGY. People rush it into release because...greed. Greed is one of those states of mind that makes people stupider.
And speaking of stupid technology, check out our piece on the new apps for VOTING BY CELL PHONE. What could go wrong?
How did having FACIAL TATTOOS go from being a mark of an unemployable person with really poor judgment, self-loathing, poor taste, and no foresight--to being a celebrity fad? . . .For we are informed by CNN that "At least 6 celebrities are showing off new face tattoos. They include a sneaker and bloody buzz saw" Some of them are putting reverential symbols about the tragic death of Kobe Bryant on their faces--but I don't believe it's out of genuine emotion. Facial tattoos are distracting, and to some extent they interfere with our ability to read a person's facial expression. It's an ink mask. And celebrities, you embodiments of vanity, the face tat will blur, and lose much of its form, too, in a few years. It'll get uglier and uglier! Right now it's trendy and so is the imagery--but it will soon be dated! Your face tattoos will be outdated references. I'm amazed these outcomes haven't occurred to you...Celebrities--you will regret this. It's as if you're carrying a sign around with you that says, "I am a person with poor judgment. I'm not terribly bright." . . . When I see people on the street with face tattoos, I feel pity. Arm tattoos are one thing, but face tattoos are going to limit your options in life. They will grievously limit dating options; they will certainly limit employment options. They seem to suggest, to me, that the person is acknowledging that they're a hopeless case. It's as if they're saying "I'm a loser and I'm owning it." For them, facial tattoos are a (perhaps unconscious) act of despair. But for celebrities, it's sheer imbecility.
A school called police after a kindergartner with Down syndrome pointed a finger "gun" at her teacher. . . .Yes you read that right. Oh, let us unpack the levels of stupid here. The teacher has the judgment of a drunken chipmunk to imagine that any tiny kindergartner is a threat. What'd she think this itsy-bitsy child was going to do--go home and get her Dad's AR15? Then we have the astoundingly bad judgment that the school administrators used in choosing to call in the police. Why didn't they send the teacher home to--perhaps--sober up? But no! Call the cops! . . .Why--I say why would you call the police when a tiny little girl with Down's Syndrome -- we're talking Down's Syndrome, people! -- points her finger at her so-called teacher "like a gun"? THEN--another level to unpack--the POLICE ACTUALLY CAME and conducted a threat assessment! How about, "A little girl pointing her finger? No, ma'am, we cannot send officers out for that."? Is there so little for police officers to do in Tredyffrin, Pennsylvania that they're going to send a team to the school because a pouty 6 year old girl with Down's Syndrome has pointed her finger at a teacher? Do they fire you, in that town, if you show good judgment? Is there lead contamination in the Tredyffrin water supply?
Troubled by imbeciles who deny climate change and our responsibility for it? Try this page, for ammunition: Debunking Climate Denial Myths ...Here's a sample of climate denier mythology: "Climate's changed before - Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods...hence it's all nothing to worry about." . . .Response: Greenhouse gasses – mainly CO2, but also methane – were involved in most of the climate changes in Earth’s past. When they were reduced, the global climate became colder. When they were increased, the global climate became warmer. When CO2 levels jumped rapidly, the global warming that resulted was highly disruptive and sometimes caused mass extinctions. Humans today are emitting prodigious quantities of CO2, at a rate faster than even the most destructive climate changes in earth's past."
Many people with lethal weapons apparently just ache to kill something with them. Cops, notoriously, fire their weapons at suspects (or just Black Americans) when they don't have to. Then there's this chucklehead, having a legit reason to intervene but doing it idiotically: Good Samaritan trying to save neighbor from dog attack accidentally shoots and kills him with crossbow ....Now's my chance to be a hero and KILL SOMETHING, he thinks. What could go wrong?
