Archive - 2009

December 29th

The Dumbest Motherfuckers Of The Decade, Day Two

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Memo to five abstract concepts: YOU ARE THE DUMBEST ABSTRACT CONCEPTS OF THE DECADE.

This week, I'm sharing in the fin de decade ennui and recapping the Dumbest Motherfuckers Of The Decade. Each day will bring a new category, and each category will have five entrants. And since the advent of YAD pretty much defined the very nature of dumb, the lists will be weighted heavily toward '04-'09. Today, the dumbest motherfuckers of the decade don't even have mothers to fuck, because they're not people, they're aggregates, concepts, and generalities. Because as dumb as we are individually, we're even dumber when we work together.

#5: The Comments Thread

You know why nobody has ever been able to put their own thoughts in a slightly smaller typeface below a column at You Are Dumb? Because fuck that, that's why. There are situations where reader input is desirable, but in the past decade, there has been an explosion in the number of wildly inappropriate places random interfolks can stick their rambling, badly punctuated opinions.

To this day, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune allows users to comment on... letters to the editor. And while that may well be good for driving up page views and ad revenue, as the same half-dozen nitwits argue with each other every single fucking day, it does not inform or educate the public, which is ostensibly the whole reason for having news in the first place.

Also, YouTube. DEAR SWEET MERCIFUL FUCKING NONEXISTENT GOD, the comments at YouTube.

#4: The Tea Party Movement

Pigfucker Nation, plain and simple. You look out over any size crowd of teabaggers, from a half-dozen to thousands, and you can almost see the generations of cousins that must have banged each other to make this group possible.

Most of them are racists. Most of them haven't ths slightest idea what “socialism” means. Most of them haven't got the slightest idea about the percentage of income they pay in taxes, compared to the rich motherfuckers like Dick Armey and Glenn Beck who are stirring them up. And, of course, they've co-opted the Boston Tea Party's “no taxation without representation” war cry and warped it to mean “no taxation without rich, white Republican representation”. They are a blight on sanity.

#3: Wall Street Worship

One of the reasons things suck as much as they do at the end of this decade is that we've spent most of the past two decades bowing to the Dow. You had the dot-com boom in the 90's turning ordinary programmers into paper millionaires overnight thanks to the stock market, and you had the rise of the mutual fund. All of this gave the stock market, and the Dow Jones average, a much greater presence in the general public's everyday lives.

Meanwhile, a bunch of assholes have been developing more and more elaborate ways to generate wealth without creating anything of value. Which you think would be an inexcusable corruption of capitalism by the people who worship purest invisible-hand capitalism, but it turns out those guys are also a bunch of assholes, and more often than not, the SAME bunch of assholes.

And when the house of cards invariably fell down, we'd tied so much of the economy to the stock market, and let so many banks also be Wall Street options traders and short sellers and, well, bunches of assholes, that we “had no choice” but to pour trillions of real dollars into the system because it was too big to fail. Not our finest moment of societal genius, no sir.

#2:Invading Afghanistan And Iraq

Two wars dominated nearly the entire decade. One was a collective rage-spaz over a couple of buildings (in the heart of Wall Street, see #3). The other was a blend of unmitigated evil and unprecedented incompetence. Neither went particularly well. Both made a bunch of assholes rich and a bunch of soldiers dead. Neither made us any safer.

Add in the torture, the prisoner abuse, the general xenophobia, the Osama Bin Laden toilet paper, and the fact that the “debate” over the wars came down to how best to drop bombs on brown people, rather than whether it was even a good idea in the first place, and you'd have a recipe for the single stupidest abstract concept of the decade, were it not for the one thing, even stupider, that made it possible.

#1: The News Industry

Journalism still takes place in America. Journalism isn't dead. But it's an emaciated, shrunken art, like poetry. You can do it, and do it well, but you're probably not going to get either rich or famous trying.

No, the money's in “the news”, a multi-billion dollar industry devoted to telling you as little as possible, while making it seem very, very important. The short-term goal of all this is to keep you tuned in until the next commercial. The medium-term goal of this is to get you to identify with the on-air personalities so that you'll come back tomorrow. And the long-term goal is to shape your thinking along lines that benefit the news industry and their political cohorts.

This has led to the near-complete dominance of “balance” - which simulates objectivity by letting two people who disagree with each other say whatever they want – over actual objectivity and fact-finding, which points out both what people say and whether or not it is actually, you know. True. Or close to true. Or arguably true.

And every shitty thing that happened in the past ten years would have been less shitty if the Fourth Estate had done its fucking job and told people what was true. So that makes them universally culpable in every dumb thing over the last ten years. And that's why they win.