By Bill McIntyre
“Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid.” - JOHN WAYNE
Is stupid the new smart? Is dumb the new wise? Is oblivious the new aware?
I am prompted to pose these simple questions in light of current events as witnessed through the probing lenses of television cameras and the scribblings of the popular print media, not to mention the prolific news sources found on the Internet and the overcrowded field occupied by far too many bloggers all jostling elbow-to-elbow for my rapidly diminishing attention span.
Have you noticed over the past decade or so how television, movies, magazines and newspapers glorify the antics of really stupid people? I think the movie Dumb and Dumber opened the floodgates to this trend.
Then again, it might have been launched with the creation of the 1950s sitcoms. At that time dad was portrayed as a fairly intelligent creature who could guide his household and steer his children in the right direction. Mom was really the power behind the throne but dad didn’t know it. If he did, he kept his mouth shut. And the kids? Well, they actually had something to learn from old dad. What a concept.
Now fast forward to the New Millennium and the wonderful world of commercials. It is in that world where you see how the producers of these mini-dramas really view the component parts of today’s family.
In their world, dad, if he is in the family picture at all, is a bumbler, a fool and a gluttonous boor who wolfs down pizzas while still in the box and who has absolutely no idea how to do anything from hammering a nail to tying his shoes. Of course he is uncertain as to whether his shoes are on the proper foot. Dad is usually portrayed as a pathetic clown, a shell of a man, who is virtually irrelevant to family life, except as a supplier of money for cars, cell phones and video games.
Enter mom. Vivacious, smart, impeccably groomed, harboring a razor-sharp encyclopedic mind choc full of wonderful solutions to any problem imaginable. Meanwhile her task to guide dad around prepping him to do menial tasks around the house if she can pry his big, fat ass off the couch to do anything remotely physical requiring the motor skills of a slug.
But all is not lost in these dysfunctional families. There are always the children. Yes, the children. It is they who really run the household in the commercial world. They also run mom and dad. It is the kids who choose the home for the family and how to decorate it; they pick the family vehicles by color and style to match their peers at school or face a beating, stores in which to shop, holiday destinations, clothing, hair styles and the family pet which they expect dad to look after if he can find the instructions.
And these kids are oh so smart. At age six they can tell you how to fix your car, build an addition to your house (they don’t actually work or do chores though), tell you how to speak and when to go to bed. And that’s the good stuff. With their computer skills they can bring us to the brink of nuclear war, destroy the economy and on a good day, wipe out the memory banks of half the computers in North America. For that, they are treated like comic book heroes.
Meanwhile, commercials you will never see are those showing kids actually learning something from their parents, doing chores around the house, looking after the family pet, or cleaning up their pigpens that double as bedrooms. In the latter case mom just sprays some deodorant around and leaves the room smiling.
One problem with all of this is that far too many parents have accepted these fantasies as realities. What we get for it is a never-ending parade of screaming, out-of-control brats infesting restaurants, shopping malls, theatres, parks campgrounds all to the oblivious smiles of mom and dad much to our dismay. I assume they have rights allowing them to destroy the serenity of others.
Since many commercials reflect the leading edge of thinking, and I use the term loosely, in the entertainment industry, it was only natural that related sitcoms would follow, not to mention the movies.
So, today you can pick and choose from a lengthy menu of movie and television fools, idiots, morons, failures and simpletons to entertain you, give you advice and tell you what’s cool and what’s not. I suspect intelligence isn’t cool with the crowd unless you’re Bill Gates.
But there is another side to all of this and it’s called reality. If you just take a quick peek around you will see how reality has been distorted. Common sense and insight have been shunted aside in favor of gullibility and credulity.
It’s chilling really. And that’s why I think the world today is so easily fooled by charlatans and posers who have no solutions to real problems. Is this why we are being spoon-fed copious amounts of pap about Britney Spears, Hannah Montana and Barack Obama? They keep our minds off real life.
For instance, the Global Warming fable that has become the flavor of the year for so many. In spite of evidence to the contrary that the world over the past five or so years has been cooling, so many scientists, preachers, politicians, journalists and academics have seized on the fantasy so religiously they cannot stop bowing down to the discredited green idol.
In our gullibility we are allowing our governments to tax our economies into ruin in the name of saving the Earth; create repressive laws and institutions designed to wring complicity from its citizens, all in an effort to appease and ultimately capitulate to the eco-anarchists who are striving to create chaos and fear and dictatorship.
And it’s not only Global Warming about which we have been duped. Consider the housing meltdown in the U.S. The bankers who engineered that catastrophe are supposed to be captains of the economic ship. How did it reach the point it has. Some ship. Some captains.
And what about the oil prices that are dragging us toward an economic abyss? We are constantly told it is the market. What market? Driving the oil prices is a system created by for commodity gamblers. Prices are not based on demand, cost of production or levels of supply. They’re based on Ouija Board economics.
The media likes to call these gamblers, speculators. We should be calling them criminals. Better yet we should be calling them inmates along those who enable their greed.
I could go on but won’t. You can develop your own list of stupid ideas, practices and leaders to suit your own locale. The idea is to expose them. Challenge their stupidity. Pry them from their hiding places and wrench their mantles of greenness, piety and purity from them. They hate it when that happens.
If we continue to follow stupid people with stupid ideas and stupid policies we will indeed find life harder.
Where is John Wayne when we need him?
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