Monday, July 18, 2011

OK, I admit it - I hate stupid

I hate stupid. There, I said it. I’m not ashamed and I’m not going to feign being penitent about it. Stupid is the cause of too many societal ills to be just politely ignored. It warrants ... no... demands unbridled disdain from those of us who eschew stupid.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about people who through no fault of their own due to genetic or congenital defect, or for physiological reasons lack the full complement of mental acuity. Nor do I condemn people who were denied a basic education or exposure to human interaction. I’m speaking about people who are articulate, who can type, think, and navigate through the complexities of life, who are productive members of society in almost every way - people who are equipped to evaluate varied input, process it, and arrive at a logical and reasoned conclusion if they would allow themselves to.

Examples of obvious stupid include Young Earth Creationists, Intelligent Design advocates, and those who perceive Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, or Rick Perry to be qualified to lead the free world. Cultists, spiritualists, Flat Earthers; those who pay homage to urine stains that resemble religious figures; those who believe gayness is a choice; the Governor of Oklahoma who today, responding to the massive heat wave, has donned the mantle of Chief Shaman of Oklahoma declaring a day of prayer for rain (you’d think he’d go the whole nine yards and pray for a snow storm). The list goes on ad nauseum.

I give a pass to conspiracy theorists because there is a wiring problem in their psyches that requires them to dismiss evidence that doesn’t support their theories, in fact just providing debunking evidence has the effect of reinforcing their delusion. It’s just sad.

With that as a prelude allow me to describe my latest interaction with the profoundly stupid. It seems QVC has decided not to sell Jane Fonda’s latest book, fearing a backlash from people who haven’t forgotten nor forgiven her treachery during the Vietnam War. A facebook friend posted the story to his page and garnered mixed responses. One person in particular, who it seems is just to the Left of Chairman Mao, insisted that Fonda’s going to North Vietnam was a good and justified thing, since the war was unjust and we should have never been there. The final bit of stupidity was the comment that it was further justified because the enemy wasn’t the North Vietnamese at all, but Lyndon Johnson.

It doesn’t make any difference what one’s perspective is on the Vietnam War. I favored it when I went there, opposed it when I came home, and was active in anti-war protests. The war was a bad misstep. The “domino theory” of the spread of Communism was a fallacy (easy to say in hindsight), and came close on the heals of the McCarthy era when much of the populace was initially anxious to kill Commies for Christ at the drop of a hat.

But forget all that. The issue with Fonda was, and still is, that as a US citizen she went to an enemy nation with whom we were engaged in active combat, gleefully posed in enemy headgear on enemy artillery that was shooting down American planes; smiled and hobnobbed with senior enemy military officials; encouraged N. Vietnamese resistance; was manipulated into giving misleading information about the treatment of American POWs; broadcast on Hanoi Radio against her country; bolstered the resolve of the enemy giving them aid and comfort while demoralizing 18 and 19 year old American boys who were struggling to stay alive and in one piece.

I wouldn’t have cared if she had burned the flag, wiped her ass with the Constitution, or demanded Lyndon Johnson’s assassination just so long as she did it on US soil. One does not go over to the enemy that has killed 50,000+ of your fellow countryman and give them your support in order to make a political point.

Imagine if an actor or actress went to Afghanistan, met with the Al-Qaida’s leadership, donned their uniform, gleefully posed on their ground to air missiles, and broadcasted on their radio decrying US soldiers presence there as criminal, and the soldiers war criminals. Whether one agrees with the war or not, respects Obama or hates him, it would be roundly and rightly condemned by any thinking American as a despicable if not treasonous act.

In 1988 Fonda apologized for her actions agreeing that they were ill conceived and hurtful on a number of levels. She wished she hadn’t done them. I don't care if she is your gay icon, if you loved her in "On Golden Pond," or if she gave you a semi-fattie in "Barbarella," the fact is her behavior was dispicable and unforgivable and she knows it.

