Thursday, October 21, 2010

The militantly ignorant march on

One of the better columns that Maureen Dowd has written recently appeared in the online New York Times yesterday. It's entitled "Making Ignorance Chic" and it talks about some of the incredibly and proudly ignorant characters on the political scene this year. She compares them to the ultimate "dumb blonde" Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn was the perfect fantasy of every man's dreams - an incredibly beautiful and sexual being who was his intellectual inferior. Whenever they might begin to feel overwhelmed by all that beauty and pure sexuality, they could always make themselves feel better by making fun of her supposed "dumbness".

But Marilyn was no dummy and she certainly did not aspire to ignorance like many of today's politicians. Although she had had an incredibly dysfunctional upbringing that left her scarred for life, she did, in fact, try to overcome all of that. She read the classics and attempted to educate herself. She talked to and listened to intellectuals and counted some of them among her friends. The writer Saul Bellow was one of them and Dowd quotes him in her column as writing that Monroe "conducted herself like a philosopher."

Would that some of our politicians this season would emulate Marilyn and conduct themselves like philosophers.

Instead we have people like Sarah Palin who can't tell you the names of newspapers she reads or which founding fathers she admires, or her clone, Christine O'Donnell, who denies that the Constitution guarantees separation of church and state. We have people like Joe Miller and Carl Paladino running for office and threatening - and, in Miller's case, even handcuffing - journalists who try to cover their campaigns and ask them questions. Then there is Sharon Angle of Nevada who runs away from journalists when they start asking questions she doesn't want to answer and who told a roomful of Hispanic school kids in Las Vegas that they looked "a little more Asian to me."

I guess it goes without saying that all of these people deny any relationship between human activity and the global climate change which is all too apparent to anyone with eyes to see. And, of course, for them, evolution is just a myth. After all, as O'Donnell said there are no half-human, half-monkeys running around. (I would imply that she hasn't looked in the mirror lately but that would be a gross insult to monkeys.)

One has to wonder what Marilyn Monroe would have thought about this crop of militantly and proudly ignorant candidates that are seeking to win elections by flaunting their ignorance and saying to voters, in effect, "See, we are just like you."

Oh, I do hope not. I hope voters are not that stupid.

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