To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost. -Gustave Flaubert

Today we’ll talk about stupidity and those of you who feel the need to point out that we’re uniquely qualified in this area can go take a hike. We should add that we’re not just going to talk about the Steelers’ game plan either, although how about that fake field goal? What the heck was that all about? No, it’s all because we read about a scientific study of stupidity conducted by a team of scientists from Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary and Baylor University in Texas. They sought to codify the various types of stupidity and determine why they all seem to congregate around Munhall Borough Council meetings. No, ha-ha, just kidding, but you have to admit there are some unusual phenomena going on there.

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It’s appropriate that people from a university are doing the study because they won’t have far to look. Some of the premiere examples of stupidity are found right on campus. We’ve already discussed how the football team may now use the same bathroom facilities as your grandmother at the University of Pittsburgh. It would be thoughtful of the lads, as they approached, to tear off a hearty chorus of  “I Enjoy Being A Girl” from “Flower Drum Song” just as a sort of warning. Meanwhile, students at the University of Ottawa have forced the cancellation of a free yoga class  on the grounds that it is a form of “cultural appropriation” presumably from whatever culture yoga is from. We’re pretty sure it’s Indian, but the Asian kind, not the North American kind. So is pizza a form of cultural appropriation, in this case, from Neapolitan mammas? Let’s see them ban that.

Anyway, the first type of stupidity the researchers identify is called “Confident Ignorance.” It’s “when the actor takes high risks while lacking the necessary skills to perform the risky action. A typical story for this is when burglars wanted to steal cell phones, but instead stole GPS navigation devices. They didn’t switch them off so the police were able to track them easily.”  Boom. There’s where your fake field goal attempt fits in, am I right? Then there are all these big shots who jetted into Paris (putting an estimated 300,000 tons of carbon in the air) in order to drone on and on about how you shouldn’t use fossil fuels to run your lawn mower. Hey fellows, ever hear of Skype? Meanwhile everyone’s scared silly about terrorism, a subject they seem to be confidently ignoring.

The next branch of stupidity: “The second cluster consisted of cases of ‘Absentmindedness – Lack of practicality’… A typical story here is when someone inflates more air in the car tires than allowed. Here the person either forgot to pay attention to the action or he or she doesn’t know something essential about tire inflation.” For an incandescent example of this type of blockheadedness we turn to the world of politics, specifically, the Harrisburg, PA City Council. According to the lights have been on in Harrisburg City Hall 24 hours per day, seven days a week for 20 years because no one knew how to turn them off. Follow up story? . . . wait for it . . . .  Harrisburg was the second U.S. city in history to file for bankruptcy.

We’re thinking of moving to Harrisburg and running for mayor. Campaign slogan: Volt for the Idler. My solemn pledge to the Harrisburg voting public: I will spare no effort or expense to find the City Hall breaker panel during my first term in office, and I will trip all the non-essential breakers, i.e., all but my office and adjoining game room / wet bar, for the duration of my second and subsequent terms in office.

We didn’t read the rest of that article because it got sort of, you know, complicated. But these questions remains: Is the Idler stupid enough for municipal politics? Are the voters stupid enough to elect him? Inquiring minds want to know.

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