Tech The Rise And Glorification Of Stupid In Our Social Media World

Published on September 23rd, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


The Rise And Glorification Of Stupid In Our Social Media World

The Rise And Glorification Of Stupid In Our Social Media World

We see it every day.

We scroll through page after page of it.

Everywhere we turn we see images and words of it.

We laugh, or grimace, at it; and we share it with everyone we know, or think we know, with the simple click of a button on page.

So what is this “it”?

One word: Stupidity.

 Yes I Know, Stupid Is Nothing New

Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to suggest that we are dealing with some new kind of stupidity illness. Stupidity is something that has been with us since day one. We have all done stupid things in our lives and will probably continue to do them until the day we die.

In part doing stupid things is another way in which we learn new things, like sliding down a banister backwards and slamming into the giant round decorated ball at the end of it isn’t really a smart thing to do.

I’m also not suggesting that we all didn’t have good laughs about the stupid things we have done in the past as we sometimes relate the tale to friends, or they tell their friends during a get-together, before the coming of the Internet. Hell, in some cases we even made an art form out of telling about the stupid things we are capable of doing with the help of slapstick humor and people like Charlie Chaplin.

The Jackass Generation

However there is a difference between what great actors like Charlie Chaplin or even Red Skelton did as entertainment and what we see propagating through the web today.

Where Chaplin, Skelton, and other comedians like them made an act out of stupid things, and part of a larger humorous look at life, today we find that stupidity is the act and the only act, there is no larger part, there is no explanation; humorous or otherwise, just the stupid act there for all to see.

This is the new generation of stupid as being made famous by the likes of the Jackass bunch who’s whole intent is just to get other people to do stupid things. Not to do anything else, not to provide any life context, just perform the stupid act, which may or may not hurt them, for the sake of doing the act so it can be filmed. Then of course there’s the Dudesons whose whole purpose was to make their stupidity famous enough on YouTube to get themselves a reality television show which they did for a few years

Being Famous For Being Stupid

Just as there is being famous for being famous, ala the Kardashian’s and their ilk, there now seems to be this ever growing trend of becoming famous for being stupid. Where once the stupid things we did where either forgotten quickly or they remained within a small circle of “real” friends and family today we see the stupid things people do or say becoming the new way to gain some of the 15 minutes of fame.

Being stupid, or sharing something stupid someone has done or said, is the new cool. We don’t even have to know the person in order to publicize their stupidity as it can be done anonymously or through indirection with the click of a share button.

Even worse though are those that have no qualms whatsoever of sharing their stupidity with the world as they post their misspelled, or Internet speak as some would have it, thoughts about everything from politics to their lives. The sad part about tall this sharing of stupidity is that there is nothing funny about it as much of it shows a very sad reflection of what our society thinks; and yet we see these missives and images posted to sites like reddit, 9GAG, Fark, or any number of Tumblr blogs; whose only reason for being it seems is to capture and highlight this stupidity.

The Glorification Of Stupid

This stupidity, and the sharing of it, is made easier every day with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as people are constantly being urged to share everything about their lives regardless of what it is. Smart or stupid it doesn’t matter just as long as you share it without regard to what effect those blurted out thoughts or impulsive images might have for your future; the added bonus of course being that everything you say or do could suddenly become famous; albeit a fleeting Internet type of fame.

Add into this mix the sites out there whose only purpose is to exploit that stupidity you might at one time thought twice about sharing with anyone and suddenly there is profit in stupidity. We have become a society that seems to revel in the stupidity of others as if every share or comment makes us look, and feel, better than those we are pointing to.



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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