What, Me Worry?

January 17, 2013

Mass enstupidation worries a lot of the Edge-heads. David Gelernter cruelly reproduces part of a piece Sean Penn wrote for the Huffington Post. That you can be rich, famous, and admired by millions while having the IQ of a nematode is not news, but reminders never hurt. (Penn’s words are the penultimate graf in Gelernter’s piece: The editors forgot to indent it. God bless the editors of Taki’s Mag, who never fail to follow my indentation instructions!)

Roger Schank lets fly at stupidity in general, along the way committing some stupidities of his own:

We say a prescription drug works miracles but fail to ask about what we really know about what else it does.

Do we? So why does every drug ad on TV consist of 15 seconds of promotional praise followed by 45 seconds of hair-raising warnings about side effects?

Matt Ridley likewise fails to spot the beam in his own eye when he worries about sinister forces manipulating us into “doing stupid things.” Like what? Like “erecting barriers against immigrants.” So I guess the Japanese, Israelis, and Swiss are stupid. I guess the postwar USA was seriously stupid until Ted Kennedy came along to destupidate us.

Fashionable worries about demography get an airing. Did you know that while forty years ago our parents were worrying about overpopulation, we are nowadays more bothered by worldwide graying? Or that China has a shortage of females? Or that religious fundamentalists are outbreeding the less zealous? Zzzzzz.

Virginia Heffernan, who to judge by her picture should worry mainly about love-smitten male Edge-heads committing mass suicide beneath her windows, takes the contrarian view:

We have nothing to worry about but worry itself.

A couple of contributors cleave to the instructions that Calvin Coolidge gave to the Massachusetts State Senate: “Be brief. Above all, be brief.” Terry Gilliam‘s entire response is:

I’ve given up asking questions. I merely float on a tsunami of acceptance of anything life throws at me…and marvel stupidly.

I’m not sure one can actually float on a tsunami—not for long, anyway—but holding the line at 22 words when asked for an opinion on some large general topic shows powers of self-restraint all too rare nowadays and utterly unknown in our political classes.

There is, in short, not much here that I haven’t already worried about in print or pixels. Far be it from me to claim I’m out in front of the Edge-heads, but so far as keeping up with worry-worthy issues is concerned, I have nothing to worry about.


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