Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Long-Term Unemployment of the American Mind

Reporter: Name a country that begins with U.
American: Yugoslavia?

This man may be allowed to raise children, enter public spaces, and vote.

Reporting from America, Julian Morrow of Australia’s award-winning TV show CNNNN, queried Americans:

A country that begins with U?
Second American: Utah.

It got me to posing a question to myself.

Ray: What is it that the American people have over the people of other countries?
Ray: Flagrant stupidity laced with unmindful arrogance. And not a hint of shame.

For most Americans, ignorance has become a lifestyle. They take pride in not knowing. It’s their birthright not to know! Failing to acquire little or any knowledge en route to not knowing is a bona fide rite of passage. But it is the not knowing, in and of itself, that marks the achievement of the ultimate status—never looking smarter than the guy next-door, the gang at work, or the gals in the car pool. What so proudly we hail ignorance.

Reporter: Who won the Vietnam War?
Young woman: We did. [She laughs. Calls to others,] Wait, were we even in the Vietnam War? [Off-camera response.] OK, good.

When they don’t know if they know, they giggle. It’s anything but cute. O’er the land of the free, obliviousness is a plague. These are not illiterates we’re witnessing; if they were, we could feel for them. No, these are people who comprehend and speak English well enough to leave not a shadow of a doubt: they’re too dumb to know they’re dumb, too numb to know they’re numb.

Reporter: A country that begins with U?
Third American: U-topia?

They barely know anything about anything. But they have opinions, dogmatic and diehard, about everything. They just don’t have the easy answers.

How many sides does a triangle have? Damn, four? There’s no sides… one?

Who is Fidel Castro? A singer. Kofi Annan? A drink. Tony Blair? A skater. An actor!

What religion are Buddhist monks? Islamic... I don’t know. What’s the religion of Israel? Israeli, Muslim, Islamic, and Catholic, probably, according to four different people.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are famous for… Judo-wrestling? Al Qaeda is a wing of… the Masonic Order?

Had enough? If you’re a glutton for more cultural punishment, go to “Americans Are NOT Stupid.” 24 million people already have. Can’t tell how many Americans, but note how defensive the comments.

So, what about a country that begins with U?

Reporter: What about this one? The United States of America.
Fourth American: Mmm...


  1. Bravo Monsieur Renard. One thing though, stupidity is no reason to stifle opinion. Even the most elite Harvard graduate has been known to say the most asinine things. N'est-ce pas?


    Mlle Elsie

  2. Great blog observation as usual--toward that point, my 2008 op ed piece in the Los Angeles Times (two web pages) laid out a possible remedy for foreign policy stupidity led by America's geographic ignorance-- http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/05/opinion/oe-guttman5


  3. Great Post, Ray.

    Here is an example of an ignorant American Politician's comment that some voters actually believed:

    "We had no domestic attacks under G. W. Bush."

    Rudy Giuliani on Friday, January 8th, 2010 in an interview on 'Good Morning America'

    Some people in the audience actually clapped and agreed.

  4. While I have no doubt in the vastness of human stupidity, I remain convinced that even the stupidest person can be taught if they are presented with the right teacher.

    History isn't supposed to be boring. Nor is Chemistry. And Geography? Forget about it...

  5. The reports you were discussing here have been circulating all around Poland for a long time. They have the power of curing us, Poles, of all the complexes about our relative material poverty as compared to more "developed" countries.
    Your post made me think of this old saying: Fish always rot from the head down.

    regards, Halina Boniszewska, Poland