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Things I am Sick of... Volume II

The argument that a President or Political figure can't be "Stupid" because they are successful.

The argument is generally applied to folks like Sarah Palin or George Bush. And it goes, "You don't become president if you are an idiot." "You don't get rich being stupid." "You don't serve in X position for 20 years and no know what is going on."

The evidence that all these statements are completely without basis beats us about the head every day.

Take today for instance. Joe Lieberman said that he still believes Iraq was developing WMD's. This guy is still repeating one of the most transparent lies in recent American political history like he believes it. He either does believe it or somehow believes that we could all be convinced simply by its repetition. Seven years ago yesterday was the Iowa Caucus that really sent Joe on his fall from grace in the Democratic party. Most people remember the Howard Dean scream from that night, but there was another much more troubling thing going on. Joe Lieberman was trying to get elected by telling people what a good idea the Iraq war was. He was selling the Democratic base on ideas most candidates knew were political poison. He also got caught paying his family members lavish salaries from his campaign funds raised largely in the Jewish community. In New Hampshire, not too long after that he announced he had regained his Joe-mentum! But then tanked in each and every primary after that. He had not only lost, but by attacking Dean and others in the most right-wing of fashions he had made a strong enemy of the American left, in a way that simply supporting the war never would have. He was also so angry at democrats for not jumping on the Joe-mentum train that he became a regular guest on Fox news for much of the rest of the year. Telling their audience how crazy liberal the Democrats had become.

He made it a full time job to publicly attack those that had not signed on to what was a terrible campaign with a completely tone def message. Now 7 years later he seems to still believe the pathetic lies that conservatives have run from. And has pursued national security to the point of opposing basic civil rights to any person with any suspected link to terrorism. How do we not conclude that it is possible to serve this country and be an idiot?

Sure we could blame it all on ego, but really, how lacking in perspective do you have to be before one has to assume your reason is severely restricted.

For another fine example listen to the Nixon White House tapes. The man goes on racist rants about Jews and other minorities. (quick addition, he attacked the Irish! This was what, like 30 years after it was even a wide spread view with racists.) Do we not think of these as stupid ideas? Did Nixon's judgment not come to be shown to be terribly poor?

Another would be Senator Larry Craig. He seemed to generally believe that after soliciting gay sex in an airport bathroom, that simply denying it would somehow convince us all that he was straight.

Can we accept that politicians, CEO's, celebrities, and perhaps people in almost any walk of life can achieve many things and still be twits with really poor judgment and fundamentally flawed understanding of the world around them (AKA Stupid). We all are prone to making bad judgments, but when you make many in the public eye and show some cognitive dissonance around self correcting any of that behavior; we shouldn't assume you are smart.


 

Comments

Oh, I forgot to mention reagan serving with early simptoms of Alzheimers.

Not that that means he was a stupid man, but only to point to the fact that the level of staff around many leaders is so high that they are insulated from much public scrutiny and their failings are compensated by the people around him

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-0114-reagan-alzheimers-20110115,0,1952165.story

The younger Reagan recalls how his father became uncharacteristically lost for words and looked "lost and bewildered" during the 1984 presidential debates with Democratic rival Walter Mondale. He says his father may have suspected the onset of Alzheimer's in 1986 when he was flying over familiar canyons north of Los Angeles and became alarmed that he could no longer remember their names.

the level of staff around many leaders is so high that they are insulated from much public scrutiny and their failings are compensated by the people around him

This is something I have noticed with a lot of "successful" or "powerful" people, even if their elevation over their peers is fairly trivial.

Unless measures are taken to prevent it, even in a small organization leadership positions can become quickly and severely insulated from the cues that keep a person in touch with reality.

And once someone gets into the slightest position of power, it becomes self-perpetuated both by the "leader" and the people around them.

It doesn't take much. See: The Stanford Prison Experiment

It's a pretty broken aspect of human psychological wiring and even after all the cultural musings about what power does to people, they seem blind to the problem in their day-to-day lives.