While I personally reject her apology as too little too late, you’d think that it would be enough to convince the most devout Jane Fonda worshipper, even the most rabid left wing self hating American, to drop their justification and defense of her actions. Nope. Not even the apologetic admission of Fonda herself sways their position. To this Facebook expert on Vietnam and patriotism (and two of her high-fiving sheep) Fonda’s behavior was good and reasoned; anyone not seeing that is a simply jingoistic, right wing Fox News watching, war mongering, imperialist running dog stooge of Lyndon Johnson, who is oblivious to the history of American foreign intrusions, the injustice of the Vietnam war, the subterfuge of the Military Industrial Complex, and just plain don’t get it.

That is stupid. I hate stupid


longhorn believer said...

I agree with your assessment of this person on Facebook, and that Fonda's actions during the war were deplorable. Two questions. Why do you not accept her apology? If she had never apologized, what she did would be unforgivable. But she admitted her mistake. What else is she supposed to do to be forgiven?

Second, why the pass for conspiracy theorists and not religionists? They suffer from the same wiring defect especially the fundies. In fact, we all suffer from it to some degree

The Michele said...

Hump, while I also hate stupid I think it sounds better to call it by its scientific name: Cognitive Dysrationalia. It amounts to lazy thinking. On the surface something makes sense to a person and they accept it as being logical and therefore true. That's why soundbites have so much power. But the one who blamed LBJ went beyond that. I'd say that one fits criteria in the DSM-IV-TR for some formal thought disorder.

DamnCuteBunny said...

I'm with you. I hate how stupidity is the new norm. And as for being being "smart"? Well, you won't be called that; instead you'll be labeled an elitist. Must be a backlash... revenge of the retards.

Dromedary Hump said...

Michele, I concur. But I'm a simple camel. Stupid works. ;)

DamnCute... funny how being intelliugent and discerning is now considered not only elitist, but some kind of defect. It's bizarro world come to earth.

Longhorn... an apology doesn't erase an action. That she [pretends?] to have remorse, I don't necessarily believe it. And if Hitler apologized to the Jews, would that be enough to be forgiven? I don't have the meme that allows me to simply forgive and forget horrendous actions by the perpetrator's verbalization of a mea culpa.

second..yes, their is a wring issue with religionists as well. But thedifference between conspiracy teorists and relgionists is that the former do not ive their lives driven by with their delusion, do not insist that I do the same, and thus do not represent a threat to my freedoms...they are simply deluded people. They aren't as much stupid as simply mentally drailed in a very narrow aspect of reality. That's how I see it anyway.

Fifthgen said...

Hump; Jane is just another clueless Holly-weirder who is guilty because she knows it wasn't her own talent that got her in the movies - it was the fact her name was Fonda! Then she amassed more guilt as she made a ton of money, and married even more money and became an American apologist ala Sean Penn or Barry Obama! Can't call her stupid...maybe ignorant, but not stupid!

Dromedary Hump said... misunderstand. I'm not calling fonda stupid; I was calling her Maoist defender on fb stupid for her insipid comments.

No..I call Jane Fonda a traitor and also call her the future beneficiary of my grave side urination.

Dromedary Hump said...

{{{following rec'd via email from Gene in Florida, and reposted here with his permission}}}

Somewhere in my digs there is a lapel pin. It is nicely done, and it displays text that says; "stupid people shouldn't breed". Right now the whole damned Republican party seems to have contracted the stupid virus.

Recently a local leader of a large conglomeration of Tea Party adherants was fulminating against some point of political interest. She vowed that: It is against the bible and against the constitution".

That point is addressed in neither of those illustrious texts. It is difficult to ascertain whether she was consciously lying or that she is just plain stupid.
(no it was not Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann) H.L. Mencken is said to have said: "You will never go broke by underestimating the American people"

Helga said...