Internet journalism, even from reputable news sources, is often sloppy. There's a constant pressure on web journalists for faster output. This is, probably, a result of pandering to web readers--editors know that the internet undercuts the attention span; its constant "Squirrel!" distractiveness induces impatience, haste, sloppiness. So internet reportage, even from professionals, is more likely to be muddled, badly written, spotty. In short--stupid. Scan a news site--even distractedly and hastily--and you can get a sense of the problem from the headlines alone. Headline writing doesn't have to be in perfect sentences but it does have to be logical and clear. Here's one from today's online Washington Post: "In State of the Union address, Trump persists in using claims that have been fact-checked repeatedly". This accidentally suggests that the writers are jeering at his using fact-checking. When, of course, he actually fact checks nothing. Which he's admitted. What the headline is saying is not what is meant, at all. Quite the opposite. But few bother to re-read the headlines they're writing, even once, it appears--this kind of muddle is normal. The article itself rightly points out that Trump's State of the Union address bombarded us with falsehoods. So how about staying that in the headline? Or maybe just Trump Ignores Fact-Checking, Persists in Using False Claims ...
Honestly, I do assure you, lots of cops are NOT stupid. Really. Like--police detectives. They're mostly on the smart side. Many other kinds of cops are also...not stupid. But cops doing incredibly stupid things comes up a lot, doesn't it? Especially cops with extremely poor judgment. Here's a fresh new example. Fresno Police handcuffed, arrested 16-year-old boy with autism after he had seizure, mom says. There's video. "He has autism, he has epilepsy, stop it!" the boy's mom can be heard screaming. "He saw that my son was throwing up and instead of helping him so that he wouldn't choke on his vomit, they had him on the ground in handcuffs," she says. They even tried to put him in the back of the patrol car, after all this... Maybe the cops thought he was crazy high or something. But oh wait, his mom was there telling them different and he behaved like a person in desperate physical distress. So of course, handcuff him and try to arrest him. The kid was lucky--some cops are known to SHOOT autistic children. Happened in Louisiana not long ago. And if you google "cops shoot autistic"--the results are upsetting. Well--if the person behaves strangely, what is one to do?...Okay, some cops really, really ARE stupid. . .And you know what else is stupid? If you follow the link above you see the headline about this dire, dismaying happening and under it before the report there's a fun, amusing video based on the Ferris Bueller movie. You see that, with that headline over it. So, serious news headline over stupid ad--equals stupidly insensitive news site design.
The Coronavirus has started killing people in the USA now. A pandemic looms. The Chinese govt is already feverishly, so to speak, working on a vaccine. We'll have one in the USA as quick as one can be worked up. But...anti-vaxxers will refuse to get themselves or their families vaccinated. Which will mean that because of a basic failure to understand the science of vaccinations--that is, because of STUPIDITY--the pandemic is more likely to spread here. Thanks for helping, Anti-vaxxers. You fucking idiots.
Anthony Scaramucci now hosts a party at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps where world leaders are supposed to be talking about sustainability. As the WaPo puts it, "At his yearly 'wine forum,' there is jollity, not panic, and 100-point Spanish Riojas, not trillions of flecks of ocean-bound plastic." But dig this wisdom from the Mooch, spouted as he parties at the WEF: “I would say that in the last 50 years, collectively, we’re having a frat party with the environment...now my grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to be living in the frat house on Sunday morning after we destroyed the place on Saturday night. And so the problem is: When you are an impermanent person on Earth and you’re enjoying the frat party, it’s very hard for you to stop the frat party." Because...you know...you're enjoying it, so...Ethical idiocy and profound cluelessness at its fruitiest...
Our nation is farting in The Great Biospheric Elevator, thanks to its newly idiotic environmental policies. Recently a study, widely reported in the better news venues, demonstrated that a highly dangerous industrial/manufacturing chemical found in furniture sprays, teflon, waterproofing , packaging, and almost universally, now, in everyone's bloodstream, has been found at dangerous levels in every major water source in the USA. And SIMULTANEOUSLY: an article in the same newspaper, on the same page, told us that the Trump administration was weakening regulations on water cleanliness. That's how stupid we all are right now. We let that happen.