See: The Stanford Prison Experiment

only 6 days; that's a shorter time than I would have thought it took - both for the level of escalation and the end of the experiment. scary and instructive.

Throughout my career in the private sector I have seen many management "bozos". Drones who had little common sense but were very political.

I wonder how much they cost my employers? Anyway ... I figgered out, finally, why they were put into position and why they kept these positions even though they had a negative impact on productivity.

Well, they were useful balast who could be jetisoned easily if the company needed to shed heads. They also kissed up and kicked down, they would never bring bad news to their overlords, and they would screen any bad news from filtering up.

Good points. Is "cognitive dissidence" a typo or a new idea?

typo or me being "stupid like a fox" I can't reveal which.

we could all be convinced simply by its repetition.

On the nose: this is a tried and true method; I bet I have family members that still believe Iraq was producing WMD, just as they believe that country had something to do with the 9/11 attacks.

I was discussing this type of thing with a friend, suggesting that the Democrats need to try this tactic: repeat, repeat, repeat things regarding health care, the environment, etc. He rightfully pointed out the problem is the left doesn't tend to couch things in fear, so my ploy probably wouldn't work. Even if it did work, it wouldn't be as effective without atmos-fear.

its a messy proposition. I think of the bar maid on the show True blood. She keeps getting brainwashed by vampires and becomes a bigger and bigger idiot. Don't we risk perpetuating American stupidity if political discourse nothing but a series of tricks?

People might start viewing politicians and liars.

i agree with most of what you say here. but as far as "iraq developing wmd's" there is PLENTY of evidence of this, in spite of the fact they managed to "get rid of the evidence" before the u.s. army got to them. they acually used them (chemical weapons, go look it up, they are "wmd's") against their own "troublesome" kurdish population and the evidence of this is extensive and undeniable and if you try to deny it here i will link-bomb you a new one.

the term wmd's does not apply only to nukes (that they were also developing, and you can all thank israel for taking care of that problem in '81. but for you to say that iraq was not developing, and interested in developiing, and involved in developing until shortly before the american invasion is just stupid.

otherwise, i agree with everything you said. :)

So you are citing their use of American supplied chemical weapons in the 1980's as evidence they had a chemical weapons program in 2002?

in spite of the fact they managed to "get rid of the evidence" before the u.s. army got to them

Yeah chemical weapons plants can just be brushed under the rug. It's not much harder than cleaning up a messy murder scene while the police are breaking down the door. Anyone can do it.

And a "WMD" threat insubstantial enough to be able to disappear entirely the minute the US army shows up was surely enough justification for the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of casualties and refugees, and trillions of dollars spent!

And it's not like the whole WMD thing wasn't obviously fabricated from the start with silly "mushroom cloud" campfire stories.

...is it just me or do I get profoundly sarcastic whenever someone brings up Iraq?

Tis profound

I meant to reply to Jonathan but your Reply link is just so darn clickable, RedSeven.

yes, among many other things, including the reactor destroyed by the iaf in 1981. and more than this- their actual USE of these things-against their own citezens, american supplied or not (source please?) which is, as i said, well documented. btw, you can thank the iaf for the fact that syria doesn't have nukes now, and have some humility that you in the u.s.a. are counting on the iaf, and using the threat of it's power and motivation in your current pitiful and ignorant "negotiations" with iran- a country you (not you personally, but americans in general) probably couldn't locate on a map. and yet they have the technology RIGHT NOW to hit your major cities with their missiles (as well as ours, of course), and the crazed religious motivaton to do so, and all they lack (we hope) is the ability to put nuclear warheads on these missiles. which are supplied, btw, by north korea and possibly russia as well (god forbid, the russians are much better at manufacuring things like this than the koreans), both of which countries your inniffective, ass-kissing gov't are giving plenty of space to do their dirty work while they "talk" about brotherhood, and mutual respect (especially for muslims) and blah, blah, and furthermore, blah. i just don't know which will happen first- palin/limbaugh and their minions and "private militias" starting a civil war in the u.s., or iran (or north korea) taking that decicision out of your hands.

