Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The "S word"

When I was growing up the "S word" had four letters and referred to a bodily function – or to the product of that function, according to whether it is being used as a noun or verb. Nowadays kids are taught to shun a different S word. This one has 6 letters and refers to the intelligence, or lack thereof, of some person or some idea. My grandchildren will actually gasp aloud if I slip up in frustration and say something like, "Where did I put my STUPID car keys?”

Now, I am glad kids are being taught not to call other PEOPLE stupid, but the word makes a good substitution for those of us who dislike using and hearing vulgarities that refer to bodily functions or sexual relationships. Nor would some of us ever show disrespect for the deity by using the profanities that some people use in these situations; therefore, some of us have developed the habit of using that dreaded adjective, the "S word" -- STUPID.

So today I present for your entertainment and information a few statements that either actually ARE stupid or statements that have been made about stupidity. I know that these don’t apply to YOU – but maybe you will recognize someone you know.

I recently read this one by Albert Einstein (not a name one ordinarily thinks of when discussing stupidity!) I have been wondering if Tom Cruise (or Angelina Jolie, or Alec Baldwin, or …..) have ever heard this one. “With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.”

Anton Szandor LaVey added this comment implying a possible remedy for the condition: “It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful.”

These wise words came from 14-year-old Michael : “When your dad is mad and asks you, ‘Do I look stupid?’ don’t answer him.”

Sam Levenson once nailed it with these insightful words: “Many wise words are spoken in jest; but they don’t compare with the number of stupid words spoken in earnest.” Oh, so true!

Bertram Russell was also aware of society’s oversupply of stupidity when he said: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are so cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

And as a teacher in a family full of teachers, I wonder (notice that I am “full of doubt” – see quote above) if Dorothy De Zouche was onto something when she said: “ If I were asked to enumerate ten educational stupidities, the giving of grades would head the list … If I can’t give a child a better reason for studying than a grade on a report card, I ought to lock my desk and go home and stay there.”

I tried to find some stupid quotes that hadn’t been sent around the world a dozen times via email. Here are a few:

Sure the body count in this movie bothers me, but what are you gonna do? It's what everybody likes. At least its not an awful body count--it's a fun body count. -- Bonnie Bedelia, actress, regarding the movie Die Harder

Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points they almost always win. -- Doug Collins, basketball commentator

If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very low crime rate. -- Marion Barry, mayor of Washington, D.C.

Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, "Thank God, I'm still alive." But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again. -- Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D, Calif.)

The spontaneous rally will begin at 1:45. -- Mike Murphy, adviser to Lamar Alexander

"So many minority youths had volunteered…that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like myself." --Tom DeLay, explaining at the 1988 GOP convention why he and vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle did not fight in the Vietnam War

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