Friday, November 21, 2008

Got Intelligence?

I really hate having two question marked titles in a row, but lately, I feel as though I am in a constant state of wonderment, and not in a good way. When the movie, Forrest Gump premiered in 1994, I despaired of the message it sent out that seemed to be embraced by our country. A new word came into the lexicon—gumpism—meaning a condition in which stupid people could triumph as long as they were well-meaning and benign, and that smart people often outsmarted themselves and became disillusioned losers. As appealing as the movie was, this was no way to run a country, particularly ours, a superpower that is as complicated in every way as any country could be.

I wake up hopeful every morning now that a seemingly intelligent person (even his detractors seem to agree that he is intelligent) is about to take over the reins (reigns?) of our government. In addition, he seems to be appointing people to his cabinet who also are generally credited with intelligence. This morning on CNN, though, there seemed to be a lot of griping by Republicans that these appointments represent a step backward to the Clinton era rather than the sweeping change that was promised; as if we wouldn’t all wave a magic wand, if we could, and go back to the economic prosperity of the Clinton years; as if the stupidity with which our last eight years have proceeded had not caused the dire situation in which we find ourselves now. Are Americans really so naive as to believe that any average American, plucked from our midst, could run so complex an undertaking as getting the machine of our government chugging along smoothly without intelligence and experience? I wouldn’t want to fly in an airplane unless I thought the pilot had been well-prepared and experienced on the job. Why would anyone argue with having people in positions of authority who have proven themselves successful in the past?

I dearly hope that our national affinity for admiring beautiful, stupid people, will come to an end sometime in the near future. There are plenty of beautiful, intelligent people out there to admire. Perhaps it is not too much to hope that in the future, stupidity will be recognized for just what it is and we will discontinue building monuments to it. Perhaps people will again be embarrassed to admit immoral behavior instead of lauding it in books and on television because other intelligent people will recognize it as immoral no matter how beautiful or wealthy the perpetrator.

My list of ten top signs that there is still intelligent life in the universe:

1 comment:

Ari said...

Were you being intentionally ironic about the pilot comment?

Don't you remember the commercial...