Stuck on Stupid

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Ben Cohen
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by David Glenn Cox

Hello, everyone. My name is Dave and I’m a news junkie.

"Hi, Dave," the room answers.

I
come from a family of addicts. Even as a child my parents gave me books
and magazines, and even a dictionary. So at this stage in my life I
feel I’m too far gone for help. It started innocently enough, sports
trivia, but before I knew it I was hooked on facts. I read
encyclopedias in the dark under my blanket with a flashlight, and when
I found a name that I’d never heard of I would remember it and study up
on it.

Benjamin Disraeli, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill,
Richard Nixon. Then I started having trouble in school. The teacher
would ask a question and when I would raise my hand the teacher would
say, “Would anyone besides David like to answer the question?” It was
only facts that I was hooked on, and I wasn’t so bad.


But I
was terrible in math, so didn’t that balance it out? I was ok in
science; I knew that Madame Curie discovered radium and died from
radiation sickness. I knew that Louis Pasture invented pasteurization
and that the cure for small pox came from studying cow pox, but when
you started to do the math problems, I became very quiet.

Then,
when I was in high school I got a job at the high school radio station.
News copy straight off the feed. Before I knew it I was main lining the
Associated Press. Reams of copy and it was free!

I read that
Churchill’s favorite book was Gibbon’s, “Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire,” so I went to the library and read the first volume. When I
went back the second volume was checked out; that’s when I knew that I
was hooked. I had to have that book! I woke up in the morning wondering
if it had been checked back in. I went to sleep at night thinking, you
moron! Finish the damn book!

Then I did the unthinkable, I asked
for it for Christmas. My parents thought it was so funny, when they
were the ones who had gotten me hooked on this shit in the first place.
“Wouldn’t you rather have a new baseball glove or a basketball?”

I
got the books; I’ve read them twice. Then I found Churchill’s five
volume “The Second World War.” From there I went to “Rise and Fall of
the Third Reich” which took me to “Berlin Diary” and finally back to
Albert Spear’s “Spandau Diary.”

Then it was on to the Etruscans
and the Greeks, and that led me to prehistory because once they’ve got
you hooked on facts you stay hooked. I was on a steady diet of an
ever-expanding maze of history and facts. I took the National
Geographic geography test and correctly named all the world capitals,
but a closer investigation of the instructions prompted me to slow down
as they only wanted the name of the country and not the capitals.

I
was no fun at parties. As soon as they pulled out Trivial Pursuit I had
to leave or else I would be discovered. For fun I once entered a trivia
contest in a bar. It was just for fun, right? I won fifty bar bucks but
had to spend it another night because of all the hard looks I was
getting. I can’t help it! My parents made me this way! If you say
longest river in the world, I can’t help myself. It just pops out, “the
Nile.” Or tallest mountain in North America? Mount McKinley, discovered
by George Vancouver in 1794, the same Vancouver that the city is named
after. Oh God, I can’t stop. I need help!

Then, when the
Internet was invented I, like millions of Americans, found myself
searching websites for… Who said porn? No, I was hanging out in the
Louvre and checking out items from the Vatican library. I began to read
newspapers from all over the world. That’s when it all started to go
bad and began to spiral out of control. American news sites started
cutting the good stuff with infotainment. I just couldn't get off on it
anymore, and I started going into withdrawal.

I wanted the war
news and the news from the budget hearings, but all I could get were
stories about Roman Polanski and his thirty-year-old rape charges. I
wanted stories about the guy being prosecuted who left office ten
months ago. Then I saw a story, “Will Miley Cyrus bump off The Black
Eyed Peas?” Oh, God, I think I’m going to be sick. Miley Cyrus was
invented by Disney! She’s a character like Scooby Doo; reasonable
adults don’t ask if Scooby Doo could be the next Hollywood break out
artist. He’s a cartoon, for God sakes.

I watched the tea baggers
and the birthers and all I could think was that maybe someone is
putting something in the water. Maybe those chem-trails that they are
always talking about are full of stupid dust? I admit it, I read the
story about the desecration of Ted Williams corpse. I’m guilty but what
was more shocking than corpse desecration was the attitude of a New
York newspaper that thought it was funny because Williams played for
the Red Sox! Come here, let me slap you like your mother should have!
It’s a dead body and it doesn’t matter who it played baseball for in
life, because only sick people desecrate dead bodies!

David
Letterman sex scandal! What sex scandal? He had consensual sex with a
woman and they tried to blackmail him. That’s not a scandal, it’s a
crime! Letterman is a comedian, not the Pope. People are going to tell
jokes about him and like a comedian he will laugh them off. He’s in the
comedy business; he knows how the game is played.

But just when
you think that the Republicans have reached rock bottom, they dive even
deeper. After screaming about birth certificates and what his wife
wears and his alleged connection to corrupt Chicago politicians, now
it’s how Obama lost the Olympics. I get pretty tired of the corrupt
Chicago angle. I was born and raised in Chicago. The garbage got picked
up, the streets were clean, and crime was lower than a lot of other
places. But it's always about the corrupt Chicago politics. I’ve been
all around this big old world, north, south, east and west, and
anything that is going on in Chicago is going on in your town, too.

Three
days ago the Republican pundits claimed Obama didn’t need to go to
Denmark because the crooked Chicago politicians had the deal already in
the bag. Now honestly, if Houston had been trying to get the Olympics
would anyone have faulted George Bush for trying to assist in getting
the games for Texas? If Sarah Palin had been trying to get the 2016
summer games for Alaska, would it have been wrong if she took the state
Greyhound Bus to Denmark? No one would have complained until she
announced that she would try again next year to bring the 2017 games to
Alaska.

Even the so-called real news sites are buying in with
stories about Knute the polar bear and his birthday party, or the stray
cat that became the stationmaster for a Japanese railroad. You've got
to help me! I need a fix! I need real news! News about people and not
just their sex organs. If you want to know about fashion week in Milan,
read a fashion magazine. That’s not news! Jon & Kate, get baked;
there are millions of divorces each year. Sorry to hear about yours,
but it’s not news.

“Intelligent people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people.” (Dear Abby)

We
are not a nation of idiots despite the media’s best efforts to make us
into such. There’s a song written by George Jackson and performed by
Shirley Brown with the lyrics, “I’d have to be stuck on stupid, in a
super market, shopping for brain.” Exactly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98ht-KYm5ZI

So, that’s my story. Do you think your group can help me?

“Did they really make a stray cat into a stationmaster?”

“I think Jon’s an asshole!”

“Yeah, but Kate’s a bitch!”

Oh, God no! This isn’t happening! I’m going to wake up now! I’m going to wake up now!