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         It was one of those days again, one of those days that I got my face rubbed in my gift for being stupid.

         It's not like I need any help being stupid; I've more than a little natural talent. And I have had more than one supervisor over the years with a gift for making me realize just how deep it goes. (Seems to be a supervisor-level job skill, but to be fair, letting someone else know how stupid they're being is a special kind of schadenfreude. Especially from a position of power.)

        In between moments hours of self-flagellation and loathing, I found my mind turning to how Stupid with a Capital S is experiencing a Golden Age right now. It takes a lot of resources to be really Stupid, and boy howdy do we gots 'em.

        More maundering below the Orange Omnilepticon.

       Consider the growth of human knowledge. The 21st Century sits atop a vast store of human knowledge that has been expanding in all directions faster than most people can keep up, even the Smart ones. The cost of becoming an expert in something is focus, which in practical terms means deliberately working to know more and more about less and less. You can become a world authority in something, but end up needing help to cross the street - and with an ego that doesn't recognize boundaries of competence.

        With so much available just an inter-toobz search away, it's never been easier to find something to be wrong about - with lots of links. Social media only amplifies the problem. You can find lots of like-minded people all happy to be Stupid together, and lots more who are willing to tell you at length how Stupid you are because they have a different Stupid they've coalesced around. It's the digital equivalent of howler monkeys traipsing through the treetops to the edges of their territory to scream at competing tribes.

        Even when you mean well, Facebook, Twitter, eMail, etc. can enable aggravated Stupid. Make a comment without thinking, you can make an enemy for life. Forward the wrong email, or send it to the wrong person (or Reply All) and you can kiss your life and reputation goodbye. Post an awkward selfie or get caught in a video that goes viral, your moment of Stupid can go around the world and make you immortal. (Till the next Big Stupid comes along.) But once it's out there, it's out there forever. You don't have the luxury of moving away and changing your name.

       It's a peculiar way that memory works that complicates dealing with Stupid and learning from it. I find that I personally have a far easier time remembering (and being haunted by) episodes of Stupid in my past than I do recalling positive accomplishments. There are those who seem to have the opposite reaction. (And the defaulting setting is to not think of either at all, living for the moment.) We're wired to respond to pain more than pleasure, and more easily conditioned by it. Stupid is easy; accomplishment takes work - another element biasing the way we deal with it.

       In the olden days, when a person could be born, grow up, live, and eventually die without ever traveling more than a short distance from their village, Stupid was self-limiting. When everyone knows the same people, knows the same stuff, believes the same beliefs, Stupid has a harder time standing out. When people didn't know all that much beyond what they needed to know to get along with their neighbors and hopefully not starve or catch a plague, ignorance was a kind of strength.

       You didn't worry about what you didn't know, and worrying about "unknown unknowns" didn't even show up on your radar. The officially recognized Smart people (Priests, shamans, chieftains, and other authority figures) would determine what was and was not Stupid, what was Right, what was Wrong. Travelers, strangers were easy to deal with; you knew to be distrustful of them because you didn't know anything about them or what they believed. Of course, there's also the perverse lure of the unknown and exposure to new thoughts - even more reason to treat them as dangerous.

        Some people call those the Dark Ages; others think of them as the Good Old Days.

         The odds are against us. There's usually only a limited number of ways to be Right about something, a single Optimum to aim for - but a plethora of ways to be Stupid, and usually a far greater likelihood of screwing up on even a simple pass/fail test. You're often far from your potential peak performance, not always on top of your game, sometimes less than focused - but Stupid is always waiting and makes no allowances. Natural laws know no pity. ("We pray for mercy because we would all be fools to pray for justice.")

        If that weren't bad enough, we now have enough of a societal cushion (not inexhaustible) to enable weaponized Stupid as a means to power, the manipulation of Stupid as a means to wealth. It's always been around, but we now know enough about how to lead people around by the nose to be really dangerous. ("A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.")

        There's nothing more dangerous than elites armed with Stupid disguised as Common Wisdom, aka Groupthink. We've seen what happens when "the Smartest Guys in the Room" are allowed to run amok with the economy. It wasn't all that long ago that "the Best and Brightest" demonstrated that even a world class military machine used in the wrong place in the wrong way at the wrong time even by supposedly very Smart people is a recipe for disaster. (It's even more so when those Smart people aren't really all that smart. Think Dunning-Kruger effect.)