Here's a CNN headline. Channing Tatum May No Longer Be Single. And that's what the story's about. And here's my question: WHO THE FUCK CARES if Channing Tatum isn't single anymore? Or any actor. I like Brad Pitt, as an actor. I like Meryl Streep. I DO NOT CARE if they are suddenly "not single anymore". Why oh why do people care about celebrity marriages? How is being interested in celebrity marriages not a sort of dog going "Squirrel!" in our heads? Caring about celebrity marriages is at best just another empty headed vacuous mouth-gaping kneejerk reaction. At worst it's a pathetic, neurotic, utterly misdirected blindly imagined connection to a famous person blindly used as a proxy in a futile attempt to alleviate the emptiness of a life stupidly lived.
Utah mother who was topless in front of stepchildren at home may have to register as a sex offender said the headline in November--and the Washington Post reports today that despite informed legal help from the ACLU, the judge in Utah ruled against her. It was a hot day and the kids walked in on her and somehow it got out and bang goes the gavel, send her to jail...It's Utah, what's the chances the judge isn't a Mormon? What are the chances a Mormon would be tolerant of this slight variant from the norm; of a woman choosing to engage in minor nudity, at home, only in front of family and only because it was a hot day. Next to nil...The kids were a little embarrassed, but 90% of what a parent does embarrasses a kid...She's being called a sex offender when she was just trying to cool off on a brutally hot day. Blind, fixed intolerance of this unimportant form of female nudity is glaringly stupid...
"Black Man Given 12 Years in Prison for Using His Cell Phone While in Jail on a Misdemeanor Charge; Mississippi Supreme Court Upholds Sentence" - It's Mississippi, folks. Of course there are many details of this story that suggest, besides the obvious (it takes place in Mississippi, a state famous for racial prejudice) that this is a genuine case of judicial racism. But, since it's Mississippi, do we even need to go into the supporting facts? What is more to the point: Mississippi is listed as one of the worst in the nation for education. And studies have found links between poor education, low intelligence, illiteracy--and racism. Mississippi scores in the bottom three, nationally, of IQ test results...What we're saying here, folks, is that racism is a form of stupidity, and racist rulings are more likely in states where greater numbers people come out poorly on IQ tests; where education is underfunded and ineffective, and where a significant number of people are illiterate--and that's deep-south states known for their racism, like Alabama, Florida...and Mississippi.
BTW, Mississippi not so long ago passed a statewide law stating that you cannot restrict the size of Big Gulps. I just threw that in for your edification. If you're ever there, don't get between a Mississippian and their Big Gulps. Just coincidentally it is a state where one in three persons is obese.
A rather good Washington Post piece exposes the sheer greed, under cover of a blurry yet pernicious Natural-Lifestyle Righteousness, that is the real shaping force of Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP catalog: "The engine of Goop’s brand is the premise that natural purity is expensive. Poor people can’t afford to be this good," the article observes...I'd add that people who squander large amounts of money on pseudo-healthy potions, silly gewgaws, hyper expensive perfumes, and other Goop glories are not likely to be terribly bright. . . The article's writer, Alan Levinowitz, rightly informs us tells us, "By any reasonable measure, the lavish lifestyle of those who partake in the Goop 'luxury wellness' cruise is far worse for Mother Nature than that of their poorer counterparts, even if the latter can’t afford 'clean beauty.'”
America, where bacteria feeds on stupidity. (Okay, probably the same in most countries.) Turns out that salmonella bacteria, some strains of E.coli and other dangerous bugs are actually permitted by the FDA on meat. The meat industry can use procedures that will pretty much eliminate the presence of these vicious bacteria. But they don't. But hey, better methods of meat rendering would cost a little more, slightly reducing their profits. Seems we have been stupidly accepting this state of affairs, and we shake our heads over yearly food-poisoning warnings and recalls as if they had no cause. We stupidly ignore the coziness between govt bureaus and the big meat producers. And of course this kind of thing is only going to be worse under the "all deregulation is good" Trump approach. . .Don't assume your water is safe either because the Trump administration is moving to allow toxic coal-waste dumping straight into the water. No, really. And many Americans will stupidly accept that too.
