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ALARMS AND DIVERSIONS FOR THE THINKING PERSON

Forum File

Saturday, July 27, 2013 - 12:01 am

The reading list

“Dumb likes to play dumb. Warhol would often would say to people, 'I'm so empty today. I can't think of any ideas. Can you give me some?' He would then pretend to listen carefully, ultimately rejecting every idea that was given to him. That's what made Warhol so great: he wouldn't take other people's dumb ideas. He had his own dumb ideas, which were really much smarter. When dumb tries to be smart, you get Billy Idol. Or Rod Stewart. In order for dumb to work, it has to stay dumb. But staying dumb is hard work – even harder work than staying smart. With a bit of effort, anyone can get smarter; but few can consciously and continually stay dumb.\

“Dumb doesn't go out of fashion because it is never in fashion. Dumb is stalled and irredeemable. It's too twisted, too weird, too contradictory and takes too many turns of thought to be reduced to a slogan or ad campaign. No matter how dumb they may appear, ad campaigns are invested in being smart; at the end of the day, you need to communicate smartly in order to get someone to buy something. Dumb muddies the waters. Likewise, juries and prizes don't recognize dumb. Juries and prizes were invented to award smart.

“Dumb is not an inborn condition. You get to dumb after going through smart. Smart is stupid because it stops at smart. Smart is a phase. Dumb is post-smart. Smart is finite, well-trod, formulaic, known. The world runs on smart. It's clearly not working. I want to live in a world where the smartest thing you can do is the dumbest.”

– From “Being Dumb” at theawl.com

A quiz

What should you use for a sprained ankle, ice or a heating pad?

Wisdom of the ages

“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.” – William Blake

Current wisdom

“Have 12 years gone by and our memories faded so badly that we forgot what happened on Sept. 11?” — Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the Intelligence Committee, pleading with colleagues to back the program during debate as the House narrowly rejected a challenge to the National Security Agency's collection of hundreds of millions of phone records.

Quiz answer

Ice. And go to the ER if you think you might have a fracture.

Snob words

bushwa (BOOSH-waw), n. – rubbishy nonsense; baloney; bull, as in, “The editorial writer decided he had never heard such bushwa in his life as the mayor's speech.”

Today in history

On this date in 1940, Billboard magazine started publishing bestseller song charts; and the beat goes on.

Now you know

Girls bully in groups more than boys do, according toRandomHistory.com.