Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Smart People Acting Dumb

Mitt Romney was asked the question last week, "What do you dislike most about America?" He stumbled a bit, said he was at a loss for words, talked about how much he loves America and "the American people," and as was apparently required for the Republican debate, used the question to invoke the name of Ronald Reagan.

When Bill Maher asked the same question of his panel, former Congressman (and current head of the Democratic Leadership Council) Harold Ford muttered something like "we could be a little more tolerant than we are at times..." and then used the "look/reality" bridge to talk about something else. (Watch for this. In response to any difficult question, a politician will say, "Look, Bill, you can say what you want about x, but the reality of it is this...")

It's childish and absurd that public figures have to avoid this question. I understand why. The minute you give an honest answer, opposing forces will throw the clip on YouTube and brand you as an America-hater. I get that. (If Al Franken wins the nomination and runs against Norm Coleman, this is all you're going to see.)

But it's still childish and absurd. Love is about engagement. The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference. I love my son more than anything in the world, but I still have fantasies about pushing him down a flight of steps. I don't need to go into the psychology behind this. Chris Rock has already done it.

What I hate about America right now is that we're a nation of smart people acting dumb. You know the kind of person I'm talking about. You went to high school or college or work with him or her.

Who's at the forefront of this uniquely American phenomenon? Weathercasters.

"It was 75 degrees in Central Park today... kinda strange for mid-December, but put on your sunscreen and enjoy! Bob, back to you." You're a trained meteorologist. You presumably have a degree in something. You know that the atmosphere is laced with more carbon right now than at any time since the Pleistocene Era. That's because we've burned up everything that was formerly alive in the Pleistocene Era. You're a smart person. Stop acting dumb.

4 comments:

Michael said...

It happened here!

"Stop Acting Dumb."

We CELEBRATE dumb in this country. You realize there's a book in this--how interesting, hard to say at this point, but another tack is how the smart people are taking on the smart people. Or could be. Sharks love chum.

Carry on culture soldier.

Anonymous said...

Look! There's the bridge to reality! Come on gang, let's cross it!"

Bellamy Grant said...

There's a book on it? Have I been Conked again?!

Michael said...

Actually you haven't Conked yourself. I meant to say, There COULD be a book in this. Truth be told, there's a book in everything; execution is the sticking point...