On monday, a TSA agent said she needed to pat a down the braids of a prominent Native American attorney. "The agent then proceeded to pull them behind Houska’s shoulders, laugh and say “giddy up!” as she snapped her braids like reins," Huffington Post reports. The TSA has had to apologize but this is part of a long history of bad judgment on the part of TSA agents. Also--it was a really, really stupid thing to do.
"Two Republican state senators in Oklahoma want to make room on the roadways for President Trump’s brand," Washington Post reports. " — in a move that might be in violation of federal campaign finance rules...State Sens. Nathan Dahm and Marty Quinn proposed new specialty license plates this week that would read “Make America Great Again” and “Keep America Great." It's one of those mystery stupidities. How could these state politicos suppose they could get away with this? Are they mainlining corn liquor in Kentucky now? Do they pour it on their breakfast cereal? Sober up and take another look, Kentucky.
Speaking of the MAGA maker: TRUMP ADMIN PROPOSES CHANGING SCHOOL MENUS TO ALLOW MORE FRIES AND FEWER VEGETABLES reports the Washington Post. Brilliant political move! "Let's see, what can we do to help us in the election? I know, people will love it if we make the food in school menus less nutritious!" Right. Just like they loved your moving to take away free school lunches from nearly a million impoverished kids. That went over big. People love it when you take food from hungry, broke children. You know, I'm trying to avoid getting much into politics, here, but as the site is about stupidity in America, Trump is making it hard for me to do that.
Birthday Cake colors got a girl kicked out of school in Kentucky (suh-prise, suh-prise, Andy) because the private Christian school imagined the cake represented a "homosexual lifestyle". A birthday photo including the girl and the cake appeared in social media and out she went. The insidious stupidity of Christian fundamentalism, with its insistence that the universe was created 6000 years ago, its vampiric televangelists, its socially destructive belief in imminent apocalypse, its anti-intellectualism, its efforts to suppress books and to truncate the arts, its blind prejudices against "liberals", gays and trans folk, is felt within the body of the USA as a kind of recurrent infection. There are burning sensations and fitful fevers. It's something like a persistently recurring urinary tract infection, or possibly a stubborn cancer always on the point of metastasizing. . .The frightening birthday cake in question had rainbow colors that reminded the school's administration of the LGBT movement's rainbow flag. The young lady's mother, noting the school's claim to mold children to be "Christ-like", wondered, “Who determines what’s Christ-like?” Are idiotic kneejerk responses "Christ-like"? It seems unlikely.
CNN's practice of running pieces that are flagrant paid promotion and not marking them as Paid Content, continues with a video promoting the show The Bachelor: "The latest episode of The Bachelor revealed what happened after Peter Weber's ex-girlfriend and previous contestant Hannah Brown showed up at the mansion to have a heart-to-heart conversation." In the video a young woman in a backless dress acts remarkably like a stripper offering up a lap dance. Stay classy, America...CNN once more blithely assumes that we're stupid enough to accept this kind of thing as a natural part of journalism, rather than dismissing it as paid advertising. Sadly, a great many viewers are indeed too obtuse to recognize this as an ad--while many others are too dimwitted to understand the importance of the distinction. But there's another layer of stupidity to uncover, here: The simple fact that this show continues to exist at all. You simply have to be stupid to like this thing...And by the way, here we are in the MeToo era, yet no one denounces this shamefully popular show that debases women: making them squirm and undulate and engage in idiotic coquetry for the cameras. They humiliate themselves in front of millions of viewers for money, attention and...the Bachelor. Wait--there's more stupidity yet! Fans of the show seem unaware that its "real life drama" moments are planned and, in a general way, scripted by producers. The show's ham-handed scripting is in itself stupid. And the moral stupidity of the show's creators and producers is still another nesting doll of American imbecility...
Here it is again! MYSTERY STUPIDITY! Two teenage girls just got a toddler to use a vaper...and posted a video of it on social media! Teenagers, yes, not a stage of maturation known for its intelligent choices--but if you pressed them I think it likely they'd admit they were on some level aware that what they were doing could get them in trouble with family and police, should anyone find out. Only...impulse! Social Media! Likes! Only...none of the Authority People will notice what they put on social media! Or so they supposed. That's extra-big stupidity. Of course someone's going to be outraged--rightfully so--at this weird new twist on child abuse. Teenagers, it must be observed, are often stupider when they come in twos. Which is a mystery in itself.