        We're experiencing a "Twilight of the Elites" because even people who should know better are not immune to the pursuit of perceived self-interest to the point of Folly. When those elites are corrupt, the power of Stupid becomes magnified. Deliberately fostering Ignorance, Folly, Prejudice for political and personal gain is a growth industry, up until the point it undermines society to the point where catastrophic calamities collapse things to a new equilibrium - and its practitioners do not care so long as they end up on top of the rubble.

      They are aided in this by the contemporary understanding of how to manipulate people into Stupid by cloaking it in an attractive guise, or piggybacking it on top of fears and anger, aka marketing. They are further aided in this by technology that allows the howler monkeys among us to be heard around the world 24/7 via dedicated misinformation systems. They succeed all too readily because once you get people to personally invest in a particular form of Stupid, they reflexively defend it because A) it's part of their identity, and B) admitting to Stupid is painful.

      More invidious is Stupid by intent - the deliberate manipulation of others by concealing information that might enable people to draw the correct conclusions and avoid a particular Stupid the manipulators desire. It's impossible to exercise oversight of agencies like the NSA or the CIA when the overseers are deliberately kept in the dark or prevented from sharing their oversights with the public. "Need to know" is a double-edged sword. ("You can't handle the truth.") It generates Paranoia - which isn't entirely Stupid when it's an appropriate response to a real threat. ("Trust no one.") The corrosive effect on society can not be underestimated, once people begin believing en masse that they are being lied to - and it's not really Stupid when it's the case.

     Hell, even with good intentions, defending against Stupid can be self defeating if done without sufficient thought. The case of wide-spread cheating among Air Force officers in charge of nuclear missile silos on tests came about because a system designed to prevent one kind of Stupid drove the people subject to it to adopt a different kind of Stupid in self-defense - but was it really a stupid response on their part given what else they knew?

       For my own part, I can all too easily believe I've gotten to the "Too soon old, too late smart" phase of my life. I work in an environment where guarding against Stupid is a recognized goal, as is (just as, if not more important) the need to recognize that Stupid happens and deal with it effectively. ("Constant vigilance!") Having been exposed to Fitzgerald on "Probability and Human Conduct" at an impressionable age, I could hope I have some capacity for recognizing Stupid and dealing with it effectively, as uncomfortable as that can be.

      I do take some comfort in the observation that "Since no one is perfect, it follows that all great deeds have been accomplished out of imperfection. Yet they were accomplished, somehow, all the same." I take less comfort  in history, which tells those willing to look that Stupidity can be fatal for civilizations as well as individuals. I try to have faith in that we now know enough to find the answers we need to overcome Stupidity - as long as we remember to appreciate the difference between Intelligence and Wisdom.

     So, how do you deal with Stupid, either personally or in general?

Originally posted to xaxnar on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Poll

When it comes to Stupid:

2%3 votes
11%14 votes
9%12 votes
22%28 votes
16%20 votes
4%5 votes
27%34 votes
2%3 votes
2%3 votes
1%2 votes

| 124 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (61+ / 0-)

    I've chosen to post this without (for once) loading it with links. I suspect we all have enough experience with Stupid that we can supply our own examples. Some of the things I've put in quotes can be found with a web search for those who want more. I'm not deliberately slighting the authors; I'm anticipating that those who want to follow them up will gain more by searching.

    If you choose to share your own experiences with Stupid, feel free.

    Just remember this is the Internet. Anything you admit to or say can and will be used against you, possibly for years to come when you least expect it.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:15:49 PM PDT

    •  I should give a shout out to "Idiot America" here (16+ / 0-)

      Charles P. Pierce has an informed look at How stupidity became a virtue in the Land of the Free.

      There's an excerpt from Chapter 1 at the link above that gives some historical background on American Stupid.

      If you want an overall feel for the thesis of the book, Greetings from Idiot America is a good place to start.

      The "debate," of course, is nothing of the sort, because two sides are required for a debate. Nevertheless, the very notion of it is a measure of how scientific discourse, and the way the country educates itself, has slipped through lassitude and inattention across the border into Idiot America -- where fact is merely that which enough people believe, and truth is measured only by how fervently they believe it.

