Socially Acceptable Idiots


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

One of the major complaints about both television and the internet is the pervasive belief that they have been dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. That is, TV and the web actively promote the same idea:

Stupid is an acceptable lifestyle.

I completely disagree!

A Few Facts
No one wants to be considered stupid.

Note, ignorance and stupidity are often considered equals; they are not. They are viewed as equals only because all humans regularly suffer from them.

I don’t get high, but sometimes I wish I did. That way, when I messed up in life I would have an excuse. But right now there’s no rehab for stupidity.Chris Rock

One part of embracing your humanity is recognizing that we are all ignorant on a topic or two or two hundred thousand, and we all succumb to bouts of stupidity, normally each and every day.

BUT…

Progress DEMANDS that we fight ignorance and stupidity.

We need new socially acceptable tools.
Social media has many virtues. However, truth, erudition and enlightenment must compete with ‘dreck’—the technical term for ‘I read your post, and am now convinced our educational system is dead.’

Worse, many online arguments try to prove completely invalid points despite mounds of refuting evidence. Honestly, people argue over ‘crap’ (another technical term) that any moderately motivated fifth grader could research from credible sources in a matter of minutes.

Facing facts.
Step #1: Look for them.

Then again, one can simply slam an online opponent:

Trust me, your belief system will change once you join AA.

-OR-

I nominate you as the poster child for mandatory sterilization.

However, such negative responses raise additional problems:

  1. Online, it’s often difficult to tell the difference between ignorance (curable) and genuine stupidity (When finally cured, please remember to donate your organs.).
  2. The real poster child would be out of a job.

Still, there must be some way to fight the lowest common denominator in our major entertainment and information systems.

Fortunately, I have a few modest suggestions.

Cover image: "Sexual Evolution"Television Proposal
All television rating agencies that supply set-top boxes to record and collect consumer TV ratings must also supply boxes to every zoo in the country. Any television show that receives an equal or higher rating from average chimpanzees than from average consumers must be immediately cancelled.

Social Media Proposal
Here, there are several options:

The internet has a variety of adaptable error messages. For example, ‘ERROR 404 – Page not found’ can be easily adapted to:

ERROR IQ-404 Brain not found.

Consider, highlighting an internet error is certainly more polite than pointing out that someone’s nearest evolutionary relative is a mollusk.

Alternatively, we can create new emoticons. Since I’m not a graphic artist, I’ll just describe a couple of possibilities:

Emoticon 1 – A book.
MEANING: Regarding your posted comment, supply credible references from people who have read one.

I realize a book may be frightening for some people, but there is nothing wrong with them. Honest.

Emoticon 2 – Bats in a belfry.
MEANING: Mental health services are available in your area—take the hint.

Discontinue commenting if the targeted user starts feeding the bats.

Lastly, we could always mimic the ‘LIKE’ button with a one-click ‘IDIOT’ button. It’s fast and easy; perfect for both active students and busy professionals. If a user collects 100 or more ‘IDIOT’ clicks in any one month, the forum moderators should consider using my proposed one-click ‘FLUSH’ button.

Conclusion
The reason for the lowest common denominator is NOT that the majority of television viewers or internet users are idiots. It’s because we don’t hold the idiots and outright liars accountable. Frankly, it takes too much time, which is why my fast and easy proposals make so much sense. Promote them NOW!

And now, I click ‘POST’ to spread the…

Damn! Someone just clicked my ‘IDIOT’ button!

Parting Funny: Let’s have some new clichés. – Samuel Goldwyn

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