The Pure Essence of Stupid
Thursday, 12 December, 2002
On a number of different occasions, permutations of the following comment have appeared on a variety of online forums. Essentially, this is a fragment of what may be the most crystalline rant ever recorded on the internet. I have no idea who the original author is. When considering the recent behavior of the Bush administration, and of some Republicans who rally to his banner, this slice of angry literature comes as close to a defining statement as one may ever see:
"I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial fragment from the original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know."
George W. Bush holds incontrovertible proof that Iraq is in possession, and is furthermore busily developing, weapons of mass destruction. This, and this alone, proves that the Iraqi declaration recently released to the international community which disavows such weapons is a fraud. This proof also proves that the UN weapons inspectors currently raking Iraq with a fine-tooth comb are wasting their time, totally useless, and never should have bothered in the first place.
Of course, there's a catch. There is always a catch with these guys. The word "But" is inferred in every statement they make, in every claim they broadcast, in every syllable that drops woodenly from the lips of the man who would lead us to peace and security through the crucible of a war that has nothing to do with fighting international terrorism.
George W. Bush holds incontrovertible proof that Iraq is in possession, and is furthermore busily developing, weapons of mass destruction.
You are not allowed see that proof. Neither can the international community see that proof. Neither can the press. Neither can the weapons inspectors, whose job it is to locate and destroy these items, if they exist, in the first place. One would think such data would best be served by placing it into the hands of the individuals tasked to ferret these weapons out.
No sale. The UN cannot see this blockbuster evidence. Nor can the media. Nor can the inspectors. Nor can you. This is fine, you see. We trust George W. Bush to such an amazing degree that we are willing and able to be led into war without ever knowing the reason why, because we love him so very much.
You don't believe me? Ask Jed Babbin, former Undersecretary of Defense in the first Bush administration. He usually appears on Fox News to speak the Bush administration party line, but December 9th found him speaking the aforementioned party line on the Chris Mathews MSNBC talk show, 'Hardball.' Feast:
MATTHEWS: Shouldn't he have to show evidence? You're acting like it's a question mark. Isn't it necessary morally and politically and historically for this president to show his own people and the world he has evidence of weapons of mass destruction before going in?
BABBIN: He has no obligations like that, Chris. This is not a trial. This is not a legal proceeding. This is a matter of national survival and national security.
MATTHEWS: Well, how do the American people know that there's weapons of mass destruction in that country if the president can't show them there are?
BABBIN: Because they trust their president. When he gets up, as he will soon, I believe, and tells them that they do have all the evidence that they need to proceed on Saddam's weapons.
MATTHEWS: OK, so it's on his say-so. We're going to war on the president's say-so.
BABBIN: That's the way it always is.
It is difficult to decide whether this is meta-stupid, dehydrated-rock-stupid, or blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. We can be sure, however, that it is undeniably stupid to the core. The documents say "We The People" for a reason, remember. This seems to have been lost in the translation towards war. "That's the way it always is," said Babbin. That's how it was, anyway...in Vietnam.
George W. Bush has tapped John J. Snow to replace blabbermouth former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill. Snow rises to his post from a corporate executive background, having served as the CEO of railroad giant CSX. It seems no one in the administration read the fine print, or if they did, decided said fine print does not matter. Mr. Snow ran a company whose 2001 annual report claimed this as its company motto: "CSX will pursue all available opportunities to pay the lowest federal, state and foreign taxes."
They succeeded admirably in this. CSX has not paid taxes in three of the last four years. In fact, CSX supplemented its $934 million in pretax U.S. profits over those four years with a total of $164 million in tax rebates from the federal government. You and I paid for that, in case you might have been wondering. Enron still haunts the halls of our national economy; recall, if you will, that Kenny-Boy's Bush-beloved corporation did not pay any taxes for four of the five years that passed before it exploded like the Hindenburg before our very eyes. Curious that the administration would nominate someone with such a similar background.
It is hard to decide if this is merely singularly stupid, or is in fact trans-stupid. Given the current state of news-oriented journalism in America, it is almost certain to be roundly-ignored-stupid.
Finally, Trent Lott, the once and future Republican Majority Leader of the Senate, finally did what many in America have expected him to do for a long time now. He opened his mouth wide enough to fall right in. Lott, during last week's 100th birthday celebration for Strom Thurmond, the steadfastly racist and segregationist Senator from South Carolina, made the following statement regarding the 1948 Presidential race: "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."
A ballot guide for 1948 Presidential voters in Mississippi reads, "A vote for Truman electors is a direct order to our Congressmen and Senators from Mississippi to vote for passage of Truman's so-called civil rights program in the next Congress. This means the vicious FEPC - anti-poll tax - anti-lynching and anti-segregation proposals will become the law of the land and our way of life in the South will be gone forever. Get in the fight for STATES' RIGHTS - Fight for THURMOND and WRIGHT." During that campaign, Thurmond said, "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches."
Lott quickly apologized under withering fire from friend and foe, characterizing his statements as "A poor choice of words." Someone should have mentioned this to him in 1980, when he said essentially the same thing about Thurmond at a political gathering in Mississippi: "You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today."
This, demonstrably, is a pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know. This is quasar stupid.
This is the current American leadership. Go figure.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.