I know full well that I frequently think of myself, and present myself to others, as an idiot. But I can do it; it’s my right. I don’t like it, but I can live with it. What I cannot tolerate is other people―total strangers who have never even heard of me and have no interest in doing so except as the signatory of a check or a credit card number―automatically making that assumption. Their numbers are, unfortunately, legion. The assumption that everyone is an idiot seems, in fact, to be a fundamental tenet of nearly everyone with a product to sell or a cause to promote.
Probably 95 percent of all advertisers and 99.6 percent of all politicians consider the American public to be severely mentally retarded. Either they treat us with infuriating condescension (“See the pretty new car? Wouldn’t you like to have it? It’s got a horn and it goes really, really fast, and everything!....No, no, don’t bother looking at the price tag or reading the teensy-weensy print at the bottom of the screen/page. It’s nothing important.”), or believe that figuratively grabbing us by the shoulders, screaming at the top of their lungs and speaking as fast as they possibly can we will be convinced and become a bobble-head doll ("Oh, yeah! Sounds wonderful! A limited time offer, you say? Wow! I don't want to lose out on such a great opportunity. I'll take it!"). And, sadly, it works far more often than it fails.
I love glancing quickly through the subject lines in my Spam folder before I hit “Delete.” My current favorite is “Update your Penis.” I assume this involved downloading an attachment. But sometimes I merely stare at the subject lines in total awe. “Film Extras Wanted!” “Make $20,000 a month!” “Cure all Diseases”! Please! How can anyone…anyone…possibly, possibly be so stupid or gullible to fall for these scams? What do people use for brains? Have they never heard of logic? Have they never asked a question?
But the tragic, infinitely sad fact is that people DO believe this crap. Sweet little old ladies sign their life savings away eagerly at the promise of getting something for nothing, then look tearfully into the camera of the newscast telling their story and say: “How could they have done this to me?” Well, dear, sweet lady, they did it to you because, sweet and good and kind as you are, you let them do it to you. You are, sad to say, an idiot. Harsh, I know, but true.
If people stopped falling for these scams, the scammers would eventually go away. But I’m not holding my breath.
I have a few friends and acquaintances who frequently send me political and religious diatribes, usually filled with such odoriferously unbelievable garbage I grow ill from the stench. But it is a proven fact that Barack Obama, who hates America, is Osama ben Ladin’s third cousin twice removed, and that he plans to strap dynamite to his wife and small daughters and detonate them during his next speech to congress, thus destroying our entire government. Either that or he is secretly planning to impose Sharia law (just how he or anyone else may do this is not made clear) and make Islam the official and only religion of the country. Who… who …in their right mind or with one scintilla of intelligence could conceivably in a million million years believe that crap? And I have but to look at or listen to the latest pronouncement from political hate mongers to realize how very many people do believe it. It is, truly and sincerely, to weep.
And I fall back yet again on one of my mantras: “If 50 million people believe a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing.”
Which brings me back to my sense of anger, frustration and impending doom in expecting people to be what they so obviously are not—or, worse, who do not lift a finger to slow or reverse the out-of-control negativism inundating every aspect of our society. Please, feel free to prove me wrong. Please.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).