And vapers, anyway--another Big American Stupidity right there. Amazing that people just trusted these utterly unproven vape companies to provide them with safe inhalants. "Oh the stuff that carries the nicotine, it's just water vapor." No it sure as hell isn't just water vapor. Hundreds of young people have gotten seriously ill, even permanently injured, from the mindless addition of various additives to vapes...And why didn't anyone anticipate that? I mean...the smart people did, of course...and we often underestimate the full range of stupidity out there.
WHO THE HELL CARES Department. "Why is this even newsworthy?" is a question we often ask at Stupid A, lately regarding the Prince Harry and Meghan "controversy". Who CARES that Prince Harry and Meghan wanted to change their lifestyle and spend part of their year in the USA and do a little less ribbon cutting? Why do so many people in the USA care so much about the royals at all? Ah, the answer to that last one is fairly clear: those people are celebrity hounds and celebrity hounds are very, very stupid people. In addition, it seems likely they don't have enough to keep them constructively busy...The jumped-up controversy has been dominating the news for days and as some wiser commentators are starting to notice, it seems to stem--especially in the UK--from racism and sexism. As Peggy Drexler observes for CNN: "Isn't this what Britons wanted? From the moment Meghan and Prince Harry announced their engagement, the media has blasted and belittled her, hardly ever forgetting to identify her as a divorced American actress with a black mother." But Peggy, as Vincent Van Dinsky, my partner in cognitive crime here at Stupid A, likes to say, "We fought a war so we wouldn't have to pay attention to that crap."
There is such a thing as mystery stupidity. There's a bubbling syndrome of people announcing their crimes on social media, apparently sure they will be safe because, well, it's online, it's not in person. A guy robbed a bank not long ago, got away with thousands of dollars, then went on social media and gloatingly posted pictures of himself with the cash, and of course he was arrested. This guy likely would not be stupid enough to walk around the street telling random people, "Look I robbed a bank! Looka the money!" But he did just that via social media. How does this happen? A couple in Visalia California was just arrested for beating bicycle thieves with baseball bats--and posting videos of it. They'd lured the thieves on purpose by leaving bicycles unlocked in the yard--they monitored their security cameras, running outside to catch them in the act, then set to a whuppin with the bats. We sympathize with their desire to knock some sense into thieves, but it's clearly illegal to beat people in your yard with baseball bats, and why would you think you could post that with impunity? Other people post incredibly embarrassing stuff online they would normally never show anyone in person...All of this is mystery stupidity. Stupidity is common, lord knows, but in some cases the mystery is, how could they be that stupid? The answer probably relates to the special state of mind people enter when they immerse themselves in the internet; it's about their attitude toward the web, and social media; their distorted notions of the media; their specific state of mind when they're on social media. People blindly imagine the internet to be its own world, rather than the public space it is.
After all, much that is deplorable is gotten away with on the internet--monstrous social media bullying, trolls viciously targeting people. But those online bullies and trolls escape a come-uppance only because they're anonymous. Apparently those prone to mystery stupidity online are so lonely, so lost, that they impulsively risk all for any kind of notoriety...Social media is impulse-driven. There are doubtless exceptions but in most cases, anything done impulsively is a big fat mistake. The mystery is--why isn't this obvious to people?
Here's a link to other examples, from 2013--you'd think people would hear about these arrests and learn, but nope, they will post their crimes for all to see.
"A new edition of the Subaru Forester on display at the 2020 Singapore Motorshow came with a rather eye-catching name: The Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special edition. Or as people online were quick to note, the Subaru FUCKS edition." Think about acronyms, people, before you roll out the official terms. Thanks to Huffpost for that.
