Trump’s interviews with Bob Woodward remind me that I haven’t talked about stupidology in a long time.
Stupidology is the science of stupid. I discovered its subject matter primarily by observing it introspectively, although I have observed plenty of it in the wild. I have discovered that stupid is more common than smart and, therefore, it’s wise to learn how to harness it for good.
Smart is in fact nothing more than a relative deficit of stupid. Let’s say you want to know more things and have the luxury of time and the great privilege of a malleable brain: You need to find out all the ways you are stupid and stop doing those things. It’s amazing people can’t figure that out.
Also, don’t be a rock or a paperweight. You’ll raise your IQ by 10 points more than the average rock’s by just getting more exercise.
The 80-20 rule applies to types of stupid. Eighty percent of all instances of stupid are just the same 20 percent of the kinds of stupid, done repeatedly. Learning the common garden varieties can get you a long way.
For example, avoid being interviewed by Bob Woodward for hours on end, all while being videotaped. Even Deep Throat didn’t talk in front of a camera.
Have you ever been walking down a sidewalk with a friend or loved one at your side and told them to watch out because they were about to step into an open manhole? And they said, “Don’t tell me what to do,” and then they stepped into the open manhole? Neither have I, but only because I shoved them to the side just before they stepped in it. And then got yelled at for shoving them.
The same sort of person who, upon hearing they are about to step in an open manhole, argues about it instead of looking to see if it’s true, is the sort of person who will see no point in telling you if you’re about to step in an open manhole, on the grounds that “you’d just have got mad at me if I’d told you.”
So, President Trump told Bob Woodward in February he was downplaying the new coronavirus because it would cause widespread panic if people knew how dangerous it was. His assessment of how frightened we’d all be tells us how frightened he was in February.
When anyone tells you “what you don’t know won’t hurt you,” they are confessing that they are afraid of being hurt all the time and letting you know why they’ve chosen a life of ignorance.
Remember how the world was supposed to end in 2012 because the Mayan calendar would run out on Dec. 21 of that year? Well, now people are saying that the reason it didn’t happen was because someone somewhen misplaced eight years, and our calendar has been running eight years too fast for centuries.
That’s right: We have all been using the wrong calendar, and this year, which we’ve been calling 2020, is actually 2012. So, the world is going to end on Dec. 21 of this year. No wonder there’s a pandemic.
It’s all because the solar system is passing through the galactic plane for the first time since the last big planetary die-off.
These kinds of ideas are what makes stupidology so relevant to the world we live in.
I have been collecting questions that people ask. They say there is no such thing as a stupid question. “They” are wrong.
Some questions that have actually been asked online: “How do you write 5,000,000 in numbers?”
“What is tastier when used in cooking, Fahrenheit or Celsius degrees?”
“Why can’t newspapers just spell Arab names the way they sound?”
“When crossing from one time zone to the next, where does the missing time go?”
“Since the oceans are full of water and all of it is made of hydrogen and oxygen, and in science that means there is way more hydrogen in the ocean than there is oil underground, and since hydrogen burns, why don’t we replace oil with hydrogen as an energy source?”
“Since light kills the new coronavirus, shouldn’t we figure out a way to shine light into people who have it?”
At one point in his interviews with Trump, Woodward asked if Trump agreed with him that they both had had the benefit of white privilege. Trump said not him, and then said to Woodward that he really had drunk the Kool-Aid.
These are all precious items for scientific study.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at drwes (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read more in the Sept. 16-22, 2020 issue.