Thomas Paine:

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Human Bond of Duh

And how I miss George Carlin

      Arrogance is the first form of stupidity. I love to say that.
      But, hold on. I also have a distaste for hierarchy—so, can we say one form of stupidity should out rank any other? Aren’t all of us equally stupid, in our own, special way? After all, whether you like it or not, everybody, each frail and faulty human, has moments of duh, where the duh factor engages despite all our pathetic efforts to the contrary. But I promise you, your moments of duh are no worse than mine, and vice versa. This is the human bond of duh.
      I won’t mention my most egregious acts of duh, the disastrous ones. Those, I call deep duh. The relatively harmless ones have to do with math and technical stuff. I mean, forget it. I’m never there, when I’m there. Those fall into the category of congenitally ill-equipped duh—it can’t be helped. And then there’s the inevitable daily duh, like walking down the street to pick up my mail, then remembering it’s Sunday.
      George Carlin would have appreciated this. In one of his stand-up routines he said, “You ever notice how all day Wednesday, you keep thinking it’s Thursday?” He had led up to this comment with an introduction that began, “I’d like to talk about some things that bring us together, things that point out our similarities, instead of our differences...but I also like to know I can come back to these little things we have in common, little universal moments that we share separately, but things that make us the same. They’re so small we hardly ever talk about them.
      Do you ever look at your watch, and then you don’t know what time it is? And then you have to look again, and you still don’t know the time. So you look a third time, and somebody says, 'What time is it,' and you say, 'I don’t know?'"
      Our human bond of duh—right, George? Are you with me here?

      The big problem is that as a species our collective duh is coming close to ending us. Our world is in such a fearsome condition we’re finding our very futures in jeopardy; more and more, each day that the powerful among us ignore the signs—after all, those guys deny the duh that compels them— things fail to work on our behalf, and on behalf of the planet.

      It’s like this:
      What values best support us?
      Duh...those of laissez-faire capitalism?
      Duh...masculinist values?
      Duh...authoritarian values?

      What is our hierarchy of values?
      Duh...profit first, before anything else?
      Duh...whatever my authority says? first?

      How do we fix what is broken?
      Duh...privatize everything?
      Duh...drill, blast, bomb, torture, deny?

What a loss George Carlin isn’t here to make us laugh about it all, to get things straight and clear, to distill sanity from the fruity din—if you will pardon my duh.


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