Friday, August 24, 2007

The Ten Laws of Stupidity (updated)

In the last post I gave notice of my intention to become Ultimate Emperor of the Universe, henceforth to be abbreviated UEU™ (spoken as “Hey, you!"). Well, as I’m sure most of you know, you can’t just take over the joint without having all the details worked out, otherwise chaos will result – and nobody wants that (you listening, Mr. President). In order to properly work out said details you need to scout the lay of the land, i.e. gather accurate and timely intelligence prior to commencement of actual military operations. It also helps if you know something about the people you intend to conquer…ur, liberate. Sorry. Being a former Intelligence Officer, and therefore a Certified Observer of the Human Condition (hang on, I’ve got a piece of paper that says so around here somewhere) I have noticed a few things about certain segments of my future subject population, which I have codified into Wright’s General Laws of Human Stupidity (also known as Wright’s Stupid List) as follows:

1. Stupid is logarithmic (i.e. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups): Two stupid people are 100 times more stupid than one stupid person alone, three stupid people are 1000 times more stupid than one stupid person, four stupid people are 10,000 times more likely to get drunk and surf naked on top of pick-up trucks in an attempt to get on America’s Funniest Home Videos than just one stupid person, five stupid people are 100,000 times more likely to spontaneously become Scientologists than just one Hollywood actor by himself, and so on. Stupidity adds up pretty dammed quick. If you don’t believe me, plot the numbers on a graph for yourself, numbers don’t lie, it’s scientific.

2. Stupid is a self attractor (i.e. you can never have enough stupid) There is nothing so stupid that somebody won't think that it's a good idea. Do something stupid, and more stupid will come to see what the fuss is all about, you don't even need to advertise. Example: Wal-Mart.

1st Corollary, the bigger the stupid, the stronger the attraction (i.e. the overall attraction of stupid is proportional to the aggregate size of the stupid): If you put a McDonalds inside a Wal-Mart, ahhh then you’ve created something akin to Disneyland for booger-eating, mouth-breathing Rednecks. They’ll get up early and come from miles around, they’ll make a day of it, they’ll put on special T-shirts, and they’ll invite friends and welfare dependent relatives along too. In fact, the attractive properties of stupid are so strong that the stupid will be pulled right out of bed and into the store without time to don clothing – take a look around and count the number of pajama bottoms you see masquerading as pants.

2nd Corollary, the bigger the idiot, the stronger the attraction (i.e. politics): There is no politician stupid enough not to attract a following.

3. Stupid evolves (i.e. stupid is the ultimate survivor. This is not the same as stupid is intelligently designed, that falls under Special Stupidity – However, all of the General Stupidity rules do apply to Intelligent Design, it’s just that General Stupidity cannot completely describe the phenomenon): If something new is added to the environment, stupid will rapidly evolve into the new niche. This is provable and repeatable; you just can’t get more scientific than that. For example: the world has changed since 911 and the old rules don’t apply anymore. Our stupid forefathers never foresaw threats to the Union, the idiots. So, in order to defend the Constitution of the United States and guarantee the inalienable rights of all Americans, stupid has evolved into an enormous new bureaucracy who’s mission statement is to search for terrorists in baby formula and old ladies’ orthopedic shoes at our airports. Also it helps if you monitor phone calls, email, and library records of every American citizen. It is a fact that if you don’t have anything to hide, then you don’t have anything to worry about. Amendments IX and X of the US Constitution are just, well, stupid. Failure of the bureaucracy to stop terrorism does not invalid this observation, it just means you need a bigger bureaucracy – so far it’s worked like a charm in the War on Drugs.

4. Stupid abhors a vacuum (it also abhors other household appliances): Just a little stupid will multiply until it fills every nook and cranny of an organization (sometimes referred to as the “Microsoft Law”). On July 20th, 1969 – less than 9 years from the date that the goal was set by JFK – NASA landed two men on the moon. Fast, flexible, innovative, practical, common sense – those were the words that described NASA in those heady days. Thirty years later these rocket scientists managed to slam the Mars Polar Orbiter into a planetary atmosphere at interplanetary speeds, because nobody could agree on whether to use English or Metric units of measurement – so they used both. Hey, man, math is hard, it could have happened to anybody. The amount of stupid in the system is directly proportional to the number of administrators in the organization. There is also a direct correlation to the amount of Power Point slides. However it has not yet been determined if Power Point slides induce stupid, or if stupid generates Power Point slides.

1st Corollary: Stupid is capable of spontaneous generation (or it seemed like a good idea at the time): Still using NASA as an example: if a big ole’ hunk of ice falls off the spacecraft during launch and slams into the fragile heat shielding tiles, then it makes perfect sense NOT to conduct a survey of the damage using an available photosat. Engineers are whiners, a real administrator knows that the best way to check for damage is to plunge the ship into Earth’s atmosphere at twenty times the speed of sound – I mean, seriously, that’s the only way to be sure. Don’t get me started on the O-rings or astronaut diapers.

5. Stupid doesn’t discriminate (i.e. Stupid is an equal opportunity lender): Stupid doesn’t care if you’re white, black, brown, yellow, red, or other. Stupid doesn’t care if you’re poor; invest your entire welfare check in booze, cigarettes, and a guaranteed retirement plan run by the state lottery commission, stupid still loves you. Stupid doesn’t care if you’re rich; even if you are a vapid heiress to the Hilton fortune, believe me when I say stupid adores you. Stupid loves the middle class, having trouble making the mortgage payment? Stupid will send you a variable interest credit card so you can buy more middle class essentials, there’s nothing better for the economy than stupid. Stupid loves you if you’re a Democrat; stupid especially loves the No Child Left Behind idea – talk about investing in stupid’s future. Stupid loves you if you’re a Republican because stupid thrives in a faith-based economy. Stupid doesn’t care if you’re smart; in fact, stupid loves smart guys – need proof? One word: midichlorians.

