IGNORANCE IS BLISS
“If genius was an illness, you would be a hypochondriac”
“Everyone knows there ain’t no sanity clause”
The Cult of Stupidity is on the rise, with a new confidence and vigour. In the last two decades, creationism, conservatism, racism, xenophobia, aggression and scare-mongering have seemingly become a new, socially-acceptable, fashion accessory.
The Sixties gave rise to an unprecedented social revolution amongst the widest range of ages and social classes, where learning, mind-expansion, group awareness, political awareness, communal responsibility, and the responsibility of freedom were high (sic) on the agenda. A new awareness was heralded and welcomed, and the desire to educate and liberate was all-pervasive … “Teach Your Children Well” was the anthem of a long-haired revolution in thinking, caring and learning, and the attitude which fuelled this feeling of positivity and optimism was Hope … naive as it may now seem … pure, unadulterated Hope.
Hope for the future was possibly naive and undoubtedly drug-fuelled in many cases, but even in the face of a blooming awareness of our environmental problems, a horrific war in Vietnam, repressive laws, record levels of unemployment, and an unprecedented level of inflation and recession, we still held a positive attitude and a belief that we could still change the world, beat the system, and strive for that ever elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow … The Happy Ending.
Whatever happened to Hope? Whatever happened to a belief in The Happy Ending?
Well, as far as I can see, it was replaced by Pride.
A new attitude of selfish, uncaring, unreasoning, self-centred Pride … and, Pride for no good reason, at that.
“Proud of who I am, … and proud of what I am” … even if it’s shit.
You’ve heard it expressed on every reality show from “Big Brother” to “Wife Swap”, and from “X Factor” to “Question Time”
“I am what I am … that’s just me being me … it might seem stupid, but it’s my right as an individual to hold these opinions, and beliefs”
The Right To Be Wrong.
The Sixties new age of awareness also opened the doors for a conglomeration of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo and metaphysical flim-flam. In the same way that the political and social revolution of the sixties was subverted and dissipated by the commercial exploitation of its popularity and originality, the liberal, open-minded acceptance of new outlooks was equally exploited by every con artist and huckster, every well-intentioned zealot, every manipulative entrepreneur, salesman and politician who saw the money-making potential of that social naivety.
New Age commerce was born, and with it came a new sensibility or, to be precise, a new insensibility: The Right To Be Stupid. Not only The Right To Be Stupid, but also the glorification and adoration of the downright dumb.
During the 90’s, the hip-phrase that was flippantly bandied about was “the dumbing-down of television” – this emphasis was of course failing to predict that the Internet phenomenon would rapidly supercede TV’s dominance and escalate dumbing-down to supersonic levels of idiocy and to gargantuan levels of availability. Not only was drivel elevated to an art-form, we now had access to unprecedented amounts of crap, on a round-the clock basis.
Myspazz, Youfukkintube, Beboring, and Faecebook are surely the technological equivalent of London’s sewage system, which was effectively the major contributor to the possibility and practicality of the growth of the first major cities of the 19th century. The introduction of the modern sewage system was an effective method of dispersing the increasing volumes of crap that the new industrial society produced, both from its productivity and from the masses of its industrial workforce … and THAT was a huge load of crap.
The Internet has, similarly, given us a conduit for the immense amounts of shit that our current technological tsunami produces on a 24/7 basis.
Giving the public access to the Internet has made us greedy, acquisitive, little consumers of a seemingly limitless range of cyber-produce but, conversely, it has also given over the Internet to the consumer, in a welter of cottage industries – the Global Village is market gardening, and we’re liberally spreading dung on the allotment.
To paraphrase an often-used quote: “If the Abyss stares at you, then you stare right back at it”
“Hey! Abyss. – You staring at my pint?”
In Praise Of … Wasps
Wasps get a bad press. Well, apart from this article, they most certainly do
I am, apparently, one of those rare individuals who can let a wasp land on my hand or leg and not immediately turn into an arm-flapping, whirling dervish, with murderous intent and screaming exhortations of mayhem.
Over the years, I’ve occasionally been stung by wasps, and it was really no more painful than a cat’s scratch or a lover’s bite … but, the impending threat offered by these tiny, black and yellow punks of the insect world seem to turn the average person in to a frantic and furious, fear-filled psychopath.
I like to refer to this highly irrational form of mental instability as: “Wasperger’s Syndrome”
Wasps fill a niche in the food-chain and control a plethora of other creepy-crawlies who’d over-run our existence if it wasn’t for the murderous ministrations of these wee biological jump-jets.
And … Wasps don’t crap on you.
Now, that statement might seem redundant, but as I sat here, in my garden, on a, sunny, barbeque-beckoning afternoon, I observed a passing wasp release a tiny crap, while in mid-flight.
Astonished? You betcha!
I’ve been around for decades and I’ve never been crapped on by a wasp. How considerate is that?
I’ve been shat on by seagulls, starlings, blackbirds and thrush. I’ve waded through dog-poop, cat-poop, and even my own kids’ poop … but in all my years, a wasp has NEVER fouled my existence.
Wasps are cool … and, as a bonus, they also sting kids
We, as adults, are no longer happy about the prospect of a kid being skelped … and that is as it should be … so, it’s nice to know that payback is still there, in the prospect of our wee pal, the lowly wasp.
The illustrious and mightily funny Mr Phil Nicol turned me on to Dan Bern … aaah!!
Starts some 20 sec in on this vid