So, wait, Iraq had WMD's in 1981 and into the early 90's and Iran has missles now(2011) and North Korea will have them in the near future, so that justifies an invasion in 2002?

Do you have a Tardis or are you stupid?

i didn't say iraq having wmds in '81 or any other time "justified" and invasion. lots of countries have- and use- them, they aren't used to justify "invasions".

i WAS saying that your claim that iraq DIDN'T have them is ridiculous and easily disprovable. about the best you oculd say is the funny little over-educated people sent by the u.n. and occaisionally allowed to poke around a bit at saddams discretion didn't find any. but no one found that any huge surprise, except maybe you and frenetic, there- and yes, a bunch of people who were hanging around here at the time, including possibly norm himself. what can i say? i was new to the net, and you guys were the smartest i could find.

againd, for the tetris despising, reading impaired: i did not justify any invasion here. not that i was so unhappy to see it at the time, and not that it wasn't my country, not yours, that absorbed 39 scud missiles (which we did not know what they were armed with) as a result of your rash actions.

still, i cheered for the "good guys", yeah, but not because of wmd's. that was merely an american gov't pretense, bought and swallowed whole by her gov't and most of her people, who were, basically, unable to cope with 9/11 and needed some 'closure" and an outlet for their misdirected racism, and a few other issues involving old promises and control of oil resources. poor, poor babies. they were probably playing tetris at the time, so they couldn't really be blamed. we all know how easily americans are distracted by anthing shiny and new.

please, redseven, never take me for stupid, or an advocate of war, or invasion, ever, except in a clear case of self defence- something you americans wouldn't recognize if it bit you in the ass, and go around judging the world and dictating policy for your supposed "friends and allies".

hypocrites take a long time to learn- especially when distracted by shiny objects- but they can be taught.

btw you got me so riled up there i mixed up my "invasions" a bit- the scud thing/old promises was the 91 invasion. the wmd pretense thing was the 2002. you guys have so many invasions i can't keep them straight. to be fair, the same can be said of my country, and the'e all (or often) somehow (often secretly) related to each other, via our "friendship" with the u.s. here's hoping it ends (or changes drastically) soon- the very first thing norm and i ever agreed on, btw, if i recall.

america to israel: the palestinians are getting out of control in lebanon, threatening regional stability, and you're first in line for destruction if this gets out of hand. we know you've wanted to do it for a long time and we've held you back, but now it seems to be in both our interests that you take care of the situation. agreed?

israel: ok, boss, going in now. just keep us supplied.

america to israel: we need you to completely pull out of gaza. we think it's in your interests too. agreed?

israel: ok, boss, pulling out now. citizens too, or just military?

america: citizens too.

israel: will you help us pay for their relocation?

america: we'll talk about it later. just do it.

israel: ok boss.

israel: we're being rocketed on a daily basis now from vacated gaza. may we use our military to defend ourselves?

america. no. no. not yet. wait. ok, we're changing presidents, go go go!

israel:ok boss

america: we're invading iraq. make no attempts to defend yourselves, (though you will likely be attacked even though you have no dog in this race) or help us militarily, it'll just make things worse, though we will share intelligence and expect the same from you. we'll send you some patriot missile batteries and everything will be fine, don't worry.

israel: ok boss

america: we're going into iraq AGAIN (saddam tried to kill my daddy etc- the reasons shouldn't concern you. we know you have a pretty good idea about what saddam has and doesn't have re: wmd's but just keep your mouths shut, since we're using them as a pretense.shhhhh. and, again, just keep your heads down and stay out of it.

israel:ok boss

back to '81-

israel: hey, we just destroyed saddams new nuke plant. aren't you proud of us? sorry we couldn't tell you first, but you guys aren't the best at preventing intel leaks and we like to keep our pilots alive. but, you're welcome.

america: you assholes! warmongers! you could have fucked up a lot of business for us over there. if this starts a war, don't expect any help from us, you pricks!.

a little off topic there, sorry, but the whole thing just sickens me. i hope someone out there still has some appreciation for the classic "off topic rant". :)

after all, the title of this post is "things i am sick of. :)

its ok, I didn't read it.

also, btw, i've never played tetris in my life (well, maybe once or twice) and have a general aversion to video games. though i did once have a short but intense "affair" with "space invaders". :)

i like pinball, fwiw. and pool.

sorry, got mixed up again, i thought you were talking about tetris. i don't even know what a "tardis" is.