Dear Hump, I love your rants, but feel the 'graveside urination' comment re J Fonda, unworthy of your great analytical mind! You fought in Vietnam, as did my late husband, and the impact is lifelong. Fonda made a hugh mistake, but went on to apologize (yes, ok rather late!), Her fb apologist obviously hasn't moved on. The point is YOU are a different person now from the one who swallowed what your government threw at you all those years ago.. We have ALL made total fuck-ups, especially when's really a test of one's mettle how much one has matured, apologized for the fuck-ups, and improved over the years; you have, JF has, the fb writer, not so much....

Dromedary Hump said...

Grave side urination is whatI do. I have plans to similarly annoint Fred Phelps', and Pat Robertson's final resting place, should I be fortunate enough to outlast them.

I am unmoved by Fonda's apology...18 years after the fact. I have no obligation to forgive and forget. It does not affect my life, I don't obsess over it, I rarely think on it at all. It is simply is a reality of history which I refuse to accomodate.

Yes, I'm smarter than I was at 19. And yes, the war was wrong and a hideous waste of human life. and yes, I am more cynical about what the government tells us.

But none of that changes the smile on her face as she looked thru the AA gun sight that shot down american planes. Nor does it erase the radio broadcast which called the NVietnamese a peace loving people ( they infact invaded S Vietnam in case anyone has forgotten). All while boys who only wanted to survive were fighting against and dying at the hands of those with whom she sided.

There are mistakes made in life that transcend forgiveness. IMO Fonda committed one of those mistakes. I'm guessing my rejection of her apology don't much matter to her, nor should they.

Anonymous said...

Before we brand someone a "traitor", it must be remembered that the definition is "To betray one's country or a cause"- nowhere does it guarantee that the country or the cause in question had to automatically be right. Were someone in Nazi Germany to have spoken out against the extermination of Jews, they would have also been also labeled a "traitor", and rightfully so. Does this also mean, if I may take the idea and run with it, that all the people who demonstrated against the Vietnam War were traitors, in that they gave "aid to the enemy"?
The flamboyant manner in which Jane Fonda did so, coupled with her visibility as a celebrity, made her the focus of hatred which continues to this day, yet, if what she did contributed in any way to shortening this heartbreaking conflict, is she really to be condemned? Another point is that Vietnam was never a "real", declared war, thus she could not be formally tried for her actions, as was Axis Sally after WWII. American involvement ramped up after the Gulf of Tonkin "incident", which was as trumped-up a reason for war as the nonexistent WMDs in Iraq, another conflict which has claimed thousands of American lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, the majority of them civilians.
Of course I know I will be castigated by the veterans for my viewpoints- the underlying motivation being that to question the war is to do disservice to the 50,000 young Americans who died. Yet, an estimated 2 million Vietnamese (both sides) perished in a conflict that was prolonged and intensified by our involvement. I would expect a group of free-thinking people to realize that, their heroism and sense of duty to country notwithstanding, the casualties were dupes of a system that continues to trick young men and women into fighting and dying in conflicts today for no better purpose than to enrich the multinational corporations that control our government and military.
The original quote:
"My country, right or wrong: when right, to be kept right, when wrong, to be put right, but my country, right or wrong."
Is it really "our" country, anymore?

Dromedary Hump said...

your exampe of a german standing up for jews is off themark, a terrible attempt at an analogy. Please don't even try to defend it.

and this has nothing todo with "my country right or wrong". My country was Wrong and Fonda was wrong.

One does NOT travel to an enemy nation during time of war, a nation who was the primary aggressor, who is seeking to annex a neighboring nation with whom we have an alliance. who is killing US troops, torturing them in their prisons and while there smiles, hobnobs, radio broadcasts, and mans their a ploy to unilaterally demoralize your nation's fighting men who could give a fidders fuck about the political aspects.

A patriot of consceience does their protesting at HOME. Burning draft cards, lighting buildings on fire, rioting in the steets, protesting, interrupting congress, marching, kidnapping govt officials, let me say it again...FINE!!!

A citizen of one nation does NOT go to the enemy nation to give them aid and comfort.

Anonymous said...