6. Stupid loves technology: (i.e. there’s no such thing as idiot proof, the stupid is baked right in). Symantec's Internet Security, and we’ll just stop right there.

7. Stupid is insidious (i.e. the stupid contents may have shifted during transport): Stupid creeps in through the tiniest of cracks. Of course you want your son to grow up with good, wholesome examples and experiences, of course you do. And what could be more wholesome than the Boy Scouts of America? They go camping, that’s wholesome. They tie knots and shit, that’s wholesome too. They’ve even got a wholesome motto: Do a good turn daily. Scouts help little old ladies across the street – just as long as the little old lady in question isn’t an atheist. Or a lesbian. Or an atheist lesbian. Friggin’ girls anyway, they’re nothing but evil. Who took the apple? Who? Damn right, the chick, that’s who. Hey, who wouldn’t want their kid to be part of the Republican Youth movement?

8. Stupid is tenacious (i.e. stupid endures): You can stomp it out. You can pour week killer on it. You can take it bungee jumping. You can send it on a fact finding trip to Iraq. But stupid just won’t die. And why should it? Scientists are idiots; they don’t even know what the word “Theory” means. Teach the controversy, that’s all stupid is saying.

9. Stupid is fun (i.e. stupid loves a good time): If you make an entire movie devoted to stupid, say like Jackass, the Movie, stupid will flock to it like a herd of cud-chewing bovines to the slaughter house (see, Rule 2). It’s just harmless stupid, and it’s instructional. Nothing says good clean family fun like shooting bottle rockets out of your ass. And afterwards you can put a saddle on the stegosaurus, and teach the kids how to ride. Don’t worry about the velociraptors, they’re vegetarians.

10. Stupid is profitable (also known as the L. Ron Hubbard rule): Nothing, nothing, is so stupid that you can’t make a buttload of money off it. Take a toy from my childhood for example, Jarts. Penetrating wounds for the whole stupid family. Or, a more modern example: start a war based on false pretexts and fudged intelligence reports, stupid, right? Ahhh, but wait, you can snatch victory from the jaws of quagmire, just call the folks at Halliburton and Blackwater Security. I hear they’re using Jarts against the terrorists now.

And that will just about do it for today.


  1. Ouch. So, Jim, tell us what you really think. :)

    It's my experience that PowerPoint slides are the infection vector. Stupid creates them, and then spreads the stupidity through their presentation. It's the best aerosol dispersal method I know of. Having worked behind the scenes at many Partnership level programs when I worked for one of the Former Big 6 Consultancy firms, I can say I have first hand experience seeing the stupid infect others and then spread.

    But unfortunately, I liked Jarts. I used them all through my childhood and was never hurt. I guess I never got the stupids with them. Something about a point heavy steel pin that made me cautious around them.

    Also, you fogot to mention that stupid stains. You can't wash it off. Stupid needs strong chemical abrasion to remove from skin. It's almost like poison ivy. Don't scratch the stupid or it's get all over.

  2. And before I forget, because you're on th epast to UEU, you might be interested in inestimable Teresa Nielsen Hayden's Evil Overlord Lists. Because good UEU consulting is hard to find.

  3. Ouch. So, Jim, tell us what you really think. Yeah, ouch. I had just come home from Wal-Mart, and I just friggin' hate that place. I start grinding my teeth as I pull into the parking lot. And it was just that kind of day. Stupid pisses me off and lately there's just been too much of it.

    And I liked Jarts too, but seriously Steve, Jarts? Big metal, heavy pointy darts? For kids? It's like they were asking to get sued

  4. #3: ..."Failure of the bureaucracy to stop terrorism does not invalid this observation..."

    Do you mean "invalidate?" If you do, then that's just plain stupid.


  5. I loved Jarts but I loved Clackers more and yes, way too much stupid out there these days!

  6. "Exponential". Not "logarithmic".

    Law Zero of (non)stupidity is to know what words mean before you use them.


    Some random anonymous nitpicker.

  7. Try looking up the definition of logarithmic and get back to me, Sparky. Thanks.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Not that anyone will probably ever read this (10/2012), but has 'Sparky' ever been used and not been an insult? Just sayin'...

  10. Reading this made me think of 'Snow Crash' by Neil Stephenson. The narrator often discusses the outward manifestations of common stupidity, and even introduces a disease vector that's a computer virus, a mind virus, and a biological virus...the mind virus version can allow someone who knows how to use it to hack your mind, seriously weakening intellect and leaving the victim at the mercy of more primal urges (it's pointed at knowledge workers, so they may be testing it at Symantec, mebbe? )

  11. HOLY STUPID, BATMAN! You totally described the current Republican party, what? Fourteen years ago? Especially with this:
    2nd Corollary, the bigger the idiot, the stronger the attraction
    Are you a secret time traveler?

  12. "2nd Corollary, the bigger the idiot, the stronger the attraction (i.e. politics): There is no politician stupid enough not to attract a following."

    Well, that explains every GOP candidate (and several Dems) for the last five years.


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