Last week I found myself knee-deep in stupid wrapped around a premise of profound. I’m sure you’ve been there too, that moment when you’re talking with someone and a piece of verbal garbage so profoundly ridiculous comes out of their mouth it leaves you scrambling for the conversational escape hatch …
“Command, I’m going to need an immediate evacuation from this social exchange, I just realized I’m speaking with a mouth-breather.”
Fortunately, my particularly awkward social exchange took place via email so I opted for the only appropriate response in that situation: delete and move on, no reply necessary.
Typically, I consider it rude to argue with the idiotic, the ignorant, or the just plain crazy. They have enough to deal with. But then, when a teleprompter broke down at the much ridiculed Iowa Freedom Summit Sarah Palin unleashed a torrent of such verbal nonsense it left me contemplating the various schools of “stupid” one might belong to.
So, geek that I am, I create a Venn Diagram to make deciphering dumb a little easier.
- Dumb: Do not argue with these people it takes all of their processing power to string together a sentence and breathe at the same time. You won’t get anywhere and it’s a bit like wrestling with a toddler.
- Appropriate Response When Encountering a Debating Dummy: Nod your head, thank them for sharing their opinion, then give them a lollipop and a smile – it’s cute of them to try.
- Stupid: Stupid is the most evil of the idiot school in that stupid can often hide itself behind mean, snide, or cruel. In reality, cruel, mean, and snide are often just a camouflage for stupid, these people don’t have the intellectual horsepower or maturity to come up with a clever retort so they respond by going with an irrational hyperbolic retort. You can argue with this person, but they’ll leave red faced and huffing like an angry little Rumpelstiltskin. Stupids don’t respond well to having their delusional ego dinged.
- Appropriate Response When Encountering Stupid: “I can see that you’ve got a lot of emotional capital invested in your opinion, thankfully most of us don’t share your perspective.
- Ignorant: We all have a little ignorant in us. I’ve chosen to sit out the whole Capital Gains Tax debate. Due to the ubiquitous nature of partial ignorance this is the most potentially redeemable school of Idiot. With patience, Hooked on Phonics, and a heavy dose of NPR reprogramming this person might move on to live a full and productive life.
- Appropriate Response to Ignorance: “When I read (xxx official, peer-reviewed, research and policy statements that an educated person would respect) it was stated quite clearly that (xxx issue to which said Ignoramus is not privy, most likely man-caused global warming) your opinion has fallen out of favor. Let me Google that for you.
You can thank me later, or share your own moments of intellectual horror.