The elephant in the room

It’s always tempting and often dishearteningly accurate to look around, fancy-pants liberal elitist that I am, and notice that a huge number of Americans are stupid.  Worse, they’re proud of it.  Every day is Dumb Pride day, from sea to shining sea.  And dumbness is celebrated, even exalted, in the media as though it were frigging apple pie.  I hate to put too fine a point on it, but it’s not.  The fact that we no longer call stupidity by its proper name has allowed it to grow like kudzu, engulfing our dialogue and demeaning what it means to actually, dare I say, know something, particularly if that thing you know might be in danger of being true.

People actually take pride, and are regularly invited on television to share, that they  ”know,” against all evidence, that, say, the earth is 6000 years old and Obama is a secret Muslim, while they’ve absolutely no idea where their tax money goes or whether gay people can be “cured.”  This turns out to be convenient for thieves and charlatans and their pancaked cheerleaders, who sit there and listen to people tell us that Saddam was responsible for 911, we found WMD, George Bush “kept us safe,” and the moon is made of green cheese, never batting a false eyelash as they solemnly intone, “Some Democrats disagree.”  

You have to hand it to them, really.  Somewhere, in an undisclosed location, Republicans found a way to put over a “fuck everybody, we’re taking all the money” strategy by using the one product America still manufactures in relative abundance, stupid people, and bringing them over to their side.  Back in the comparatively circumspect era of Kevin Phillips’ “The Emerging Republican Majority,” blatant appeals to racism, xenophobia, and militarism were to be couched in namby-pamby terms like “states’ rights,” “America, right or wrong,” and “welfare queens,” so as not to overly rile those with 3-digit IQ’s and all their teeth.

Well, now that the kleptocratic policies thus sold have been universally adopted and so demonstrably failed, it’s now time to forget about that 3-digit bunch, and run around in a stars and bars g-string, riling up the trailer set with the likes of Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.  Bush said it so well, “You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones we’re focusing on.”  Who do they have left?

It must be kind of liberating to be down to that quarter of the American people who will absolutely believe anything, as long as it’s racist, punishing, and bloodthirsty, but no one outside of the mainstream media think this insulting strategy might work, considering that the stupid are still, despite Republicans’ relentless attack on education in all its insidious forms, a small minority.  We’re stupid, but we’re not that stupid.


  1. retzilian says:

    I’ll don the tin foil hat and posit a few theories about why Americans are getting dumber. I really do think there is a widescale strategy (and some consequences were unanticipated but allowed to happen) and it has been in the works for awhile.

    In no particular order, here is what I think has contributed to the “dumbing down” of our population:

    1. Nutritionally bereft, contaminated food, lead, heavy metals, toxins, etc. We are being poisoned and some people are weaker than others and become more easily sick, crazy, etc. We can thank Monsanto, ADM, and our government for that. Basically we are malnourished and our brains don’t work well because of that. Solution: buy local, eat low on the food chain, eat organic if you can afford it, avoid processed food and fast food. Be a food heretic!

    2. Modern medicine – pharmaceuticals – Rx drugs are poison. If I were dying of cancer right now, I’d skip the treatments, tell my doctor or daughters (who are nurses) or boyfriend to get me the good stuff (heroin, morphine, dilaudid, who cares) and let me get stoned. That’s it. The drug industry keeps people sick, period. And now they want to drug your kids if they are too wiry or hyper or don’t shut up in class all day. Don’t even get me started.

    3. Debasing, defunding, vilifying the Humanities, which made now two generations of kids avoid reading, writing, philosophy, religion, fine arts, humanities, foreign languages, history, etc. We were discouraged (as were my kids) from focusing on liberal arts because all the jobs were in “marketing” or “business” or medicine. Those of us who majored in liberal arts were laughed at.

    And now, most college graduates can’t read, spell, recite Shakespeare, quote Kant, or speak a foreign language.

    Anyway, it’s an uphill battle trying to foil this plot.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Excellent list, Retzilian. I’d add the car culture, which took away time and opportunity for people to read a newspaper each day, and removed most people from day-to-day contact with each other. Media consolidation, which reduced the depth and variety of news, and produced a relentless pursuit of profit over all other values, further turning people off and distorting the idea of what was important.
      I think you’re right, though, that the worst thing is the decline of liberal education, together with the enormous costs of college in general, that has been the worst. Not only do people avoid the humanities, but even those in science, medicine, and law are often indentured with loans that force them to pursue the most lucrative, but least beneficial to society, of career paths.
      But what do I know; I majored in history and I remodel houses for a living.

  2. retzilian says:

    That’s why I love you, Hag! I was an English major and when I tell people that, they squint their eyes and say, “What the hell did you do with THAT?!”

    • cocktailhag says:

      I never have a snappy comeback for that annoying slur. It’s even more galling when it comes on a day spent doing something more than usually horrendous, like laying tile or mudding drywall.
      That’s why I got a blog. Too much time to think.