Tag Archives: stupid people

The Art of Being Stupid

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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.

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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.

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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.

downloadYou 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.

 

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Filed under angry rant, education, humor, memes, politics, red States, satire

How to Reason With Stupid People

Okay, I know… I keep promising that I will never resort to insult humor, and then I go and write mean-spirited stuff about Donald Trump and other Republicans.   But I need to point out that as a middle school English teacher for 24 of my 31 teaching years, I had to talk to a lot of stupid.  And I am not being mean when I say that.  Unformed, immature minds are full of misinformation and wrong-way pig-headedness.  Those are both synonyms of “stupid”, aren’t they?  And I have the further disadvantage of being a freakishly high level of smart.  I have a lot of experience dealing with stupid.

HarkerAnd it often begins with, “Well, I know you are very, very smart, but I have common sense!”  That’s how the argument started this morning with my beloved wife.  When we are wrestling with financial and health and family problems, we always start with the assumption that I am completely wrong and headed for disaster.  An acceptable compromise is when the two of us talk it out for an hour, with me listening and agreeing and her laying on me a thick layer of sometimes-aromatic common-sense solutions.  We reach a compromise, by which we mean I accept that she is right and I am wrong.  And then we talk about the yes-buts.  “Yes, but have you thought about the consequences of that expense when it comes to the APR on your credit cards?”   “Yes, but if you talk to your boss that way, would she consider firing you?”  “Yes, but if you give that prized possession to our son as a gift of love, will he be resentful if you take it away again as a punishment for a minor error?”  Sometimes the common sense people have to be gently reminded that their simple solution might need to be looked at from the back side as well.  (Don’t get me wrong.  I am not calling my wife “stupid” here.  She is not.  And I am not looking to make a fatal mistake in my blog.)

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It helps when talking and reasoning with stupid people that they know you really love and respect them.  When I have to talk politics with my more Republican relatives, well, I have to be very reasonable and polite.  Some of them are clinging to toxic candidates that, if they elect them, are going to do the exact opposite of what is good for people in their socio-economic group.  Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are intentionally playing on the fears and prejudices of people that are thinking with their “lizard brain” instead of their higher-level thinking functions.  It helps them to see that you care enough to explain things like “socialism” and “labor unions” and “taxes” in simple terms that help them to grasp that there is a good side to those things as well as a bad.

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A large part of the lives of stupid people is the pain and uncertainty that being a part of humanity brings to them.  So many of them have no idea of the value of what they do and who they are.  They are so caught up in the pain of being themselves that they never realize how much the world around them appreciates and loves them.  They don’t understand that being stupid is the common condition of mankind, and just because they are not as smart as God himself, it doesn’t make them bad.  Sometimes the only way to talk to stupid people is to stop thinking of them as stupid, and reassure them that you love them and you will do everything you can to help them.  If you say it and mean it, they will not be stupid people any more.

“And that is all I have to say about that…”  -Forrest Gump

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Filed under empathy, humor, Paffooney