So far as North Vietnam being the "primary aggressor" is concerned, you need to go back and read some history. Until 1955, what we called "North" and "South" Vietnam were one country. France took the country by force in the 1850s, and set about installing their "favorites" (Catholics) in power, and milking the country's resources. Communist, and many other "anti-colonial" resistance groups flourished, in all of the country, and were violently suppressed.
When France was defeated by Germany in WWII, the Japs invaded and allowed the Vichy French to administer the country for them. With Japan's defeat, the French set about to reestablish their control, leading to the first Indochinese war against the Vietminh, the largest of the resistance groups. The US footed 80% of France's bill for this. After France's defeat at Dien Bien Phu, the Geneva accords in 1955 divided the country into two parts and promised free elections within 300 days. Ngo Diem, Catholic premier of "South" Vietnam ignored the accords, and the election was never held. US advisors agreed that 80% of the population would have probably voted for Ho Chi Minh.
Wrongs abounded, on both sides: The "North" executed 8,000 people in a land reform program, and Diem executed 12,000 Communists,.At this point, it could be said that it was mostly a "Catholic v/s Communist" conflict; Catholics being perceived as the "tools" of outside occupiers, most fled the south, while most Vietminh sympathizers fled north, both groups fearing death.
Evacuation of Catholics to the south was aided by the US 7th fleet, to help prop up a corrupt government that, however, was not communist (Ho Chi Minh admired the US, and had begged for its help and recognition in the fight against France, but was rebuffed and had to turn to the Chinese communists; he patterned the their constitution on ours.).
Diem won his first "election" with a 93% majority; odd in a country where the majority of voters were Buddhist, and hated him for suppressing their religion, and for not instituting land reform, which kept farmers in debt to wealthy landowners.
After the "Gulf of Tonkin" incident, now widely recognized as being fabricated, Pres. Johnson began the "Arc Light" and "Rolling Thunder" bombing campaigns against the north,which lasted for three years and dropped more tonnage of bombs than had been dropped in all of WWII.
To divide a unified country into two parts, and then label one half the "aggressor" because it tries to take back what it considers its own is, to use the term again, ludicrous. I do not by this mean to condone violence; Ho Chi Minh urged the Vietminh sympathizers in the south to use nonviolent means to reunify the country, but the leadership of the southern elements ignored him and took matters into their own hands.
One must look at the times to see the nature of this "war": the "domino effect" was seen to be an ongoing phenomenon, and Communism as a relentless, "unholy" enemy bent on conquering the world. The era of the late 50s and early 60s was one of small countries throwing off the yoke of colonialism, often with outside entities delineating "national" boundaries which ignored religious, political, and ethnic differences, the results of which are still killing people in Africa and the Middle East.

Dromedary Hump said...

Thanks for the lesson...albeit, it was superfluous to the issue.
Given enough time, effort, and the riht motivation Japan could be shown to have been justified in it's attack on the US; Korea could be declared an intrusion by UN forces into a simple civil war; etc.

One must look at a situation in the context of the times in which it is taking place. Nothing changes the facts of Fonda's obscene and ill conceived actions and support of an enemy nation.

BTW...if you are going to comment, use a name from now on please.

Dromedary Hump said...

PS: Unless you were a combat soldier in Vietnam, which I doubt, I find your complete dismissal/avoidance of the psychological effect Fonda had on US troops troublesome. Perhapps it's not on your radar screen, having the benefit of exhuberant youthful hindsight analysis and the complete absence of any real connection to the times, war, or military service.

Louis said...

It's interesting that you insist on my using a name when your site lists "anonymous" as an option.

Your "ad hominem" argument as to whether or not I was a veteran, and your attempt to discredit my entirely factual outline of the war by the claim that "anything can be proven to be anything, given enough time and effort" are not the sort of comments I would expect from a true freethinker. It is obvious that you choose to blame the deaths and dismemberment of your friends and comrades in that war on the "enemy", and have transferred that hatred to anyone you associate with them. When does an enemy stop being an enemy? We now have trade agreements with Vietnam, and thousands of American veterans have been received warmly there as tourists. There are many Vietnam vets who have recognized our government's culpability in this sad affair, and they can still honestly mourn and respect the dead.
Your desire to piss on Fonda's grave shows an implacable, ongoing desire for revenge identical to that which has fueled the conflicts in the Balkans and the Middle East.

