Stupidity: Its Uses & Abuses

Written by Robert Levin

Continued from page 1

Since I’m focusing here onrepparttar behavior of a specific person, I’ll let passrepparttar 118248 fact that no one at this venerable bank—THE SOLE FUNCTION OF WHICH IS TO HANDLE MONEY!—was able to prevent blatantly bogus currency from infiltrating its stock. As disappointed as I was by this circumstance, I’ll keep to my teller, who (her immediate triggering of a hideous psychosomatic rash on my chin, notwithstanding) had still not committedrepparttar 118249 most egregious and damaging of her offenses.

Hardly. When I protested her action and was, for a solid hour, left to watch her engage in round upon round of whispered phone conversations and huddled meetings, she hadrepparttar 118250 temerity to come back and tell me: "[The bank] has ELECTED [emphasis mine] to reimburse you."

Now I‘ll concede that, inrepparttar 118251 matter of punitive measures,repparttar 118252 antics I’ve described prior to this point may not justify penalties more severe than a modest fine and several weekends of community service. But, in my judgment, when you add condescension to rampant imbecility—AND CONCOCT, IN THE PROCESS, AN ESPECIALLY PERNICIOUS MIX THAT CAN MAKE A PERSON’S PENIS COMPLETELY DISAPPEAR FOR ALMOST A WEEK!—you inviterepparttar 118253 most terrible of consequences. Working for a great financial institution, spending her days not just behind a bullet-proof shield but in a hallowed realm of miracles like compound interest, this teller’s come to feel invulnerable—she actually believes that she’s in all ways protected from harm. To be sure, so neat a self-deception is worthy of admiration. But given her failure to curbrepparttar 118254 arrogance her delusion has engendered (let alone her excess of witlessness) I think she should be disabused of said delusion forthwith. In fact, I don’t think it would be inrepparttar 118255 least draconian to lie in wait for her after work, rip off her face and shove her smug countenance up her ass.

I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to suggest that we resort to violence and open ourselves to a potential penitentiary situation. But if I had a lapse there, it was due torepparttar 118256 cumulative toxicity ofrepparttar 118257 experiences I’ve reported and it only makes my argument. Exposure to undisciplined mindlessness can compromiserepparttar 118258 most splendid of nervous systems in a trice, and people dealing withrepparttar 118259 public who abuse stupidity must be discouraged from persisting. Collected now, ready to take a sensible approach, I’d say that legislation making gross stupidity in a public context a quality of life violation (and gross stupidity aggravated by a superior attitude a Class A Misdemeanor) ought to serverepparttar 118260 purposes of deterrence and remedy quite sufficiently.

Of course, should Bill of Rights fetishists thwartrepparttar 118261 writing of such statutes, there’s a step I’ve been pondering that we could take on our own. Though it might require us to keep a bottle of Spirit of Ipecac handy (and would obviously be most effective when we’re sitting across a desk from phlegm-flecks like that teller), we could, just suddenly, throw up.

I’m not talking about pinpoint, or "smart," vomiting that’s directed at a specific, limited target, but vomiting which, fashioned afterrepparttar 118262 carpet bombing techniques developed in Vietnam, permeates everything in your immediate vicinity. It may not fixrepparttar 118263 problem, but deliveringrepparttar 118264 remnants ofrepparttar 118265 Chili Surprise you had for lunch torepparttar 118266 clothing and workspace of a creep who’s making your life a roiling sea of excrement, would at least returnrepparttar 118267 favor somewhat in kind and figures to be immensely gratifying.

Plus, you’re not as likely to provokerepparttar 118268 interest of a criminal justice person as you’d be if you abruptly introduced an Uzi intorepparttar 118269 proceedings. Quiterepparttar 118270 opposite: you could be reasonably confident that law enforcement officers would keep their distance.

Former contributor to The Village Voice and Rolling Stone. Coauthor and coeditor, respectively, of two collections of essays about rock and jazz in the '60s: "Music & Politics" and "Giants of Black Music."

Recycle THIS!

Written by Robert Levin

Continued from page 1

Now I’m aware that it’s not that easy to resist scams like this, even when they’ve been run on us before and there is good evidence to belierepparttar premise on which they’re based. Being mortal, knowing that—at any time and in any number of ways—the most terrible thing that can happen is definitely going to happen, we are obliged to grant at leastrepparttar 118247 possibility of substance to all butrepparttar 118248 most patently ridiculous warnings of an impending catastrophe. (And, having been handed at birth a sentence reserved forrepparttar 118249 worst of crimes, we’re not only primed to acceptrepparttar 118250 blame for catastrophes, but more than ready to suffer a little redemptive inconvenience as well.)

Still—Jesus!—as difficult as it may be to defend against our innate susceptibility to manipulation, we could make a better effort. Atrepparttar 118251 very minimum we could reducerepparttar 118252 frequency with which we’re victimized by keepingrepparttar 118253 batteries fresh in our bullshit detectors and never forgetting that, more often than not,repparttar 118254 “emergencies” we’re presented with have an agenda behind them.

Recycling, for example, isn’t about savingrepparttar 118255 planet. (And no, it’s not even about making money for somebody—not really.) It’s about winningrepparttar 118256 personal salvation (indeed,repparttar 118257 recycling) ofrepparttar 118258 limited and earnest types who proposed and continue to insist on it. These people are coming fromrepparttar 118259 secret hope that if they suck up to nature by not wasting any of it, nature will returnrepparttar 118260 favor and arrange to perpetuate their existence in some other package once their current status expires.

Well I, for one, don’t appreciate it when people conscript me intorepparttar 118261 service of their personal immortality projects, especially when they masquerade as humanitarians.

It’s not that I would, for a minute, begrudge them such a reward. But given its size I think they should be forced to earn it on their own, with no assistance fromrepparttar 118262 rest of us. I can’t speak for nature, of course, but if they stopped by my place a couple of times a week to do their sorting/rinsing thing that would certainly impress ME.

I didn’t say anything about them coming intorepparttar 118263 house. Along withrepparttar 118264 trash, I’ll leave my garden hose unraveled behindrepparttar 118265 shed. They’re more than welcome to go back there and rinse anything it pleases them to rinse.

Robert Levin is a former contributor to The Village Voice and Rolling Stone and the coauthor and coeditor, respectively, of two collections of essays about rock and jazz in the '60s: "Music & Politics" and "Giants of Black Music."

    <Back to Page 1 © 2005
Terms of Use