Since I spend a lot of time on the internet, I read a lot of “news” stories about Stupid People Tricks. We should all be familiar with this sort of thing by now. Someone does something that makes everyone else ask, “WTF? Why did he do something so stupid?”
To clarify, allow me to offer a couple of definitions. Stupidity comes in three flavors: Accidental Stupid, Generic Stupid, and Weapons-Grade Stupid.
Accidental Stupid is the normal sort of incidental stupidity which can afflict even the smartest humans from time to time.
Good examples of Generic Stupid include what gets churned out in overwhelming throngs by our Public Education system and people who watch American Idol.
Weapons-Grade Stupid is best described as a particularly toxic kind of stupidity, capable of causing people with an IQ higher than room temperature who encounter it to suffer spontaneous explosive brain aneurysms.
There’s a lot of Weapons-Grade Stupid out there. Anything said or done by Phredd Phelps is a whole category of Weapons-Grade Stupid by itself. There are countless reports of people punching a wall or window because they’re pissed off about something (and then suffering the consequences). A mother who got angry because a school-bus driver wrote up her kid, so she stormed aboard the school bus and physically attacked the driver. Police officers in a particularly crime-ridden northern California town spend time pulling people over to reward them for driving safely. A sailor on leave who tried to multi-task driving and checking to see if his weapon was loaded (it was). A couple of women who locked the keys in their rental van while it was in the rental office parking lot, but decided to try and force open a side window instead of walking a couple of hundred feet to get another key. A bunch of college kids who roamed their neighborhood stealing Xmas decorations, but then left the swag on the lawn in front of their apartment for the cops to find an hour later. A delivery driver’s co-worker who wrote, “drive up to the main building and detonate in the name of Allah” on the driver’s trip direction sheet to a military facility as a joke (the gate guards were less than amused). A convicted murderer who got hired to head a city’s “Anti-Crime Task Force”. The list goes on … and on … and on and on and on and on and on and on.
While many of the stories are humorous on their own, the sheer quantity makes for depressing reading- even accounting for the probability that only the real wombats are making the news. People unfamiliar with the US would be justified in assuming that every third person here is bat-shit insane, and the other two are merely nuts. I am familiar with the US, and I’m giving this idea some serious consideration.
Fortunately for our reputation, the rest of the world is trying hard to catch up. Americans often don’t hear about some of the idiocy going on in other parts of the globe, but there’s so much stupid out there that it seems to be an inherent part of the human condition. Take the old story of the Thai kids who decided to set off a bunch of fireworks … using the top of a fuel storage tank as a launch pad. Have you heard about the imbecile in Germany who decided to reach inside the tiger cage to get a better picture? The two Mexican kids who couldn’t swim but jumped into a canal to catch shrimp?
I still think the US has the edge in Total Reported Stupidity. Whether that’s a function of the sheer number of so-called “news” outlets in this country or the vast herds of mindless dolts we produce, I don’t know. While I’ve no problem with competition per se, this is really one contest we should try very hard to lose.
“The stupid … it burns!”
Current Status: Discouraged
Current Music: No Quarter by Led Zeppelin