Thursday, December 22, 2016
Sometimes, Stupid Wins. Good Luck To All Of Us.
When I worked as a corporate trainer, our big meeting room had a small plaque on the wall. It read: "Ignorance Can Be Fixed, But Stupid Is Forever." I think of that plaque often these days.
Prior to his current occupation, Sen. Al Franken (D-Min) was a Saturday Night Live cast member, satirist, radio host, and author of "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot (And Other Observations)" and "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."
Like many of us, Franken is troubled by the election of Duke Nuke 'Em and the failure of facts in our idiotic post-truth nation:
Satire is when you take a reality, exaggerate it, and you show how ridiculous it is. But what if no one notices the difference between the fact and the fiction, much less cares to recognize the absurdity of the details? What's the use of satire, or straight-out ridicule, if your target can't even be bothered to care? A big irony for me is that I once made some of my living by writing books about people who lied, like Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Hannity. It just seems adorable now that I could make a living doing that, fighting misstatements of fact. And people then were like, "Oh, that's terrible, I can't believe it." And now it just doesn't matter.
Sen. Al Franken, in the NY Times Magazine, 12/18/16.
(This was sent to me today by a faithful reader. Thank you, faithful reader!)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an influential Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident in Hitler's Germany. He was imprisoned in 1943 and executed in 1945, just a month before VE Day.
To this day, his words ring true. Especially this day.
Senator Al, I don't know what we do when a large chunk of our population doesn't know the difference between fact and fiction. Keep on speaking the truth and pointing out the lies, I think.
But I'm afraid dear Dietrich was right -- stupid people are dangerous and cannot be persuaded and we are defenseless against them.
In these posts and in person, I've spent a good part of the last eight years trying to persuade, cajole and convince a handful of stupid people with whom I'm acquainted to snap the fuck out of it. It hasn't worked. The old plaque was right too.