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Jason Allen is the advertising art director for Earth Odyssey. He received his B.F.A. in studio arts from the University of South Carolina. His artwork has been featured in group and solo shows in New Jersey, South Carolina and Arizona. Jason teaches photography at Yavapai College. He is a career artist specializing in found art.



Monday, 01 February 2010 00:00    E-mail
Stupidity - America’s common denominator

Stupidity-web3tDownload this column: 18-EO-EDU_Movie_Review.pdf

We all seem to think that we are surrounded by idiots, on the roads, on the TV, in our political arena, but “stupidity” as a scientific subject of inquiry has been studied hardly at all. Although we spend millions of dollars examining the effects of cow farts upon our ozone layer, we don’t spend any money researching what makes us stupid or the effects of it upon our lives and ecosystems, which really is a shame considering it has far more serious effects than cow farts.

The movie “Stupidity” starts off with a series of street interviews just asking people to define stupidity.

Most are either speechless or incoherent. The film itself is presented very scientifically from a rather detached point of view, as a good documentary should be, but the subject matter, examples and interviews are nothing short of hilarious.

“Stupidity” is well-written with witty insights. It includes definitions and the origins of our favorite derogatory terms for the thought challenged.  It also includes the formation and implementation of the I.Q. test as the dominant judge of human intelligence.  This film describes some of the processes and tactics by which the media outlets dumb down their products in order to appeal to the inner idiot in all of us, and the effect of this upon society as a whole.

One tactic I think is great is the practice of writing material for TV and print that is targeted at an audience which is much younger than the actual audience, which leads older people to think that the media is targeted at a younger crowd, while the younger people think it’s targeted at an older crowd.

The tried and true philosophy of marketing is that assuming that your audience is educated can alienate them, while assuming that they are idiots pays.

It includes some of the effects of the so-called information super highway, and the irony that despite the fact that we are living in the most enlightened age ever, with regards to the accessibility of information,we elevate our stupid to levels of super-stardom.

This unsettling trend has led to the emergence of a new category, which can only be classified as super-stupidity, characterized by “Jackass” and backyard-wrestling type programs.

It also includes an examination of our university system, which has fallen from an institution of education to one where the young go to party for four years. Our universities are our national resource for promiscuous girls (gone wild) and drunken frat boys, instead of a breeding ground for the next generation of qualified, intelligent leaders.

This fosters the mating phenomenon, which I call breeding down, the practice of people being most attracted to the ones who have the least to offer.

When I was in college, I enjoyed playing a game in which I would see how long it took to turn off a woman by actually trying to have an intelligent conversation with her. (It doesn’t take very long at all).

Stupidity also delves into the effects of our culture of stupidity upon our planet by destroying its ecosystems, which have been formed for millions of years to foster an environment conducive to supporting life. We somehow believe that we are so supreme that we can survive independently of our planet and that we somehow “own” it, which is so absurdly arrogant that it can only be described as stupid.

The movie culminates with a section analyzing one man who characterizes most of these traits. Yes, as you may have guessed, it’s our former President Bush, with his baffling actions and unique speech patterns. It also asks what sort of a population could elect a man to two terms who can’t even form coherent sentences?

One of my family’s sayings is “If you don’t think you’ve got anything left to learn, then it’s time to die” and I have always really found this to be good advice, for it encourages constant self improvement. I believe that if you wish to avoid something, then you need to educate yourself on it, and therefore, I deem “Stupidity” to be another “must see.” It’s not only incredibly informative, but also is a very entertaining film, which makes watching it very easy.