Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reading Idiot America With Goober The Texan And His Kooky Ideas

I am currently on the reading a lot of books part of my book reading pendulum. Sometimes I go a month or two without reading a book. The no book reading is the nadir of the book reading pendulum. Then I go to the other end of the pendulum and become a reading maniac.

I have been in reading maniac mode for a couple months now. I think excess reading does wonders for my eyesight. Currently I am reading without needing reading glasses.

Sometimes my book mania mode gets fixated on a genre. The current mania is not too genre specific, though there have been a number of Civil War books.

Among the 8 books I am borrowing from the library at this point in time is one called IDIOT AMERICA: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. Written by Charles P. Pierce.

IDIOT AMERICA seems a perfect two word description for much of America's most recent election season.

A blurb from the back cover of IDIOT AMERICA...

"Charles Pierce takes us on a brilliant and hilarious tour of the back roads of American idiotocracy through history -- skewering Atlantis seekers, evolution deniers, jackasses, nincompoops and right-wing know-it-alls with his trademark sledgehammer wit. Reading Pierce's IDIOT AMERICA, I laughed myself stupid."

Calling anyone an American idiot seems so harsh. And yet I so often find myself thinking such a thing.

For instance there is this blogger. To shield this blogger from the embarrassment of being identified I shall refer to his blog as Goober's World and I will refer to the blogger as Goober the Texan.

During the election season Goober the Texan's blog had a lot of political ranting that was not too well grounded in reality. A couple times I attempted to add some factual content via comments to the political ranting, but, eventually I realized this was hopeless.

In one of Goober the Texan's most recent posts he ended with this quote...

"I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friendship. But stupidity will make me drop you like a hot potato."

I guess I have finally learned why Goober the Texan no longer returns my phone calls. 

On Facebook Goober the Texan has been verbalizing his rather, well, I guess erroneous is not too strong a word, opinions.

Goober the Texan's verbalizations of his erroneous opinions, and the rather strident way they are verbalized, has caused dozens of his Facebook friends to de-friend him.

Goober the Texan gets an idea in his head and no matter how wrong-headed that idea is, there is no changing his mind.

For instance, Goober the Texan thinks that to be in a presidential debate a candidate's party must get at least 5% of the vote in the previous presidential election.

Goober repeats this over and over again in various ways and in various venues.

Two examples of this particular instance of Goober the Texan being an Idiotic American, one from Facebook, one from the Goober's World blog...

"And the Libertarians get their 5% so that in 2016 we have more choices. I have 100 different varieties of toilet paper to choose from, but only 2 for President... Strange."

"Unfortunately if your nutcase candidate (Libertarian Gary Johnson) would have managed to get just 5%, the one in four years might actually have had a chance."

Near as I can tell, Goober thinks the presidential debates are some sort of mandated by law operation, stacked in favor of the majority parties.

Apparently Goober has no memory of the election of 1992 when there were 3 candidates invited to the debates, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and H. Ross Perot. I believe the League of Women Voters was still running the debates at that point in time. The criteria was that a candidate had to be polling 15% support or better to get invited to debate.

I suppose Goober is too young to remember the election of 1980. Ronald Reagan was the Republican, Jimmy Carter, the Democrat. And John Anderson was an independent candidate who was polling high enough numbers to get invited to debate. Jimmy Carter refused to debate with John Anderson on the stage. So, Reagan debated Anderson without Jimmy. Anderson plummeted  in the polls, resulting in only Carter and Reagan getting invited to a debate one week before the election.

Where does Goober the Texan come up with this 5% notion?

Does Goober the Texan not know that the Republican and the Democrats have not always been the two majority parties?  Any awareness of the election of 1912? Where the Republican, William Howard Taft, came in third? Where the Progressives, led by Teddy Roosevelt, came in second? With Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat, elected?

Now, I am a very tolerant type person. So, even though, in some areas, I may think Goober the Texan is kind of stupid, this will not cause me to drop him like a hot potato......


Gar said...

Goober the Texan is ignorant in several areas. In other areas, he just doesn't explain his reasoning enough. Kind of like doing long division without showing your work.

5% of the vote gets you a portion of the presidential election campaign fund. The Republicrats each get 15 million dollars. Considering third party candidates are lucky to get $500,000 in donations, you'd think a portion of 15 million might allow enough air time to get greater than 15% in the polls...

It's actually quite impossible to get above 0% in the polls when you are not included in the polls. How do you get included in the polls? I have no idea. Ignorance is bliss and all.

I believe in 1992 I voted for Clinton and was irritated with the whole Perot thing. In 1980 I was not old enough to vote and I didn't care.

Don't confuse ignorance with stupidity. That's stupid.

Durango said...

Gar, thanks for explaining the point Goober the Texan was trying to make. I get it now. I think it would behoove Goober to elaborate more when he is explaining one of his complex thoughts. I think Goober sort of shorthands the explanation, assuming the people trying to digest his words of wisdom can connect the confusing dots.