stupid has a pricetag
March 21, 2010, 9:41 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: ,

Smart critiques, stupid creates, so says Diesel.  I know I’m not to think about this too deeply, so I decided to anyway, because they keep telling us not to think and they’re always wrong.

They’re sort of right: stupid does create.  Stop making sense, said David Byrne.  But, somehow smart has to be play a role.  I mean it can’t be completely left out, can it?

It seems like an entirely crazy time to send out this message.  There are so many really big institutions and orthodoxies that we aren’t allowed to question these days.  There is mass ignorance in the cultural response to what the banks are doing to us:  a stupid reverse French Revolution in which the people revolt against what is actually good for them.  And I still can’t believe how long it took us – the smartest generation? – to figure out that the last big American war was built on a bluff – six friggin’ years!  Now that’s stupid.  We still think two weeks vacation in a year is a good idea – stupid.  We let guys who got rich making mediocre companies make health policy – stupid.   The list goes on.

Stupid has a pricetag, always has.  People die in stupid wars, lose their houses and jobs when stupid men make stupid bubbles.

I teach design and the guy who came up with this ad slogan went to design school.  For three or more years she was given design briefs, to which she responded with design proposals, was critiqued throughout, and publically presented her work to final review boards of critics.  Unless a hermit, he benefited from the conversations he had with his professors and peers.  A lot.  Life is a conversation.  You can saddle up and gallop off alone into the great beyond every once in a while, but you always come back, for dinner, for company, to find out what you did wrong, to make it better, to join the conversation.

So in a sense, smart critiques, and stupid creates.  And yes, the opposite too is true.  But as ideas they’re definitely not mutually exclusive.