A tardis is a famous Time machine. Piloted around the universe by the last of the Timelords on a show called "DR. Who"

i didn't say iraq having wmds in '81 or any other time "justified" and invasion.

You realize you were commenting on Lieberman's defense of the invasion by saying that at the time of the invasion they had a WMD program. The testimony of inspectors, and the evidence found after an extensive search by US intelligence showed no evidence whatsoever of nuclear or chemical weapon programs. It's pretty well established that Saddam had destroyed his weapons program in hopes that the sanctions would go away. And the real reason that he was giving inspectors a hard time was that they were being used to track his movements in attempts to kill him. Which they were.

It's sort of amazing that the CIA or army intelligence didn't fake some evidence, but instead they gave a pretty honest answer. "We Ain't found Shit"

None the less, Joe is a moron for believing a lie that didn't survive a few years and the Bush administration ran from it when they saw how transparent it was.

i'm sorry? the search was conducted by "u.s. intelligence"? no idea where you're getting your info.

and yes, i realize lieberman was using the wmd defence for the invasion. but you should have realized i wasn't commenting on his use of that defence for the invasion itself, but rather on the REALITY of the situation re:iraq and their long, sordid and well documented relationship with such wmd's. i did say clearly that a country's posession or use of such weapons had never been used as an excuse for a full military invasion, until the u.s. (in their wisdom :)) did so, and that i agree with you that it was complete bullshit as a justification for invasion (on it's own, without, for instance, the religious craziness with it's finger on the button in iran right now-iraq was a more or less secular country at the time, and certainly it's bathist regime), since many countries, including and especially the u.s. posess, and use, wmd's without being threatened for it with military invasion.

so no, again, i was not defending lieberman or his (and the whole u.s.a's at the time) justification of the invasion. i was just pointing out that iraq was merely one of many countries that were (and are) messing with wmd's, and that you were wrong to say they weren't, but otherwise strengthening your point: wmd's as a justificatin for invasion was (and is) bullshit. i'm still amazed how many of you guys bought it.

Are? Are you confusing WMD and IED?

um, i don't think so. why would you?

Because I am pretty sure Iraq doesn't do anything "Mass" anymore.

iraq was merely one of many countries that were (and are) messing with wmd's,

you know exatly what i meant. i could have also included greece and ancient rome and still have been correct in my use of languge there. stop being such i dick, we're actully (mostly) agreeing here. and furthermore you have no idea what the 'isurgents" are cooking up there as we speak. so stfu, or say something intelligent.if this was your intention, congrats: i'm done here.

Perhaps the one I find most annoying is the one about rich people ("successful people") somehow are smarter about any given topic because they're rich.

From my experience, very few people get very rich without crossing over certain ethical and moral lines, even if not illegal.

100%. and furthermore, family and personal/political connections have a lot to do with it too. this is also one of my pet peeves, and i'm glad to see you and red, at least, agree: "success", either in terms of wealth or power, is NO indication of intelligence. i've been under the impression that this ridiculous idea is an american invention, poisoning the whole world. maybe i'm wrong about this, and someone could help "educate" me about the origins of this poisonous little bit of lethal meme-ery.

Rich people bought the media and their employees are reluctant to call them names.

In terms of who equates success with intelligence, I think this has a long standing in at least European culture. Not that I don't think people were confused, but to be in good standing, a high societal position has been desireable by many (not all), and to be in lower financial straits is considered foolish at best.

