Big league stuff…

Happy new year, and all that bullshit. It’s just the turning of a page on a calendar. As U2 once put it, “nothing changes on new year’s day” so the less said about that nonsense the better.

More importantly, today it was announced that Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor will be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in July. Right on Baseball Writers Association of America. Eck was one of the best pitchers I ever saw play the game, and considering my pitcher fetish that puts him very high in my esteem. He was dazzling, brilliant and, most importantly for a closer, dominant. He messed with hitters’ heads. I thus long ago forgave him that awful mullet he sported. Good on ya, Eck.

Paul Molitor was just flat out a great damned hitter. See ball, hit ball. That was about it. I have to wonder, now that a guy has been named to the HOF whose career was basically as a DH, if the baseball whiners of the world will shut up about the DH already. MLB is never getting rid of it. Why? Because the union will never allow 30 jobs to be eliminated from the league. Get over it. The DH is a fact of life in professional baseball. Anyway, this should be a fun induction ceremony. And now we know of at least two bobbleheads that will be given away next season – one by the Mariners (for whom Molitor is now hitting coach) and one by the A’s (and probably the Cardinals, where Eck finished his career).

The other big league topic I wanted to mention today is in regard to a column in the Seattle Post Intelligencer that ran yesterday entitled “The S Factor Explains Bush’s Popularity.”

This is a bit of a pet subject of mine. Stupidity. I agree with the author that we are most certainly in danger of being swamped by morons in this country. Moronitude is on the rise. It has been for the last decade at least. I too am at a loss to explain the popularity of a President who truly has done very little good for his country without resorting to, “well, these people must all just be very, very tragically stupid.” I’m also unable to account for the millions of people who tune into “The Simple Life” on a weekly basis, or “Survivor” or “Fear Factor” or “Friends” without shrugging and saying to myself that millions of my fellow Americans really just have to be a few cans short of a six-pack.

I see other evidence of rampant dumbness on a daily basis. People driving while talking on cellular phones, people wearing trousers that are three sizes too big, the woman in the shopping cart in front of me in the market the other day who must have weighed in at about 300 pounds whose shopping cart was full of microwavable instant meals, boxes of cookies and loads of other crap that in a sane world would not even be classified as “food.” Or then there was the little boy I saw standing in front of the hardware store taunting a very big, very angry looking bull terrier who was loosely tied to a nearby signpost (that’s two remarkably idiotic things in a row – a child too stupid to know that you don’t fuck with big mean dogs and a dog owner who doesn’t know any better than to leave his unmuzzled pair of jaws with legs tied loosely out on the street).

What the hell is wrong with these people? Occam’s Razor tells us that the simplest explanation is probably the correct one – these people are just brain dead.

The problem with that explanation is that it literally gives me no hope. None whatsoever. IF the reason that I witness the unfathomable on a daily basis, the reason that Dubya gets 50% and higher popularity ratings while he’s dismantling the nation around us, the reason that every popular entertainment medium is swamped with dreck, the reason that jingoism and rampant nationalism have taken hold in our country, etc., is that most of the people around me are mental midgets then no amount of effort, whether it be get-out-the-vote drives, rants in the blogosphere or impassioned entreaties to my friends and loved ones, is going to make one bit of difference. The stupid cannot be helped. They cannot be cured.

And the worst part is that stupid people really hate anyone who isn’t stupid. On occasion I’ve had the opportunity to attempt to enlighten the mentally turgid. It’s like that old line about trying to teach a pig to sing – you just waste your time and annoy the pig. The stupid are mistrustful and filled with hate for the non-stupid. We’re friggin’ doomed. If we were on a lifeboat in the middle of the sea with these people and food was running short they’d come to the conclusion that we were the tastiest on board.

How’s that for a new year’s thought?

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