May 28, 2007

Dumb Like Rocks or Sly Like Foxes?

I got into an exchange in Larison's comboxes. Daniel finds alarming the apparent ignorance of the front-runners in the GOP about, say, the difference between a Sufi and a Shi'ite. Given the Max Headroom programming of C-of-C favorite Mitt Romney, it appalled me that he could say some of the stuff he has, like this from the Boston Globe:
“They want to bring down the West, particularly us,” Romney declared. “And they’ve come together as Shia and Sunni and Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, with that intent.”
Another commenter, johnsavage, opined that the GOP candidates aren't lithopoids, but clever little weasels, feigning ignorance for the rubes:
Well, certainly they do know the difference. However, the GOP self-consciously views itself as the “stupid party”. It prizes leaders who share their resentment of those eggheads at left-wing universities, together with the Europeans who are similarly opposed to American unilateralism. Karl Rove, who is obviously no fool, allows Bush to continue speaking of “nucular” weapons ad infinitum, among other obvious and less obvious errors. Obviously this is a well-planned tactical move in which Bush shows his solidarity with the less-educated. Only an elitist (it is believed) would dare call attention to the President’s lack of command of the English language. Smart Republicans can see Bush’s bluff, but they actually vote Republican based on real policies, rather than gestures that supposedly show where a candidate stands in the Culture War.
It pains an intellectual snob such as I, but johnsavage might be right.

The candidate's mental process would go like this:

“The country is in grave danger, but if the rubes thought I actually could tell one sand n*****r from another, they’d think I was a pointy-headed intellectual, so I’ll play dumb.”

So johnsavage thinks these guys are acting dumb, like a bunch of teenage girls who are afraid if they get A’s they won’t get dates, or black students who talk Ebonics and fail math so they won’t be seen as “acting white.”

He may have a point when it comes to W. I went to Andover a few years before W, and I can’t remember a soul there who said “nucular” or “athaletic” or “sheeit fahr.” Ruthless adolescent mockery wouid have eliminated such locutions in short order. What’s more, you had to read and at a minimum, regurgitate, even to get C’s. Years of substance abuse and sinecures could have rotted his brain, I suppose, or W could be chopping weeds and saying “nucular” to appease the rubes.

It’s a little harder to believe, though, that all the rest of the pack went to the same clown school as W. You’d think one or two would try flashing a little intellectual ankle just to stand out from the crowd.


Christopher Bitner Hayes said...

GOM: "You’d think with all that money and programming, they’d put something a bit more sophisticated on Mitt’s teleprompter."

Regardless of speaking skills, those who spend too much time reading from PowerPoint presentations will sound like someone reading a PowerPoint presentation. It's the nature of The Beast.

(there's a certain satisfaction to discussing Mitt, a Microsoft product, and The Beast all together like this)

Grumpy Old Man said...

As a Mac adherent, I couldn't agree more.

Christopher Bitner Hayes said...

Romney and Microsoft are a good fit for each other. They kinda work, they're flush with cash, sadly ubiquitous, generally legal, but not right.

Mac is great - I'm typing this in Safari on an old G4.

Phoebe said...

Worse than not knowing Shi'a from Sunni, the GOP doesn't seem to know My Space from YouTube which might be more serious. One of the gang of misfits--perhaps Romney--opined that he didn't want to participate in a YouTube debate since they recently reported having 29,000 known sex offenders signed up. Huh? These guys are out of touch.