I've been fortunate to meet so many highly intelligent people who tended bar, worked on cars, made a living as a landlord as well as smart folks who teach, run businesses. Since I think my family (in general, not all members) often seemed to consider wealthy or powerful people as intelligent, I'm glad that I got out of the house a bit. It is possible that the "American dream" had a way of making this phenomenon more of a a U.S. fever that has spread to any developing culture.

jeez, g.s., you know how i hate to argue :) BUT: it was specifically european culture and their (proudly admitted) class system that i was NOT thinking of here.

no one in europe (at least 100 years ago or so- now the tables have turned because of what i think is american influence) would have thought any less (or more) of the nobility- dukes, earls, whatever- even if they were poor. their social position remained the same, regardless of intelligence or success, and intelligence, frankly, didn't even come into the equation. a duke was still a duke, and respected for it, (even if only in the sense he could have a person killed at his word) and had political inflluence, wealthy or not, and his intelligence (or not) was clear for all to see- as it is with our modern "neuvo riche" power brokers- but no one assumed that, because he was a duke he was therefore intelligent. in fact, often quite the opposite. this had no effect on his status.

but no european (at least at the time, and for a VERY long time) thought intelligence had anything to do with "nobility" or "respectability" or, most importantly, social class standing.

i still think that's an american invention. and still willing to be corrected if i'm wrong.

It's possible that what you argue is true, and there were definitely rulers who were not intelligent - or at least, not educated.

On the other side of the coin, how many people were truly exposed to kings, dukes, earls, others in the feudal system or whatever system was prominent in their land? Perhaps other members of the nobility and servants who worked directly with them. There was undoubtedly gossip - you gotta pass the time and facebook just wasn't around yet, but how many people in their outer orbits 1. knew of the level of their leaders'intelligence and/or 2. were themselves (scholars/some clergy) intelligent? and by intelligent, I don't just mean educated, but bright and thinking. I'm assuming that's what you're getting at in terms of intelligence as well. LOTS of people over history didn't have no learnin but had and used lots of wit.

I don't know - got a link that says European underlings didn't think their leaders were smart, but still resepcted hem for their leadership? I'd hate to let me American upbringing totally prejudice me. ;~) [sheesh I just corrected a gaggle of typos there]

Some crazed grad student with no jog prospects should do a dissertation on all of this.

i think that confusing education with intelligence, and nobility or social standing with "rulers", and what education meant then v. now and there vs. here will make this a bit too complicated even for me to untangle.

one thing for sure:if we're talking about feudal times, it would be expected that a member of the nobility had an "education" of some sort (which mostly included..um.. "how to be a member of the nobility: and MAYBE some reading, writing and 'rithmatic.) whether he was poor, or stupid, was another matter and of course known to the "peasants and townsfolk" etc., but only spoken about in whispers because of said social standing.

anyway, today we can certainly expect our modern (american)"nobility" to have a diploma of some sort. but (and this is the point andy and red and me were getting at, i think) this means NOTHING these days, in terms of either education or intelligence, and the idea that a rich or powerful person must be pretty "smart" to have attained his position is preposterous, and, as i hypothesize, an american invention that now poisons the world. now we have no money, no educations, and no option to be born or adopted into any form of "nobility", and all we can do is sit around feeling sorry for ourselves while at the same time lionizing the rich for the one thing they often DON'T have- intelligence. so we figure we must be pretty stupid, since we're poor, and we deserve to be poor because we're stupid, and.....agggghhh! there i go, ranting again. meanwhile the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and NO ONE gets anything even approaching what, not that long ago, was considered an "education", they just get these little pieces of paper which they spend the rest of their pathetic lives paying off the student loans on. better to learn a trade...flutes. i like flutes. ahhhh....i feel better already. :)

thanks for listening sista, cuz believe me, fewer and fewer people care about these things. rome totters, nero gets out his fiddle...

btw, all grad students have "jog prospects". you see them in central park all the time, running their crazed little butts off. :)

i makes a funneez.

better to learn a trade...flutes. i like flutes. ahhhh....i feel better already. :)

yes, please keep me employed! ;~)

It's also amazing that I managed to write some gawd-awfully long dissertation with my typing ability. I've seen those grad students getting their jog on. Moi? Running is against my religion.

