The Stupid Agenda

It happened again today. I was standing next to someone at the grocery store, and I could tell — by his voice, his mannerisms, the way he walked — that he was one of THOSE people. You know … stupid.

Now, I have nothing against stupid people. If they want to be stupid, that’s their business. (And don’t give me that crap about how they were “born that way.” You’re saying God INTENDS people to be stupid?!) Just don’t flaunt your stupidity in front of me, that’s all!

I’m not stupid. I’m actually quite smart, which is the exact opposite. And as a smart person, I have no interest in being approached by a dummy, or a moron, or whatever they want to be called this week.

“Wanna go watch wrestling?” “Hey, I really loved ‘The Scorpion King!'” “Morning radio DJs sure are funny!” I cringe when I hear things like that. To think these stupids are spouting their perverse way of thinking in front of our impressionable young people!

Which brings me to another point. The bleeding-heart liberals have gone too far, insisting that public schools cannot fire a teacher “just” for being stupid. A teacher’s personal life has nothing to do with the classroom? My foot! You can’t tell me children won’t be influenced by a teacher’s obvious, flaming stupidity, flouncing around the classroom, promoting his stupid agenda.

The stupid agenda is insidious, you know. They want equal treatment with normal, smart people. Just 50 years ago, no one even talked about “alternative” thinking styles. If you knew someone who was stupid, you didn’t mention it. Sure, you’d notice one in the locker room now and then — you can be sure they’d stand out there, fumbling with the combination lock, bumping into things, putting their shorts on their heads, and so on. But they were “light in the lobes,” that’s all — and they darned sure kept quiet about it!

Used to be that celebrities who were idiots kept their private lives private. Mark Twain was ragingly stupid, and Ernest Hemingway was often seen in stupid-oriented dinner clubs. Did they write books promoting the stupid lifestyle, encouraging readers to follow their example and turn to a life of idiocy? No!

Nowadays, if someone in Hollywood is an imbecile, EVERYONE knows about it. Ashley Judd, Seann William Scott, Freddie Prinze Jr. — stupid as a French horn, all of them, and not too subtle about it. Tom Cruise claims not to be stupid, but he sure has a large stupid following. And would a smart man have dumped Nicole Kidman? He’s not fooling me!

They’ve even taken a perfectly innocent word — “dumb,” which used to mean “unable to speak” — and perverted it to mean someone like them. Oh, and THEY can call EACH OTHER “dumb,” but heaven forbid I say it, or shout it at them as I drive past a group of them standing in the middle of a busy intersection outside a Wal-Mart! Then, all of a sudden it’s a “hate crime.”

Now I see the dummies want to be able to marry each other, and even to have children. Disgusting! If a child is raised by cretins, is there any hope of his NOT being a cretin? It’s tragic, but you see numbskulls with kids all the time, perpetuating their numbskullery. They’ve given them dumb, misspelled names like Arikka, Mykal and Tommus, and pierce their ears when they’re a year old, and let them grow mullets.

I can see how stupids have their place in society. They produce a lot of movies and a majority of TV shows, some of which are enjoyable for their campy humor. But does that mean we have to accept their way of non-thinking? No, it doesn’t. They do more harm than good anyway, spreading stupid-people diseases like dyslexia and rickets.

I say we round up all the stupid people, put them on an island, and let nature take its course. They won’t know how to make anything, of course, or contact the mainland, and some of them will probably just wander into the sea and drown. And most importantly, they’ll be out of our hair forever, and America can go back to the way it was a hundred years ago: 100 percent smart.

Luscious Malone, Tanny Tantan, and I were waiting for a table somewhere, discussing some moron who had recently blown his last chance to be Luscious' boyfriend. I commented that he was stupid, and that he therefore didn't belong with her anyway. He should stick with his own kind, I said, and stop trying to advance his Stupid Agenda on everyone else. Once I hit on the idea of using what people say about gays and replacing "gay" with "stupid," the column practically wrote itself. The fact is, the three of us really do hate stupid people the way some people hate gays.

I was curious to see what people would think my "point" was: Am I supporting the people who rail against the "gay agenda," or am I making fun of them? As always, you should remember my main point is that I thought it was funny.

As it turns out, there were several varied and wrong interpretations of the column.

Some people took it at face value: I was making fun of stupid people, and that was mean of me. These are the same people who really thought Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" was advocating the eating of babies; "satire" is not a concept they are acquainted with.

I got this voice mail from a woman:

Eric, when I read your article in the paper this morning, it really made me sad, because you know, of all the name-calling and the craziness that goes on in our schools today, the fun-making of children that are being called "stupid," and then you used the word "crap" and stuff like that -- as an adult, I just don't understand where you're coming from. I have a day-care and I teach my children never to call each other "stupid." There was one little boy who was always doing that, always upset the other children. I don't know what you were taught in your home, but I think it would be much better if you would call someone "ignorant" than "stupid," and all that crazy stuff that you come up with. I see your picture in the paper and I often wonder if this is a result of when you were in school, and the way you looked and the name-calling that people must have done to you. I really feel sad for you that you can't have a more mature article. I don't care if you win every award in the world, it isn't deserved. [Not even the award for Least Mature Article?!]