      If we have abdicated our birthright to scientific progress, we have done so by moving the debate into the realm of political and cultural argument, where we all feel more confident, because it is there that the Gut rules. Held to this standard, any scientific theory is rendered mere opinion. Scientific fact is no more immutable than a polling sample. This is how there's a "debate" over the very existence of global warming, even though the preponderance of fact among those who actually have studied the phenomenon renders the "debate" quite silly. The debate is about making people feel better about driving SUVs. The debate is less about climatology than it is about guiltlessly topping off your tank and voting in tax incentives for oil companies.

      The rest of the world looks on in cockeyed wonder. The America of Franklin and Edison, of Fulton and Ford, of the Manhattan project and the Apollo program, the America of which Einstein wanted to be a part, seems to be enveloping itself in a curious fog behind which it's tying itself in knots over evolution, for pity's sake, and over the relative humanity of blastocysts versus the victims of Parkinson's disease.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 06:56:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Live in a real small town, (17+ / 0-)

    we don't even have a village idiot. So, we all take turns, I'm pulling more than my share.

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. Sam Clemens

    by Wood Gas on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:24:10 PM PDT

  •  I have long believed... (9+ / 0-)

    That the amount of intelligence in the world is finite.  As the population keeps growing......

    Well, you can do the math

    •  That is actually partially true. (7+ / 0-)

      If a horse can only hold one person, everyone needs to know how to ride a horse.  Put a carriage behind it and now only 1 in 5 needs to know how to ride a horse.  Swap the carriage for a car and now you have an easier task of learning to drive a car.  Replace the car with a bus and now only one in 40 needs to know how to drive.

      This might seem like a simplistic example, but as technology allows fewer to do more and throws in automation, the need for most people to actually know anything diminishes.  People can refuse to accept evolution as a viable process because they are not engaged in genetic research or any type of research.  To them it is as-frivolous as know how to ride a horse when you know you will always be in the carriage.  People become stupid because they can.

      And we love to wear a badge, a uniform / And we love to fly a flag But I won't...let others live in hell / As we divide against each other And we fight amongst ourselves

      by ban48 on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 10:31:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ^^^^ top comment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, GreenMother

        As one of the thirty nine on bus who don't understand how to drive this thing, how do I submit this to the attention of the people who do the top comment compilation?

        o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

        by tarkangi on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 11:03:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (4+ / 0-)

        It could be said that an unintended side effect of civilization is that it allows people the luxury of being stupid without fatal consequences - up to a point!

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 11:55:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You hit the nail on the head. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xaxnar, Justus, GreenMother, laurnj

          It is about the luxury, especially in this country.  Here's a (fairly) recent example:  President Clinton fixed the economy for Americans, so that Americans then had the luxury to stupidly turn against him.  I disagree, though, with your assertion that there is nothing fatal about the consequences of American stupidity.  It kills millions every year.

          "Soylent Green is people too, my friend!" Guess Who

          by oldmaestro on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 08:22:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But not immediately (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            oldmaestro, laurnj

            That's what makes it more dangerous. By the time the damage becomes obvious, it's had the chance to get much worse than if it had been recognized immediately.

            "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

            by xaxnar on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:27:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Well I Got to Vanquish Stupid in One Tiny (8+ / 0-)

    corner, which turns out to have remarkably little pertinence to how I deal with stupidity normally. Most of the time there's not much I can do about it in real life.

    I've been bumping into less educated, more marginalized populations since I was a kid so I've always realized that it's a very difficult proposition to share a knowledge or experience advantage with those who don't have it, unless it's in exactly a format they already covet before you show up.

    I think the main trick is to be a billionaire, then you can replace stupid wholesale though there's no guarantee that you're not instilling a different stupid.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:44:42 PM PDT

  •  I thought this diary would be stupid (11+ / 0-)

    But you actually made a lot of really good points. There is such a lack of trust of authority figures because we've all seen how Stupid they all have been and can be.

    I also have this theory that television and films made parenting more difficult for parents when movies, tv shows and even commercials began airing stuff that features smart kids with dumb parents.