P.S. So in terms of smarts we agree. I'm still not convinced that power and wealth equated with intelligence originated in the U.S., but maybe it did. Let's see - Ayn Rand? Can we blame her? or how about Sarah Palin? She's really good at deflecting criticism. Getting off on the wrong tangent - bye!

yes, please keep me employed! ;~)

well, as i've mentioned, i'm making bamboo flutes, not the metal concert type flutes you are presumably referring to. still, i'm keeping MYSELF employed, and i, for one, like the sound of bamboo over metal. but i'm not expecting to see them used in traditional orchestras, or even for teaching music, anytime soon.

do you play the flute? ever tried one of the many variations of bamboo? just curious.

and of course you don't jog- you already (presumably) have your degree. :) i also don't- smoke too much- but i used to be on the track team and over short distances i can still pull off an impressive sprint.

I've missed the post where you mentioned making bamboo flutes - very cool. I have a bansuri (yes, bamboo) and various other wooden flutes (cherry, boxwood, pear, other types of bamboo) and used to play traverso (Baroque flute) quite a bit. If I had enough moeny, I'd get me one of these. Part of what I do is work make the metal flute sound in many other ways besides the gold standard of tome (although that's a nice tone too).

Are your flutes folk flutes or just jb specials? Are you getting some buyers? There are always flute conventions galore where you can rent a table and sell to those who are interested.

thanks for the advice on conventions, etc. we're aware of these things and are currently working on marketing strategies.

Are your flutes folk flutes or just jb specials?

well, both, i guess, if by "folk flute" you mean those with holes you cover with your fingers instead of keys? they're "jb specials" in the sense that me and my "boss" have been refining the designs for a few months and they're pretty unique.

the mechanism itself is the "duct system"- meaning end-blown, with a "slow air chamber" directing air to the "true sound hole" and the body of the flute itself. the basic concept is often credited to the native american's flute designs, but thru extensive research i've pretty much come to the conclusion that it far predates that. in fact, the native americans may have picked it up from the church organs brought over by europeans. can't' prove this but anyway, like i said, the basic principle is the same as the classic "native american flute", with said design adjustments and improvements. at present i'm tuning them to a 5 note minor pentatonic in various keys, the idea being that even a non musician can pick one up and make pleasant musical sounds- it's pretty hard to hit a "wrong" note that way, but it also, i'm sure you understand, presents it's own set of limitations. i could, of course, use as many holes and tune to any scale i wish, but i'm not convinced there's a big market out there of real musicians (who would be the only ones capable of playing such a thing) who would be interested in it.

wow! talk about off topic! you just made my day. :)

70% of Afghanis have never heard of 9/11. In the whole globe that must be a record. They don't even have a national power grid. And that's the place that got invaded over 9/11? And what response was saved for Saudia Arabia? Hey, there's Bush walking hand in hand across the White House lawn schmoozing with some Wahhabi Dictator/Monarchist!

Turn the lights out.

I think I pissed off JB. But his response is so skinny I can't read what he said or what he responded to.

I was just commenting about his use of tenses that implied that iraq was currently running WMD program.

He said he was done here.

If anyone in isreal is reading this, could you please go over to the flute factory and tell him I am sorry and will leave the Pedanting to pedantasaurus.

i just meant i was done "here"- that is, on that particular train of thought which had degenerated to the point that you were going all "pedansareus" on me just for kicks. and yes, i think you should leave that stuff to him.

but don't worry, it's pretty hard to actually get me pissed off. :) if it happens it's not usually at someone here personally but at some "trend" i see in the world, and i write a little rant about it, like you did to form this very post, and voila- done. no one reads it, and we all go away happy. i wuv u, internetz. :)

Good Grief!

