Smart Went Crazy (or Why I’d Rather Be Dumb…)

Source: Google image search


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?  

YouTube...the new choice for a stupid generation...


2.  Dumb people rise to places of power  

Source: Google image search


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…  


22 thoughts on “Smart Went Crazy (or Why I’d Rather Be Dumb…)

  1. Personally I’d rather be who I am instead of dumb because at least I know why I’m either happy or sad instead of just cruising through life with neither a paddle, rudder or a purpose.

  2. I think it has less to do with intelligence and more to do with ignorance, but I suppose the two are probably linked. I think I would be much happier if I was ignorant about the world/science/society. I don’t know about more successful, although I’m not exactly successful at the moment anyway! Interesting post!

  3. Great post, I agree with pretty much everything. I was much happier being naive, not caring about what was happening in the world around me. Now that I do care, I am angry at not being involved for all of those years, and all I seem to think about is what will happen if a certain party gets control of the house and or senate. I was happier being dumb, but I’m proud of myself for caring and trying to do something about it.

    As for TV, I never made it a point to not watch reality TV, I just thought it was stupid and not interesting to me. These people making tons of cash have zero redeeming qualities, it is part of the dumbing down of our society and it scares me.

    • I am done with reality TV. Perhaps I should write a post on that…grrr… I think for me it’s the fact that reality shows display some of the most unrealistic television out there. It’s disturbing how reality tv participants have become this sick sort of subset of celebrity that feel a sense of entitlement. Relax…you’re no better than someone who appeared on The Price Is Right back in 1984 – you just happened to be on tv a bit longer.

  4. Very interesting. What I’ve noticed about the popularity of reality TV is the fact that some people who watch them do so in order to feel “better” about themselves. In my opinion, I’d rather be the person I am today. Being ignorant does have its perks, but I’d rather be in control of my actions than allow anyone to easily pursuade me into whatever they see fit.

      • Auuugh, Povich, talk about someone who dumbed down. His dad was such a great sportswriter who’s just got to be spinning in his grave.

        I can’t argue that dumb might not be easier in some situations, but those folks get themselves into some awful predicaments and then compound them. In fact, id even argue that the ones that choose to be dumb are far worse than those who simply cant help it.

  5. Great points made here. I don’t watch much tv at all anymore. Occassionally a sitcom to make me laugh or documentaries on Nat Geo or Discovery channel. I just can’t watch the reality tv shows, although, I do love the Cake Boss!
    Anyway, just remember, easier is not always better.

    • Yeah…that’s the only type of reality shows I tend to watch anymore…the “a day in the life of”, and even those are soooo contrived. I can’t deal with the competition style reality shows anymore. I have a low tolerance for BS.

  6. Sorry — I’m behind on my reading. First, you are understating your intelligence, or maybe that was purposeful? You are way intelligent. 🙂
    I have days like this, too. In fact, just this week I wondered aloud why I wasted so much time, energy, and money on my education only to end up in the same place with. . . .well, never mind. In the end, smart is gooder.

    • This is pretty funny. Just last night, Ian and I were watching Sherlock Holmes and he had commented on how Sherlock Holmes must be brilliant because he’s so messy. I turned to him and said “well, I’m not brilliant, and I’m messy” and he replied “That’s not what the tornado pile of laundry in the bedroom says”. Ahhh…so funny.

      Smart is gooder. I think I’d like that to be my tag line.

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