'"Police in a Detroit suburb have identified two teenage boys responsible for changing a digital billboard along an interstate highway to display pornography...the two boys, ages 16 and 18, negotiated a 6-foot fence around a small shack underneath the billboard... Inside the shack was a laptop computer that operated the digital billboard. One of the boys was able access the laptop and changed the billboard so that it was displaying pornography...Drivers had a tough time staying focused on the road. "I kind of almost got in an accident"...' There are many layers of stupidity to unpack here starting with the billboard owner's stupidity: controlling content for one of these digital billboards with a laptop which is right there AT THE SIGN just waiting to be broken into is grievously foolish. Besides dumbass teens (almost a redundant phrase--I was far stupider as a teen; it's natural to teens), risking jailtime and causing traffic hazards with PORN, their anyone-could-do-it methods could be used by domestic terrorists to spread dangerous disinformation, threats of violence, even foment mass panic. . .Thing is, digital billboards--I first saw them driving into San Francisco six years ago--have always been dazzling placards of stupidity. They distract drivers, slowing traffic and increasing risks; they are invariably ugly, just as rotating advertisements: the American driving experience, especially for commuters involves making driving day after day past strip malls, repellent fast-food franchises, wallpaper-pattern commerce and all of it in bad taste. Imposing these moving Bladerunner-esque digital commercials on billboards on us, at all, adds to the general aesthetic misery. . .And by the way, Youth of America, if you're going to break into a digital billboard's feed, why go with something as lumpen dumb as pornography? Why not make a political or social statement, or put up your own rap lyrics, or even the work of your favorite artist? Or a least a really good joke of some kind...It's deeply stupid to opt for porn, in a case like this. Big opportunity FAIL. And also by the way, you were caught, so your oh-so-funny prank has informed your parents that you're into online porn.
Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP now offers a Candle entitled "This Smells Like My Vagina". Apparently at first the candle's scent did indeed smell vaginal to her and anyway it's part of her long-standing vagina campaign. She's probably being cutely impish, and vaguely (vag-ly?) feminist, which is fine. Maybe it'll work to steer people to her catalog. But does the name of the candle sound annoying and stupid, to many of us? It does...
’Jemima Packington, from Bath, UK, is an ‘asparamancer'--she allegedly tells the future using asparagus. She says she tried other vegetables, like broccoli, but asparagus apparently works best. If this news story isn't a hoax, then it's...not terribly surprising. One of the world's most persistent stupidities is the whole notion of fortune telling, often carried out through absurd means. "Haruspicy" goes back a long time--that's digging about in animal entrails to supposedly augur the future. And fortune-telling is not harmless. A palm reader was recently prosecuted for scamming a gullible woman out of 71,000 dollars; she claimed to see horrid dangers coming and charged the lady over and over to provide magical prevention. That kind of fraud is not uncommon. Stupidity--often a result of the mental laziness underlying a lack of critical thinking--is amusing, but it's also a vulnerability. It leaves us open to exploitation by vast numbers of human parasites.
Here's a challenge: What is THE STUPIDEST SHOW ON TELEVISION NOW? I know, it's hard to choose. Megachurch televangelism comes to mind. There are of course WWE-style wrestling shows (to be fair, there are some smart people who watch those kinda wrestling shows, knowing the shows are stupid and just having fun with it, like the quite-intelligent John Oliver). Almost too easy, those. How about series? LOVE ISLAND is really, really stupid. Both American and British versions. A spin-off from HONEY BOO BOO, stupidly entitled Mama June: From Not to Hot, is a contender. But what do you think is the stupidest current American television? Ponder it, if you like, and tell us via our new "contact" form. We may well quote you, and will certainly count your "vote". We will not gerrymander.
Here's Dave Barry on a dazzlingly stupid American trend. He tells us that in 2019, "There was a continued general decline of human intelligence, as epitomized by the popularity of increasingly elaborate 'gender reveal' events. Originally these involved simply cutting open a cake that had been dyed with food coloring, but they have escalated to the point where this year they resulted in — we are not making this up — a fatal explosion and a plane crash. It is only a matter of time before a major city is leveled by a pink or blue mushroom cloud."
You think we're all stupid, now? Check this out: Rising CO2 will lead to 50% reduced cognitive ability by 2100 - And why is that happening? Because we were stupid enough to think that excess C02 and carbon pollution generally was not going to lead to a cascade of problems.