Here I was enjoying a wonderful series of rants, keeping my nose out and my wits about me when --- I get "pedantasaurus" and "pedansareus' all over the place. If you can't type, proofread or spell please leave me out of it.

As for CEOs - I liked this http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2011/01/22/

If you can't type, proofread or spell please leave me out of it.

well, than what would you have to do here? :)

you know we love ya. and i think the pedantery (or whatever) should be left to the experts- meaning you. i refuse to accept grammatical advice from red7 (one of the worst offenders here) and continue to believe that such corrections (especially on the internet) are a waste of time. but if someone's going to do it, it ought to be you. since you do it so well, and gently, and with a sense of humor, and don't seem to be unaware of how unappreciated it usually is, but it's still "your" thing and i, for one, appreciate what you do, and how you do it.

good comic, too, thanks.

well, than what would you have to do here?

While we're on this topic of being pedantic, I've noticed that you have been confusing "than" and "then" lately. Red7 also confuses these two words. I'm not that pedantic, but this particular grammatical error is a tad annoying. ☺

Welcome to the club, JoAnn; I believe that the particular error you refer to is one of pronunciation (or pronounciation) rather than/then grammar. Many people write like they speak, and this gives rise to many interesting patterns.

I was going to say that. I come from Pennsylvania dutch country. The slight Germanic accent in my brain makes then and than sound pretty much the same.

That's ok Red. You're a good egg. I was just channeling pedants are us. I just happened to notice that jonathan has acquired your habit. ;)

arrgg... I don't like using two words in the same comment as I did with 'just', but I am just too impetuous. I can't seem to help it.

JoAnn : "I did with 'just', but I am just too impetuous. I can't seem to help it." I think you meant "I JUST can't seem to help it." As a matter of fact I suffer from the same problem, JoAnn. I have to go over most emails I send to change words that are repeated, or I feel I have failed myself.

Pedantsareus,

Such a just and apropos response. ☺

Thanks for your (as usual) very kind thoughts, JB. Regarding the "waste of time" comment - as one of my students once said to me "No knowledge is wasted!" If I get through to anyone at all then my posting has not been in vain.

And thanks to Red for starting a most informative and entertaining thread.

Thanks, it got a little hijacked, but maybe this is why not all smart people are successful. Its bloody hard to focus when you have more than one thought rattling around your head.

Re: discussion of word use.

I often despair for the future of English grammar. Even after all these years as a 'native' speaker, I still get confused about which tense to use. Husband, who might well rival pedantsareus in his own grammatical prowess, determined some years ago, to at least insure that our granddaughters would talk right. He started saying "Doink Doink!" whenever one of them used "I" in a sentence that required the word "me" instead. Or, for that matter, whenever they made any grammatical error.

The four year old (at the time) thought this an excellent game. She happily shouting Doink Doink at her sister and parents whenever they said most anything at all.

Now of course, it's been quite a few years since this game began. I'm happy to report that the children speak well indeed. I, however, am a bit put out with the frequency with which I find myself making a sentence, then adding a tentative verbal "doink?" to it's end. Just In Case.

Why do you care whether someone is stupid? Why is it so important that "stupid" as a category, is defined and respected?

The world doesn't value intelligence. It never has. As long as half the population is below the median level of intelligence, it never will. I would think a smart person would understand that.

"Stupid" is an insult, not an objective, agreed standard of ability. People reject it because it is an insult, and they put forth the rationalization that accomplishment refutes the claim.

A person doesn't need to be particularly smart to be President. Reagan wasn't. Bush wasn't. Presidents rely on advisors to do most of the intellectual heavy lifting. To become President, one needs to have political ability, which isn't dependent on intelligence. Once in office, the party system offers a wealth of qualified advisors. The problem with the Bush administration wasn't primarily that Bush was stupid, but that the smart people he hired were ideological and dishonest.

You happen to be blessed with intelligence. Why not just accept it gracefully, instead of dwelling on the misfortunes of others?

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