My title today may prompt you to think, “Apparently, when Mickey does art it is stupid art.” If my title didn’t make you think that, then my first sentence certainly did. I am literally putting stupid ideas into your head. And this is a problem because the people currently at the top of the people pile that is our modern society are shoveling great smelly heaps of stupidity directly into our brains.
I know stupid. I was a public school teacher for thirty-one years. No one survives the mine-field of stupid bombs in the classroom without being able to recognize the incoming booby-head missiles. Years worth of lame homework excuses have made stupidity easily recognizable. Being stupid is easy. Countering it is hard.
So how does one be stupid? I nearly found out yesterday as I was driving on an access road for I-35. I was going the 40-mile-per-hour speed limit and got a phone call on my cell phone. All I did was look at my phone to see who was calling in case another school child was calling because pollen season was killing them again and they wanted to come home from school… again. My son shouted a warning of imminent death and I looked back at the road in time to see the car dealer had left a car-carrier trailer in the road with the ramp down. Wow! That was almost an epic Evel Knievel stunt.
But being epically stupid is simply a matter of not paying attention well enough. It is easy to achieve. Note how often President Cheeto-head achieves it.
I have also found it to be a remarkably easy thing to be stupid on Facebook and Twitter. All you have to do is post and repost stuff, or tweet and retweet stuff, that speaks to your own prejudices and ignores what is factual and what is not. I have seen very elaborate anti-climate change graphs that seem to show a correlation between sun activity and periods of warming and cooling climate. The biggest problem with this frequently debunked “take-that-and-stuff-it!” evidence is that it was created by a pair of propagandists with oil-company ties who were only masquerading as climate scientists.
When you vet that source and introduce evidence to your conservative Facebook friend you will get back a horrified speculation about the depths of your own stupidity for believing that Snopes.com is not also propaganda and you can’t believe everything NASA says because their funding is at stake. And I end up having to admit I do say similar things about their cherished sources like Infowars, Breitbart, and Fox News. Truth is apparently more the product of faith than it is the province of science.
Besides not knowing what facts are, it is fairly easy to be monumentally stupid by having no empathy at all. Iowegians who would bend over backwards and feed their own liver to a hungry Iowan, will routinely cry about the dangers of Sharia law and talk about wall building at the sight of Syrian widows and orphans. And don’t even get me started about shoot-first Texans. Not after they just shot and killed another unarmed black teenager in Balch Springs.
So how do you make an Art out of Stupid?
Well, the CBS Morning News has started running down the key events in the news with snippets quoted from late-night TV hosts and comedians like Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, and James Corden. You defeat stupidity by aping it, imitating it, and making people laugh at it. It is really defeated when you make someone laugh about their own stupidity, like the story about me and the I-35 launch ramp. Comedians seem to be the only ones effectively reporting on the current Presidential situation, and even CNN and MSNBC news anchors have begun making jokes in their reporting. I have become a lover of political cartoons like never before.
You may not be able to rescue other people’s minds from being stupid. But what you can do and be artful about is… make them laugh.