OPINION: Stress and stupidity

Tin Bartolome

Posted at Jan 21 2017 06:08 AM

Sometimes, I avoid reading the papers—or their online counterparts. But that lasts only for a brief period, as I feel so isolated and incomplete without the updates. I find some columns infuriating, others funny—some are sensible and enlightening, while others are, sorry to say, really stupid or are obviously paid advertisements. I believe I would know if it is written a la Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal (for Preventing the Children of Poor People from being a burthen to Their Parents and Country, and for making them Beneficial to the Publick).

 I have had to deal with stress, trying to stay calm, because there is a great tendency for me to write the site or the publication to answer assertions without basis and sweeping statements. Some don’t even bother to do basic research.

 “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” has always been attributed to Mark Twain, but Mental Floss corrects this and credits Abraham Lincoln for this brilliant line.

 This line made reading such statements, assertions, and accusations of people who have the guts to write as if they know a lot—so much less stressful. I have come to realize at my age that there are things I cannot change and that I must focus on those that I can. 

 I recently came upon accusations against a public figure of hypocrisy, of having ambitions and being a puppet—without substantial evidence. The accused has served marginalized groups way before the idea of running for office came up. The accusations are only part of a longer piece that does not seem to have been studied and thought out—the kind of assertion made by the mal-educated and is supported by arguments that are good examples of the fallacy known as “non-sequitur”.

 The piece ended with “I, for one, would not and so you shouldn’t.” Heavens! I am prudent but not a prude, and I see no reason why she should exhort decent people who think, people who uphold human rights and know their history—to do as she says! Hey, I’m beginning to rant here and admittedly, feeling the stress.

 So, I suggest that she be allowed to write/say more, so that she gets to prove what we all suspect about her. And, to set things, right, what Mark Twain said in Eruption was “[He] was endowed with a stupidity which by the least little stretch would go around the globe four times and tie.”

 And as for stupidity, this is what he said in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: “...there are some things that can beat smartness and foresight. Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn't do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him.”

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