    It's difficult to respect someone you think is an idiot.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 10:29:34 PM PDT

  •  I drink (11+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately,  my health is not good right now and so, I have had to put that behind me. But, I used to drink to help me put up with the stupid. The worst is the willfully stupid. . . people who actually are proud of their own ignorance. "I'm a redneck" they will proclaim, as if it were a badge of honor. But that's just one example. The person that doesn't believe in evolution, when deep down inside, they know perfectly well that they are holding this position simply and only because they are willful about it. Deep down inside, they know the earth is not 6000 years old and they also know that God did not make mankind from mud pies.

    Or, the person that is Republican even though they are a scientist or work for the environment, etc. That's just a special kind of stupid. Where's the tequila ? ! !

  •  As well known, we can't fix stupid (6+ / 0-)

    Long ago, I tried college professing in genuine esoterica and became fed up with trying to pry open skulls and dump stuff onto their brains. All but 10 or 11 percent of the classes were far too stupid to even attempt some form of edjibication--we were in a notable research university.

    So . . . I shifted over to admissions thinking I'd work to keep the stupid out. Ixnay on that. The administrators, the department chairs, and other empire builders needed butts in the seats for revenue. They can't justify $100k/annum for teaching Introduction to Western Civilization unless there are 200 fannies in the chairs filling out blue books.

    Then the powers figured out how to use graduate teaching assistants, adjuncts, part-timers, and retirees to herd the sheep for a set dollar amount per class. Tenure??? har dee har har har.

    As a result, we now have MBAs who can't even run a calculator managing companies, school teachers who don't know the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution (and a Speaker of the House, too), and sales people who can't explicate the parts list for their product(s).

    Then . . . about 60 percent of these clodhoppers register and show up to vote.

    Yup, stupid wins. Oh, and yeah, the only time I go on a college campus is to watch geniuses play football.

    Then there's that whole "genetic drift" thing as more and more MoRanz survive infancy, are saved from sudden deaths by seatbelts and airbags, manage to find clean water to drink and not die on the shore of the creek--except in W. Virginia, etc.

    Stupid may prevail.

    We're all just working for Pharoah.

    by whl on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 10:48:09 PM PDT

  •  Stupid blend of smarts and stupid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, gzodik

    Figure out the science and engineering of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, knowing people will be able to use them, not even in the originator's control

    Fine political acuity used then wasted on enabling societal regression

    Build "civilization" that destroys other people, other life, and eventually the planet

    It's logical and smart, if you just constrain the scope of your thinking enough

    (The punch line is worth it)

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 12:49:44 AM PDT

  •  On being loud... (8+ / 0-)

    The secret to dealing with your own ignorance is to realize that, like any chronic condition, it will always be with you. Then, the priority becomes to not infect others.  I try to think twice before I say something in a meeting or send an E-mail.  (E-mail is a fantastic vector for spreading the Stupid.)
    The lesson I try to teach my son: In this world it's OK to be loud and it's OK to be stupid, but it's not OK to be both.

    Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

    by godwhataklutz on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 02:44:11 AM PDT

  •  Becoming an expert (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, The Marti, gzodik

    requires knowing more and more about an increasingly narrower field of knowledge.

    Therefore the perfect expert is the person who knows absolutely everything about absolutely nothing.

  •  I know everything . . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, gzodik, xaxnar

    just not at the same time.

    How stupid is that?

    ----- GOP found drowned in Grover Norquist's bathtub.

    When it all goes wrong, hippies and engineers will save us. -- Reggie Watts

    by JimWilson on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 04:24:59 AM PDT

  •  Is this some kind of highly sophisticated meta? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, gzodik, xaxnar
    There's nothing more dangerous than elites armed with Stupid disguised as Common Wisdom
    Uh huh.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 04:59:32 AM PDT

  •  Something musically appropriate (6+ / 0-)

    http://youtu.be/...

    He looks so young there...

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 05:25:52 AM PDT

  •  So, here's my (mostly) true account of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, The Marti

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 06:49:07 AM PDT

  •  The Internet (9+ / 0-)

    I had a laugh recently when I read that in Germany, the Internet and/or Google is sometimes referred to as "Allwissende Müllhalde" after Marjory, the Trash Heap in "Fraggle Rock." People say, "let me consult the all-knowing trash heap" when they need to look something up. That about says it.