Interesting how she goes from saying I shouldn't call names, and I should be more polite and nice, to saying I must have been picked on as a child and I had a poor upbringing. Day-care lady, heal thyself!

The next wrong interpretation was from people who at least went half-way: They realized I wasn't really talking about stupid people, but about gay people. Unfortunately, they stopped there, and took my comments, newly interpreted to mean "gay" instead of "stupid," at face value -- in other words, they thought I was espousing the "we hate gays" philosophy.

First I got this e-mail:
This is about your "stupid" article in the Herald today. I think what you have written here is horrible. You make jokes about sending all homosexuals to an island somwhere and "let nature take it's course". You think you are being funny, or clever, or whatever, but you are breeding a hatred that will be not soon squelched. I in no way support homosexual behavior, but I absolutley DO NOT support hating anybody. You aren't being cute or funny, you are being ill-educated and hateful. If you want to do something helpful for these people, why don't you go to school and become a counsellor? You would quickly see that most homosexual activity is the result of abuse or neglect of some kind. You could be mentoring young boys who struggle with this, instead of writing an article ripping apart something that is part of them. Do us all a favor, and don't make this problem any bigger.

Adam Kynaston

Sadly, Mr. Kynaston (if that's his name; his e-mail address had a different name altogether) doesn't realize that I'm on his side, for the most part, in the matter of tolerance. I think he's probably pretty far from reality in saying that "most" homosexual activity is the result of abuse or neglect, but his heart seems to be in the right place, anyway.

Then there was this letter to the editor from a local doctor:
Dear Editor,

If the intent of Eric Snider in his June 14th Daily Herald article "Tolerance is good, but no more of this agenda" was to get a response from readers, he was successful. Otherwise, his article was a failure, bigoted, malicious, hateful, and inappropriate. Furthermore, he was cowardly in that he cloaked his caustic comments toward homosexuals by referring to them as stupid, moronic, idiotic imbeciles.

Furthermore, he masked his bigotry by his duplicitous self-justification with "Now, I have nothing against stupid people. If they want to be stupid, that's their business." Then he arrogantly wrote the column arguing "as a smart person, I have no interest in being approached by a dummy, or a moron, or whatever they want to be called this week."

While I respect his right to believe what he chooses, he has no right to verbally abuse and demean those who believe differently. [Uh, actually, I do have that right, though I wasn't exercising it here.] What's next? A column on how "African Americans are ignorant N******?" "Republicans are patriots, while Democrats are stupid morons?" "Mormons are good and members of other Churches are stupid, moronic, idiotic, dummy imbeciles?" 'Christians are smart, while Jews & Muslims are stupid imbeciles?" The core principle of the gospel is love (charity). All truly good people I have known value love over hate, tolerance over bigotry, and kindness over ridicule. [Ironically, this was a column about the wrongness of intolerance.]

While I, too, am very concerned about the homosexual agenda, this kind of insensitivity is malicious and does not accomplish much except to generate anger and hurtfulness. I'll never forget the pain of a loving LDS Mother who called me after I had spoken at a CES Education Week because she was dealing with the sadness of her returned missionary son, who finally gave up on himself because of his homosexuality. Or, as Snider wrote, let such people "wander into the sea and drown. And most importantly, they'll be out of our hair forever." Because of attitudes and expressions reflected in Eric Snider's article, this LDS young man and others like him have committed suicide. I take no pride in reports that Utah has the highest teenage suicide rate per capita in the U.S. [Apparently, he is saying most LDS teens are gay. I can think of no other way that this statistic is relevant in the context of what he has written here.]

The mother told me about an organization of LDS parents with gay children trying to deal with this difficult reality. Utah is imbued with Christian principles, all of which gain their source from charity, "the pure love of Christ." I am against homosexual behavior. Therefore, we must seek ways to be helpful and find solutions to those who struggle with same-sex attraction, while also discouraging the promulgation of the agenda of the hardcore gay activists. Those wanting to read a helpful and responsible article on this difficult issue can read Elder Dallin H. Oaks' article entitled "Same-Gender Attraction" (Ensign, pps. 6-14, October 1995).

Eric, I realize that you take pride in your "Snide Remarks." But, this time you crossed the line of human decency and tolerance. You owe the Daily Herald readers an apology. I would hope that if you do not have the integrity of writing an apology and avoid writing such salacious and inappropriate columns that the Daily Herald would have the integrity of not allowing you to write in our ["Our?" What, you own it now?] local newspaper. The columnist in Colorado who maligned Mormons in one of his caustic columns during the Winter Olympics had the courage to make a public apology. I hope you have the courage and courtesy to do likewise.

Dr. Robert Bohn Provo

The only "courage and courtesy" I'd be able to muster here would be to take up space in another column explaining the joke in this one. And I feel if you have to explain a joke, life isn't worth living.

The city editor wrote back to Dr. Bohn and explained that, if he read the column again, he might realize it's actually an anti-intolerance column. The doctor replied that if he had misinterpreted the column, then he would like to withdraw his letter to the editor. Or as Emily Litella used to say on "SNL": "Never mind!"