One general made the comment during the Vietnam war, "The only way to win it is to put the entire population of South Vietnam on ships, take them out into the South China Sea, and sink them".

In my experience, I have found that to oppose a faulty belief system with force only serves to strengthen it, be it Communism, fundamentalist Islam, or even fundamentalist Christianity. The only strategy that works is incessant and pervasive education as to what the facts really are (whether we like them, or not), education as to how to identify and avoid falling prey to these spurious belief systems, and a sincere attempt to create an improvement in the economic condition of the common individual (this is especially important in underdeveloped countries with their burgeoning populations of disenfranchised young men).
What I found most disturbing about what Fonda did was her turning over to the North Vietnamese a note which one of the POWs she was introduced to attempted to pass to her, which detailed the real conditions of their captivity. The POW, and several others, were subjected to additional beatings and torture as a result. This, I felt, was a true "betrayal"- a betrayal of simple human compassion by which one should not wish to see ANYONE, on any "side", treated in such a way. This incident shows me that she was not really for "peace" at all; she was as locked into the "us v/s them" mindset as thoroughly as any flag-waving, "America is always right" type: she just ran it the opposite way.

Dromedary Hump said...

I didnt insist you use your name, I asked you to use it so I can identify you as other than anon. Louis isn't such a bad name, and it doesn't even have to be your real name.

again..the history has zero to do with my anomosity to fonda.. one doesnt go to the enemy country to degrade your nation and build up theirs. Its that simple. You can bog yoursel down in history, go back 1000 years if you like, it changes nothing about the ONE particular fact.

My reference to your not having been a Vietnam combat veteran is not an attack...infact I can't even imagine how you come to that conclusion... it's to put into perspective the soldiers opinion given they were most affected by Fonda's action. Likely, and i stand by this, you cannot relate to their feelings.

I agree with your take on the reason for her actions. That would be enough for me to want to pee on her grave. That it troubles you not goes back to your lack of personal association with her actions. That you can't feign a degree of empathy to my perspective given MY association exemplifies your disassociation.
I imagine you would call the very few survivors of the Bataan Death march, who to this day dispise their Japanese tormentors just midguided Balkanized cry babies.

Finally, the POW messages and subsequent torture due to her turing it over to NV authorities is a fiction, an exaggeration., One would expect somepone as versed in Indo Chinese history as you have presented yourelf to be to have at least researched and verified that liable.

Thanks for your input. I think we've exhausted this exchange, Louis.

John said...

While I salute your stance against religious orthodoxy (fellow atheist), I offer one word for serious consideration: nationalism.

While I honor those from all nations who are drafted or dragged to fight rich men's wars, let's resist the orthodoxy and craven subservience to power that separates "us" from "them": nationalism.

As free thinkers, rationally, we can reject destructive national authority, just as we reject irrational religious authority and ignorance.

Regardless of young Ms. Fonda's celebrity transgressions, crossing national borders, even when at war, should not incite rational people to name-calling, nor to obedience to any of our own Dear Leaders in the U.S.

-John in Boston

Dromedary Hump said...

I understand your position, I think.

Then to be consistant I imagine you'd have to proffer that the personages and actions of benedict arnold, aldrich ames, robert hanssen, john walker, jr. , should be afforded the same respect and acceptence as Jefferson, Adams, Washington and Franklin... and that calling them by the name traitor would be "irrational."

Sorry, but theres a big difference between blind nationalsim and knee jerk respect for authority; and disdain for those who, regardles of their motives/best intentions, act against the interests of their nation and well being of the troops.

I'm not an anarchist to whom injurious action to our national interests is no different than injurious actions to those nations who hate us, the former simply provoking a shrug.