Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Postman enters an Army base.

“What’s in the package?”

“Oh, probably a bomb.”

That’s a… joke? …your author asks.

They evacuate the base.

When they find out it’s a joke he’s charged with… terrorism?

Did one idiotic attempt at humor create an idiotic: over the top, response? Pass it on like a mutating virus that gets worse every time it’s passed on?

I was a substitute for about ten years. I was hoping, when I was home from my tours, to make some extra money. However I found out when I started doing more shows locally that my schedule was so fragmented being “on call” didn’t work as well. Well, that’s one reason. The other was way too much of the following…

Entering my next class I found a student standing on a chair.

“What are you doing up there? Get down.”

Sheepishly, he complied. But what I hadn’t seen is above a cabinet the teacher had a ceramic pig with a big hole in the nose. The student had wadded up a paper and put it in the hole to make it look like an elephant. The teacher next door found out from some other student what he had done.

Detention? Yeah, maybe.

Make work like write offs? Eh, OK.

No, the teacher called the police and tried to have him hauled off for vandalism.

Good grief.

Sometimes idiocy is simply an over reaction to a problem that started with a milder form of idiocy. I always found it idiotic when I was in school that administration and teachers turned away from bullying, tried to put solving the situation all off on the bullied: usually with advice that just made it far worse.

“Ignore it.”

“Be nice to them.”

“Kill them while they sleep by targeting their bedrooms with Monty Python’s cow catapult.”

OK, I made that last one up to amuse myself with my own “over reaction” to past tense bullies.

The school system where I substituted had a “solution.” If a student claimed to have been bullied both teachers on a playground had to stop and talk it out with both bully and accuser. Of course those seeking attention knew this and, well, sought attention. The kids knew they would be able to distract the teachers that way: a sport especially popular in Middle School. Hell, it was popular when I was a kid and it was called Junior High.

What a mess: caused by an idiotic over reaction to idiocy: having no policy… So let’s create an unworkable one!

I still wonder: an anti-bully policy created by a former bully who thinks bullying is some right… some “necessary” passage to adulthood?

One can see this on the national stage, politically. Screams of “Obama is a Socialist” just aren’t over the top enough now. Now he has to be some Nazi, Commie, traitor, radical, Socialist, Kenyan… blah, blah, blah. Never you mind that many of those terms contradict each other, or that people who smugly point out that Nazis were “National Socialists” intentionally ignore that the modifier “National” negates the kind of socialism they think they are complaining about to begin with. To paraphrase Mussolini, it shouldn’t be called National Socialism but Corporatism… that describes the product far better. And Communism, and Socialism to a far lesser extent, could be relabeled, “Anti-Corporatism,” if we are being accurate.

In fact, one could claim that the most extreme forms of Communism and National Socialism are both over the topic reactions to each other.

But the type of rhetoric used these days often has nothing to do with “accuracy,” and everything to do with trying to out shout, outdo, each other… much like when one “professional” wrestler slams another down the next move is to find some object to break over the others head.

And a crowd filled with idiots applauds and roars with approval!

Sound anything like recent “debates?”

Such idiocy has dangerous consequences…

When Bill O’Reilly decides that to get to the next level, to get more attention, to get better ratings, he’ll call for al Qaeda to attack San Francisco…

…when right after Gabrielle Giffords; several people murdered, the Republican Party holds a very public fundraiser by selling raffle tickets to win the exact brand and type of gun used in the crime…

…when “humor” is considered by some to be Ann Coulter saying the only way to talk to a Liberal is with a baseball bat, and that she only regretted that Timothy McVeigh didn’t target the New York Times…

What does one expect might happen next?

Free speech should not be treated as some license allowing anyone to encourage murder or beatings. And many of those who committed these crimes were found to have read these horrific examples of “free speech” and taken them to heart.

I have found, ironically, that Left or Right, those who love to spout the phrase “personal responsibility” over and over don’t believe it applies to them. And, by no means, is the Left absolutely innocent. The Right just seems to have developed it into a “fine” art, much like executing the “final solution” was considered “an art” by some.

And it just seems to be getting worse.

So, as I watch politicians try to outdo each other in this election year, I wonder…

Is idiocy viral?



Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2011
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved

By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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12 years ago

Ask the adleditor of the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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