This is my advice to anyone with a keyboard. If you’re going to be stupid be your own kind of stupid. Be first. Jump in. Make people step back and say, “Wow. That was really stupid.” At least you’ll be a cautionary tale.
Believe it or not I’ve said many many stupid things (I know!) but at least they were original acts that had my own particular brand of stupidity all over it. What I find harder to respect is the second guy to do the same stupid thing.
Look about 100 years ago the guy who pasted feathers to his shirt and jumped off the bridge was stupid. But awe inspiring. And now we know for a fact that pasting feathers to your shirt doesn’t help you fly. He proved it. Now, the second guy who pasted feathers to his shirt and jumped off the bridge was just pathetic. Pathetic and stupid.
Look, I understood Maureen Dowd coming out last week saying that anyone who opposes Obama is racist. It was amazingly stupid but I’m sure that’s how Maureen Dowd’s brand of stupid sees the world.
But then you get Jimmy Carter saying the same thing, you get congressman Hank Johnson’s who say that Joe Wilson leads to “white hoods,” you get CNN, and you get Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, former president of Chicago Theological Seminary, following right behind. She writes on the On Faith blog:
The vitriol is coming from the still deeply held race-prejudices in some that are being are pulled out into the open and exposed. The good news, and there is good news, is the fact that the ugliness of still smoldering racial prejudice is there on display for everyone to see–if they will have eyes to see.
And then you have Michael Sean Winters of America Magazine. I can give a little credit to Winters because he’s been writing stupid things for a while now. He’s found his place nestled comfortably in the herd. But this particular point about Obama’s opponents being racist, even he makes a point of saying that even though Maureen Dowd wrote it first, he actually thought of it before her but just didn’t get pen to paper before her. I’m not kidding:
When I sat down to my computer Monday morning to write about the racial overtones in some of the anti-Obama protesters, I had not read Maureen Dowd’s column in the New York Times. All weekend, I had been wrestling with the question of whether or not to raise the issue of racism and tried to communicate my ambivalence about it in my blog post.
Give me a break.
So here’s my point. If you’re going to be stupid. Don’t be stupid the CMR way or the Dowd way. Invent your own stupidity. Step out of the herd. Become a cautionary tale. It’s better than being the second guy.