    Enjoyable diary, and thought-provoking. Albert Ellis suggested that we view ourselves as fallible human beings, and we'd all be happier. And, I suspect, smarter, by acknowledging our limits.

    •  this.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti

      Albert Ellis suggested that we view ourselves as fallible human beings, and we'd all be happier. And, I suspect, smarter, by acknowledging our limits.

      I think the diary was written in humility, but posters are already turning it into a referendum on what they consider to be 'stupid.'

      The arrogance of these people is really disgusting, and it always amazes me how so many people think they are so incredibly endowed with whatever quality they think they have that they simply dismiss others as 'stupid.'

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 07:29:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I try to deal with Stupid by being patient, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, tarkangi, The Marti

    reiterating or explaining my point in as many different ways as is necessary (assuming they want to understand), hoping one will stick.  Obviously if they don't understand, I don't persist.

    Stupid with Malice?  No patience at all.  I tend to get angry, particularly when Stupid with Malice is directed at someone I care about.  Much more likely to flare protecting a friend than myself.

    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from that of their social environment. -Albert Einstein

    by Yasuragi on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 07:19:24 AM PDT

  •  One of the most brilliant Kos diaries EVER! (14+ / 0-)

    Your post is astonishingly perceptive, as are the contributions that follow.  Thank you.

    I once took a course in graduate school on leadership.  On the first day of class, we were asked to describe why we wanted to be leaders.  

    The people who really wanted to be leaders had all kinds high-minded justifications.  Ultimately though, they were Stupids who wanted power over others.

    The real creatives in the class said they really didn't want to be leaders. They were there because the course was required and they had to take it.

    Over time, those who were really not all that interested in being leaders emerged as the class leaders. Mostly because they had great ideas that excited others, and no need for power.  

    Those who so badly wanted to be leaders turned out to be the weakest ones in the class.  No one wanted to follow them. They only way they would ever be "leaders" would be if people were forced to follow them.

    I never trusted leadership training after that.

  •  I always start from the prepostion that (4+ / 0-)

    I am "stupid" in multiple areas and have much to learn.

    Of course that leaves me less than tolerant of those who think that they have an omniscient lock on wisdom/truth.

    Is that stupid or wise?

    Great post. Will be thinking about it for a long time.

    Thank you.

    There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    by Onomastic on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 07:37:58 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful essay! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Elizaveta, The Marti, gzodik

    Thanks for this. It's a long piece but one I read with true enjoyment and agreement.

    Perhaps Stupid is a greater force in our world than even Evil and, as you note, even more destructive.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine We don’t have to engage in grand heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. ~ Howard Zinn

    by occupystephanie on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 08:25:46 AM PDT

  •  Stupid is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask, Elizaveta, The Marti

    an accepted default position in this era.

    Nonetheless, it's all about refusing to be stupid.

    My father was not very bright but he married one of the most intelligent women on the planet; my mother.

    His simple explanation for success in his life came down to a simple bit he learned,

    "I choose not to be stupid."

    It sounds so simple, but his approach opened up a million roadblocks that stop all of us from success.

    I'm thinking, Mom had something to do with his insight.

    Suddenly, it dawns on me, Earnest T. Bass is the intellectual and philosophical inspiration of the TeaParty.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 08:35:01 AM PDT

  •  Mashed potatoes can be your friends (5+ / 0-)

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:00:15 AM PDT

    •  Wonderful parody of a parody (4+ / 0-)

      I like the wikipedia quote

      "Dare to Be Stupid" is an original song by "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is a musical pastiche (or "style parody") of the band Devo.[1] In an interview on VH1's Behind The Music, Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh stated in reaction to the song that: "I was in shock. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He sort of re-sculpted that song into something else and, umm ... I hate him for it, basically."[2][3]

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:32:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Its like a musical video that outlines the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar

      entirety of the GOP and Teabaglican Platform.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:58:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Knowledge reveals ignorance (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask, xaxnar, Elizaveta, The Marti

    Being smart is understanding how much we don't and know.

  •  My sister-in-law once said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, gzodik

    that our strongest family trait was our intolerance of stupid. We embraced the trait proudly. But it used to be all inside jokes about what we saw around us. The internet and social media allowed us to broadcast that trait--to feed the beast and have it turn on itself.

