Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stupidity from Urinals to Politics

This week the art world was filled with the news of the record breaking modern art sale conducted by Christie's. Although not one of the really big-ticket items, Robert Gober’s “Three Urinals” went for about $3,500,000. Even though my six-year-old granddaughter has chided me about my use of the word “stupid, ” I will say that this art news item is one of the top stupid things in a week where the news was full of stupidity.

I don’t think that the high bidder for the “Three Urinals” was necessarily stupid. I’m sure the bidder regards it as an investment that will surely appreciate in an increasingly crazy art market. I don’t think the artist was stupid because anyone who could put something over like that has to rank with the craftiest con men. The really stupid thing was the commentary that featured a breathless curator at the Museum of Modern art extolling the virtue of the “Three Urinals.” Here’s a link to a short video, or just view below.

Next in stupidity was the news that an economist from MIT, who had consulted for the Obama administration on the framing of the “Affordable Care Act”, has admitted that he deliberately fudged the cost figures because the American people were too “stupid” to understand the truth. Apparently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had to be fed phony figures (“garbage” in the words of one official) so that they could turn out figures that a stupid public and their representatives would swallow.

It turns out that despite the President’s pledge, it was never intended that the American people could keep their policies if they liked them. It turns out that popular employer sponsored plans were secretly targeted for elimination, as were popular Health Maintenance plans employed by Seniors instead of Medicare.

We can’t say that the MIT economist was stupid because he was paid around $400000 for his consulting work, and still was able to keep his own medical plan at MIT. Also, I don’t think the American people are as stupid as he thinks. The really stupid in this episode were the bureaucrats at the CBO who connived in the deception; the people’s representatives in Congress who voted for Obamacare without reading or understanding all its ramifications; and the media who swallowed all the “garbage” without question.

Here in Connecticut another example of stupidity came out right after the re-election of Democrat Governor Dannell Malloy for another four-year term. In the week after Election Day the State’s budget office released the startling figures that showed the State facing a projected $100 Million deficit in this fiscal year. Certainly, the Governor and his minions in the budget office are not stupid since they wisely withheld the information until after the election.

The stupid are the editors, reporters, and commentators of the local newspaper whose coverage of the campaign was totally oblivious to the impending deficit, and who could only claim to be "shocked, shocked" by the news. Throughout the campaign they had chosen to follow the Governor’s lead and concentrate their attention upon the Republican opponent’s character and wealth. To be fair, I have to say that Republican candidate demonstrated his own share of stupidity when he failed to focus on the impending budget shortfall.

Finally, on the local level, the head of the Fairfield Democrat committee responded to charges that one of her candidates lost because she ran a “negative” campaign. She explained that whatever was said about the candidate's opponent could not be negative because it was true. It didn't occur to her that when you stress your own candidate’s character and achievements, that is “positive.” But when you focus on the opponent’s lack of character and achievement, that is “negative.” Either the head of the local Democrat party, like the MIT economist, thinks we are stupid, or else she is just stupid herself.

Let me just end with a note from a friend in England about the “Three Urinals.” He told me that he had gone for a walk in a local park and came upon a rest station where he also found three urinals. He took a photo and sent it to me. They looked to be in pristine working condition, and unlike their modern art cousins seem to be good for something,


No comments:

Post a Comment