Some people are wondering why there's such an "Ugh" reaction to images from the movie of CATS. It's quite simple. The cinematic version, done with CGIing people into felines, makes it looks like these are CROSSBREEDS of human and cat. An instinctive aversion arises. The makeup and costumery variant from Broadway doesn't look that way. It looks, instead, like people in costume imitating cats in a pleasant way--the makeup and, especially, acting transports those who dig CATS to a pleasant imaginary world. It was stupid to think fans of this family musical, or anyone else, will want to see a cat-human hybrid. Disgusting images, really. Stupid planning. Stupid to not say, early on in the planning stages of the movie, "Let's dump the CGI and go back to costumes and makeup." I know someone wanted to but--though the Emperor has no clothes, no one speaks up.
A woman in CHINA almost died from "injecting liquidized fruit juice" because there was a story going around the internet suggesting it was healthy to do that. Supremely stupid. I can hear the current generation of moms saying, "If the internet told you to jump off a building, would you do it?" Unfortunately there are people who DO INDEED do stupid, self-destructive things because people on the internet told them to-- as per that lady in China. Her story makes me think of Gwyneth Paltrow and her "Goop" products. If apprised of the fate of the lady in China, Gwyneth would have shaken her head sadly and in a sympathetic tone, purred, "Oh dear no, you don't inject it into your blood--you inject it into your vagina! Right after you steam-clean your vagina with my new Goop Vagina Steamer..." Indeed, Paltrow's company company informed everyone they "probably have a parasite", of some kind, and the way to get rid of it is to drink nothing but goat's milk for eight days. Paltrow's Goop catalog sold a 15,000 dollar vibrator--because it's so, SO much better. The Cut magazine revealed that Goop published a guide to "spirit animals" as a cynical means of selling $2,400 "spirit animal rings". . .The stupid, floundering impulsive twitchy tendency to snatch at short-cut treatments for medical issues, or for rejuvenation, is a blight on the world that should've been dismissed years ago. It's a glossy form of old fashioned quackery. But large segments of our civilization constantly revert to primitive thinking as a way to deal with problems--many of which are imaginary in the first place.
And then there are the New Flat Earthers...growing numbers of them, right here in the USA and right now in the 21st century! A poll revealed that one-third of millennials are not sure the world is round. Despite the views from space, despite mountains of scientific proof.
There is such a thing as willful stupidity. A surprising number of modern people--even a number of reasonably bright people--choose to embrace some incredibly improbable notions, apparently because doing so mysteriously imparts a kind of inner glow to them, an almost druggy high. It gives them a new set of friends who fanatically clap onto the same ludicrous improbabilities. True, we've seen this phenomenon before; with, for example, religion. "The universe is 6000 years old and our problems are the result of taking advice from a talking snake."
Then there is the "we never went to the moon" crowd; those people who ignore the fact that our competition, the Soviets, tracked our spacecraft's flight to the moon, and acknowledged it; that the artifacts left behind on the moon have been spotted; that every last spurious "proof" that we "didn't go to the moon" has been systematically repudiated. They don't care. They feel a delicious *something*, a weird little inner gush from some corner of their desperate brains, that rewards their contrarian fixation, whatever it is, however flagrantly cockamamie. You can't persuade them with facts, they'll just say a Conspiracy trumped up the facts. Reason doesn't work with them. These people need some kind of therapeutic intervention. Face it, some people who are not mentally handicapped are nevertheless locked into stupidity...because, for them, it feels good.
The internet is a potent and efficient proliferator of stupid beliefs. The web has great value, obviously, but it's a double-edged sword. It's easy for any website to create a kind of faux glow of legitimacy; easy to give out a list of made-up indicators that Hilary Clinton is sponsoring a child molestation ring concealed under a pizza parlor in D.C.. Easy to string together, in that list, a sequence that, to people utterly unfamiliar with critical thinking, seems persuasive. The internet, used in the exact opposite way its inventors intended, routinely magnifies stupidity.