    After watching my family's FB posts go by, reading the emails that shouldn't have been sent--and looking at what I was doing, I stepped back from it all. I sort of stopped talking.

    I don't tolerate stupid well, but want to come back on it with more well-thought answers and actions. And I am encouraging my kids to keep intolerance of stupid off the internet. I mean, the beast does make for some fun conversations. All things in moderation.

    Miles to go and much to learn. A most excellent essay, xaxnar.

  •  "Weaponized Stupidity" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, GreenMother

    Great term.  I'm going to steal it.

  •  Damn this is good (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Elizaveta, kerplunk, GreenMother

    Thank you, I have been discouraged lately, I will read it again more carefully later.

    To be honest, it's not the stupid that brought me down, it's the evil in the lying. I don't know if I'll ever get over it,  but I find some solace in small things--a meal cooked well, gardens in bloom, easy laughter.

    [shrugs] Peace be with you.

  •  I avoid the stupid by avoiding facebook, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizaveta, xaxnar, kerplunk, gzodik

    twitter, youtube, and selfies.  I also avoid talk shows and radio shows.  If I can't read it and take my time understanding exactly what is being said, I avoid it.

    And we love to wear a badge, a uniform / And we love to fly a flag But I won't...let others live in hell / As we divide against each other And we fight amongst ourselves

    by ban48 on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 10:33:32 AM PDT

  •  Assumption is Stupid (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone who's belief system requires large leaps of faith is stupid.  If you can't see beyond your own nose, you're being stupid.  The stupid is everywhere, which is why this nation continues to spin its wheels.

    'Slower Traffic - Keep Right!'

    by luvbrothel on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 05:07:09 PM PDT

  •  I have a deep and abiding emotional stupidity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, laurnj

    I continue to believe in love.
    I'm a fool

    ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

    by Rikon Snow on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 05:48:05 PM PDT

  •  At the risk of committing meta (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, GreenMother

    this is why I'm here, for diaries like these. ++

    Luther: Hi.
    -7.4, -5.6

    by Amayi on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 04:46:04 AM PDT

  •  See My Comment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar

    We acknowledge in this household that no one is immune to stupid.

    The worst part about stupid people, is trying not to be one.

    Humility can be a valuable fight against the stupid. It's not a total cure, but it sure helps.

    Lovely piece.

    Poetic.

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:52:25 AM PDT

    •  We all carry around some stupid, waiting to happen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother, laurnj

      Every one of us has a reservoir of things we've accepted without verifying, things we were taught as children, things we 'know' that turn out just ain't so, things we are honestly mistaken about, things that seem logically or intuitively true - but aren't.

      It's perversely possible to be stupid for all of what seem the right reasons, that stuff the road to Hell is paved with.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 08:39:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no doubt. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar

        I also believe that embracing your own stupid makes one more compassionate too.

        But that could just be me.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 08:46:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a master at disorganization (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, laurnj

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:05:45 AM PDT

  •  This is a really wonderful piece, thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar

    for sharing it with us. Best wishes.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy -7.2, -7.9

    by helpImdrowning on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:36:00 PM PDT

  •   (0+ / 0-)

    ...is a quote I attributed to Niels Bohr, based on a memory of having seen the quote, but  a later web search for 'Bohr + "everyone is an idiot" ' came up only with my attribution in a Kosment.

    I tend not to suffer fools gladly, but online I have learned not to hit Send after writing sarcastic replies, instead try to look for common ground and preface the critique with praise, patting them on the back so they relax and the knife goes in easier.

    More generally my favorite parable is the ancient Indian story of the Blind Men and the Elephant, the point of which IMO is that a complex phenomenon can only be understood by synthesizing multiple viewpoints.

    I am hoping to organize a Fossil Fools Day event for April 1st, to debunk the pollutocrats' campaigns to fool the public, and communicate through humor the folly of energy business as usual.

    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:31:04 AM PDT

    •  everyone is an idiot about something vanished... (0+ / 0-)

      from headline of above post when I hit "post", apparently bc I had enclosed it in quotes.  Live and learn, apparently I am an idiot about some of the fine points of how to make Kosments.

      There's no such thing as a free market!

      by Albanius on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:35:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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