Would life be easier if I were an idiot? I’ve been pondering this thought for some time now. As they say, ignorance is bliss. So I have to wonder…would I be happier? More successful? More fulfilled?
I don’t know, people…I think I’m going to have to go with “yes” on this one. At least that’s what my observations of the world around me are telling me. “What observations do you mean?” you ask? Well…let me tell you…
1. Being dumb is a cause for popularity
One word: Jackass. Johnny Knoxville and crew have single-handedly made it socially acceptable to act like a complete idiot on television. And it works. I personally don’t think that they were the first to do so – I vaguely recall a rather insane gentleman in the Niagara Region on the local access channel having a show where he would do idiotic stunts like riding a bike off of a roof into a swimming pool and the like. Then of course, Tom Green had The Tom Green Show on the Ottawa public access channel in 1994 – six years before Jackass was picked up by MTV. Certainly though, the boys of Jackass – and its various spin-offs – popularized the concept. In fact, MTV has become a haven for such shows – and oh, how they’ve evolved.
Let’s see…where to begin. 16 and Pregnant, Jersey Shore, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Simple Life, The Hills, Teen Mom…these aren’t shows that feature brilliant and witty dialogue or humour. These are train wrecks. Maybe I shouldn’t comment as I haven’t actually watched any of them. However, I weep for the future if this is what we have been reduced to as a society. I’ve heard people say they enjoy these shows as “guilty pleasures”. Well, by all means…feel very guilty for watching them. I just hope that you don’t lose too many brain cells. I truly find it sad that we are idolizing socialites…glamourizing pregnant teenagers…hanging on to every word – er…maybe every other word since “like” is frequently used as an interjection. Being famous simply for being the child of a successful individual has become an unattainable goal for thousands – perhaps millions – of people. Whatever happened to wanting to be an astronaut, veterinarian, doctor and lawyer?
2. Dumb people rise to places of power
I’m not going to make this up. When I did a Google image search on the word “dumb”, do you know who showed up in the most pictures (aside from shots from Dumb and Dumber)? George…Dubbya…Bush. The man is known the world over as not the brightest bulb in the box. Yet, he was – for eight years – in one of the most powerful positions in the world. Yes, yes…I know that the presidential position comes with perks, such as advisors and speech writers, but as POTUS, Mr. Bush gave us a brand new term – the Bushism. Comedians had daily orgasms over the new material he was providing for them. Left-leaning political commentators were like kids in candy shops the world over. When the party was over, I’m quite certain that there were probably a few flags flying at half mast over the departure of one of the world’s most popular clowns.
Yet George W Bush was voted to be President for not one, but two terms (mind you, some maintain it was still only one). How is ignorance rewarded in this manner? Why are we so drawn to stupidity? I’m still trying to figure it out.
3. Being dumb might just be less pressure
Now, I can’t prove this one. But I have a theory that if I was really dumb, people would be happy with my accomplishments. There would be lower expectations…maybe someone would just be happy with the fact that I got a job and kept it, rather than the fact that I was overqualified or underemployed. If you happen to be a reasonably intelligent person, the expectation – albeit often unsaid – is that you will graduate high school, go to college or preferably university, and sometimes even pursue further education beyond that. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a person who is still trying to survive the daily grind of popularity cliques and standardized testing.
When I completed my undergrad and made the decision to continue to grad school, I probably wasn’t quite as sure about where my life was going as I should have been. I just knew that grad school made sense for me at the time. It would allow me to continue doing what I loved – learn. I would also be able to do other things I enjoyed, like teach and research. I am now many months from the last time I actually worked on my thesis, and stare daily at that wall of completion. I reached a point in my work where I was no longer learning, but merely tying up loose ends, and I cannot bring myself to finish. There is merely a chapter separating me from my Masters in Environmental Studies, but I cannot seem to find the energies to devote to the cause because the enjoyment is just not there. But no matter what my reasons are, I will be looked upon as having failed. Because the expectation is that grad school should have been something I could have easily completed and wanted to accomplish. Would the past six years of my life have been easier? Better? Or just different? Well, I sure wouldn’t have the student loan debt.
I suppose that I should just be happy with the fact that I have a reasonable level of intelligence…that I have a full-time job that helps me pay the bills…that I have a husband that loves me and an extended family that cares. But sometimes the pressure that comes along with that intelligence is too much. It wasn’t bad enough to be labelled a nerd in high school – a label which I have recently come to embrace. But now I cannot seem to make that label work for me.
I guess I can just take my desire for learning and maybe apply it in a new direction…I’m sure I’ll be a pro in no time…