Remember the Darwin Awards SM? According to their website www.darwinawards.com, “The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it in a spectacular manner!” In other words, the winners do something so stupid that they either kill themselves or otherwise remove their ability to reproduce, thus removing their genes from the gene pool. Previous winners include:
- The guy who replaced a burned-out fuse in his old pickup with a 22-caliber bullet. When it discharged, it tore through his testicles, thus removing his genes from the gene pool
- The guy who climbed Mt. Fuji in a lightweight jacket with no gloves and climbing sticks he held in one hand so his other hand could hold the phone filming the adventure. As the temperature dropped and the snow started to fall, his hands became numb, but he kept filming. Near to the top, you can hear him say, “I am slipping”, but he did not drop the phone and use the sticks, he kept filming. You can see the walking sticks spiraling in the air as he tumbled. Found later at 1000 meters below at 9,800 meters, dead as a doornail. The phone was recovered. You can see the video on the Darwin Awards website.
- The guy who strapped 50 huge helium balloons to a lawn chair. Reported by a pilot of a commercial airliner approaching 10,000 feet, the lawn chair pilot started his descent by using his pellet gun to pop balloons. It did not end well.
- The poacher in Africa killed by a rhino…….
- The guy who tried to clean the moss off his chimney with a cup of gasoline and sandpaper – blew himself off the roof of his house….
- The religious zealot who bribed fisherman to take him to the off-limits island where the 60,000-year-old Sentinelese tribe has lived in highly desired and well-advertised isolation since the British tried to wipe them out in the 1800s. Ignoring the zero-tolerance policy for visitors and bringing gifts of scissors, a soccer ball, and Jesus, the zealot’s body was last seen being dragged across the beach with a rope around his neck.
And, trust me, the hits just keep on coming. Visit the site.
It struck me however, that there is no such award (or deserved outcome) for those who demonstrate their stupidity not in action but in words. As few examples from the very recent and not-so-recent past:
- Marjorie Taylor Greene reacting to President Biden’s “American Family Plan” – “Federally funded school from age 3 to 20 doesn’t sound like education, it sounds like indoctrination,” she tweeted. “All at your expense. By force in the form of taxes.” Pardon me, but isn’t that the definition of public education?
- Kevin McCarthy, reacting the same Biden speech said, ““He’s going to control how much meat you can eat. Can you imagine that?” Not sure how to reply to that one.
- All the people who stopped buying Corona beer due to the Corona virus.
- Sidney Powell (the attorney who led the “stolen election” charge for ex-President Trump) allowed the lawyers in her defamation case brought by Dominion Systems to write to the Judge in the case, “that a judge must determine whether her statements could be proved and if ‘reasonable people’ would believe they were factual, given the context and other factors surrounding the comments.” The filing when on to state that,” analyzed under these factors, and even assuming, arguendo, that each of the statements alleged in the complaint could be proved true or false, no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”
- President Trump’s remarks celebrating Black History Month, “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” Douglass died in 1895.
- And the obviously retired guy in the Tea Party t-shirt who remarked to me that he did not want any government interference in his life. When I asked him about Social Security and Medicare he said, “exactly, we got to get the government out of that.”
I mean it when I say this list could go on for a long time, certainly longer than you would ever care to read.
My point is that simply pointing out this level of stupidity just does not seem punishment enough for the destruction of my and your IQ points caused by hearing this shit. The Darwin award winners take themselves out of the gene pool, so we can rest comfortably that we will never have to deal with their subsequent progeny. But the blathering idiots keep blathering with nary a consequence. And worse, one cannot escape it as their demonstrated idiocy results in endless headlines, stories, and news reports that are impossible to avoid or ignore. Worse yet, the bloviators on TV and social media who are making fortunes off their hate-filled, idiotic, conspiracy theories, anti-intellectual rants, get additional attention when their nonsense is reported as “news.”
Listen, everyone makes mistakes, and everyone says stupid stuff occasionally. I think it is fair to assume that will not change. But is this relentless publication of idiocy truly the price of our democracy? The first amendment of the US Constitution prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” but that does not mean that the newspapers or internet or you or me are prevented from doing so.
I mean, we cannot shoot them, right? While this would be effective, it is wrong. We cannot force them to tie their tubes or cut their vas, right? Again, perhaps effective but creepy. We cannot take their children away from them, right? That is plain cruelty. So, what to do when we admit we are unwilling to do what is wrong, cruel, or creepy? Because we must do something.
Perhaps we should introduce a variation on the Darwin Awards SM theme, say perhaps the Dawkins Awards SM or perhaps the Hitchens Awards SM or even the Maher Awards SM? Perhaps just safer to go with the Dawkins Awards SM. Yes, that would fit. Another British evolutionary biologist whose theories were controversial but turned out to be accurate and for whom poking large intellectually salient holes in others’ non-fact-based arguments is legendary.
And, when one receives a Dawkins Award SM, that is, when a person demonstrates that they are consistently and habitually (or genetically or chromosomally) incapable of not saying stupid stuff, we should adopt limits. Upon being named a winner of a Dawkins, responsible news outlets adopt a policy not to quote those speakers for a period – say 12 months, and then the clock resets. After all, this is America, land of second chances. However, being awarded a second Dawkins is cause for a total ban from social media and any quotations in mainstream media.
We also need to bring back some updated version of the old media “fairness doctrine” so all the nonsense spouted on Fox, ONN, NewsMax, and MSNBC (among others) must be balanced by equal time by the other side. Thus, you can say all the stupid stuff you want, but cannot expect a) to be quoted by the press or b) not to have someone contradict you for free.
Our collective cognitive and intellectual ability as a people and as a nation are at stake, evidenced in part by the sheer number of people who believe this nonsense. We are being worn down by idiocy and it is taking its toll. Action, people, action.