On Stupidity

Once upon a time there was a village idiot and everyone knew who he was. He’d be the one pushing hard on the field gate, sweating profusely at the effort and mumbling cuss words only to see Farmer Giles walk across the field and pull it open. Or he’d be strolling down the country lane sticking his finger into horse dung and licking it in order to find out if the pile of straw laden poo really was what he thought it was, and then muttering to himself ‘good job I didn’t step in that’. He’d be the one standing directly behind the back legs of a jittery horse just as the Blacksmith was about to bang a horshoe into shape on the anvil in front of its face, or he might be seen looking down the barrel of a shotgun to check it was loaded. He’d also be the one to say “not that I know of”, after projectile vomiting in the public bar of the village pub, in answer to the doctor’s question ‘have you been eating something strange, because your breath smells of horse shit?”

Stupidity once upon a time was easy to spot. Sometimes all you had to do was to look to see who sat upon the throne, or charged into battle first without checking if the cavalry really was following, or looking up into the air just as a shower of arrows rained down. That sort of stupidity dressed itself in arrogance and hubris and it often wore the Crown. It married six times, or tried to bankrupt the treasury before losing its head, or murdered its nephews in a tower, or married a German only to find his Teutonic family came after you wearing spiked helmets and brandishing bayonets. It might have flirted with fascists or married an American against the advice of some on the planet who thought she was a ‘wrong un’, a feat to be repeated later in history. This sort of stupidity got itself mixed up with inbreeding and the production of sprogs with an uncertain paternity. It also thought that it was a good idea to snort coke and give a blow job in the back of a speeding car in Paris, and then it went for a pizza before thinking that making friends with a nonce would be a harmless past time, like setting fire to your scrotum with a little bit of napalm would be a harmless past time.

I guess the universe was pretty stupid when it allowed a monkey with a slighly larger brain to first discover that a stick could become a tool only for that monkey to forget that it is still a part of nature and not above it. Bonobos spend ther time wanking each other and engaging in anal sex. Perhaps our ancestors should have put the stick down and focused on perfecting primate incest.

There is a modern form of stupidity which wears a different set of clothes. You might spot it wearing a business suit and sitting in the boardroom while paying itself huge amounts of cash and share options. This form of stupidity thinks shareholder value is its primary duty and to that end has made sure that this is its legal duty which it then calls moral. This is the morality of the drug addled whore who thinks giving blow jobs to Old Etonians in back alleys is doing public service. It hires stupid lawyers and stupid accountants and buys stupid politicians to ensure it gets its stupid way. It thinks that a finite planet will support growth infinitetly and stupidly thinks slavery was abolished after the American civil war instead of polishing its shoes on the way to the next business meeting. Boeing stupidly put safety to one side when it introduced a modification to the flight control system on a new version of an old aircraft but did not bother to tell the pilots. Three hundred and forty six people died to teach them a lesson.

Today, stupidity allies itself with delusion, put on the Emperor’s clothes and marched into Ukraine failing to see that we can all see his buttocks with the tattoo of a target on each cheek. We have yet to see if this level of stupidity will kill us all before the stupidity that is ignoring climate change does it first. Stupidity wanted to Make America Great Again by grabbing women by the pussy, building walls and stopping black people from breathing. It is expressing itself through the medium of the gun and the Bible, as if a book written by desert dwelling goat farmers has anything meaningful to say to a generation hooked on digital reality, tik toking themselves into the narcissitic void in which pop has not so much eaten itself but disappeared into the arsehole of formulaic irrelevance.

A Prince once remarked after the death of his father:

“What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?” Hamlet was on to something there. We have gone to the moon, dived to the depths of the oceans, explored the densest of forests and climbed the highest of mountains searching all the while to understand, but in all of that searching we did not find a way to live peacefully together.

Stupidity today receives large salaries, obtains university degrees, and runs countries. It flies fighter jets, drives tanks and designs surface to air missiles. It is a special form of cognitive deficit in which it cannot recognise its own stupidity. This form of stupidity does not recognise the turd gently floating in its bowl of custard. It can’t see it because it is not looking for it.

It is repeatedly pushing on the field gate, stickings its finger into shit, and staring down the barrel of a gun.

Photo by Brandi Alexandra on Unsplash

Published by Lance Goodman

Freelance writer, bon vivant and all-round good oeuf.

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