Stupid Cool. Otherwise entitled “paranoid rant 0001”. (And trust me, the use of four figures is optimistic brevity).
I’m watching Friends. Most people are familiar so I won’t drown you in wasted exposition. Joey is the coolest, the best looking, the most successful with women. He’s also dumb. Ross is the smartest. He’s boring and weak and nerdy. This correlation cannot be avoided in television, especially comedy. It all goes back to the fifties. We hate the fifties.
Picture it: America is in black and white. The cars are big and the soda-fountains are “hopping”. And, this is gonna strain verisimilitude, America has an economy. A healthy one. Which is good. So does the USSR, this is bad. Communism is spreading gentlemen, and we have to fight it.
We need to make sure our young people don’t go getting ideas about socialism stuck in their heads. We need to make sure America doesn’t become some dystopian pastiche of a democracy with no freedoms. At least, not a communist one. The USA was ruled by old men with old money back then (how thing’s change, right?) and they sure as hell didn’t want people with new ideas changing shit. No way. So lets sow some apathy into the Zeitgeist. Keep people distracted. Almost by accident, nerdiness became vilified.
Fascism, which is what all western (especially US and UK) governments have been tip-toeing towards since Hitler made it cool, relies on three key ideas to function. People have to be distracted, stupid, and just like everyone else. Now, say you’re in charge, how do you go about achieving this? The simplest way is to get people to do it to themselves.
Enter television. Let’s put dumb heroes and smart villains on every channel. Lets fill shows with popular idiots and contemptible nerds. Let’s eat the baby food and act like it’s delicious.
And we all fell for it.