Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Once Again I Paint Myself as a Goody Goody...

While I can't say I'm the poster girl for confidence and oozy sexiness, I will say that I've never considered myself to be dumb. I'm by no means a mensa candidate, but neither am I one of those people who fear to ask a question when I don't understand something for fear that I will be considered stupid.

However, I also tend to go along in life, blithely assuming that pretty much everyone in the world is intelligent. I mean maybe not everyone is smart at everything, but for the most part, I kind of believe that everyone has their strengths and "stupid" is mostly situational. ( I mean really, can any of you say that you've never said or done something inexplicably dumb??)

For the most part I always assumed that if I caught someone doing something stupid, and it had an effect on me, that it was probably a misunderstanding. Or perhaps they were having an off day. Or perhaps, they were simply in an area that is beyond them. (I'm sure my Honours Stats professor still thinks I'm the biggest moron he'd ever met, but I still managed to get my degree)

I would never call someone, as a general assessment of their character, "stupid." That is one of those words like "slut" or "ugly" that I would simply never use for someone. As far as I'm concerned, it simply reflects the ignorance and cruelty of the so-called "superior" person when they call someone those names.

Now after all that moralizing? I have a confession.

In the past few months, I've met two women who, after careful assessment of their behaviour, I am struggling to not conclude that they're stupid. Their actions have puzzled me exceedingly, and I have tried again and again to sort out what it is about them that's so vexing. Since stupidity is such a foreign concept to me, it wasn't really a conclusion that would readily come to mind.

Now aside from the fact that I think it's a cruel, ignorant thing to say about someone- I also think that calling someone stupid is kind of lazy. It's like calling someone "crazy." There is no such thing as "crazy" really. There's delusional, depressed, obsessive, bi-polar...and a whole menu of options. "Crazy?" It's just vague and too inadequate a word to fully explain what someone is really like.

"Stupid" I think is the same kind of word. However, I will confess, it's convenient. Otherwise, I need to use a rainbow of adjectives for each woman to really explain what it is about them that is so problematic for me.

Woman One:
- Selfish
- Unobservant and/or uncaring of the reactions and feelings of others
- inattentive to instruction
- does not pick up on social cues
- nagging
- demanding

Woman two:
- not resourceful
- lacks initiative and/or follow-through
- inconsiderate of others' time
- procrastinator
- needy

Does the sum of each of those lists equal out to stupid? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm reluctant to use the word, but my anger with each of them is really making me want to. You see because calling them stupid? Shows that I am angry enough with their behaviour to insult them. By giving them that list? It shows that I care enough to take the time to really look at their behaviour and motivations. And really? They don't deserve it.

Yeah, it's a moral quandary.


Nat said...

A rose by another name...

Anonymous said...

It sucks when your morals get in the way of name calling. I do love your stance on the use of the word though. I am going to have to try very hard to remember that and try to incorporate it into my everyday world!

Becky said...

Crap...that "anonymous" post is me. I hit the submit button on accident. I really hate when I do that.

Chief Rock Chef said...

So young and innocent...

By the time you reach my age you realise that some people really are just plain STOOPID! :-)

Sherri said...

I sent you a Twitter follow request. Hope you don't mind. Your posts usually mirror my own attitudes.

Call the ladies stupid. It's all right to use it in moderation.

Princess of the Universe said...

Nat- uh, is that kind of like "stupid is as stupid does?" :P

Anon/Becky- Being a goody goody really isn't much fun at all...

Chief- I try so hard not to be rude. I AM Canadian ya know...

Sherri- Good point...moderation is such a lovely permissive word...

Loz said...

There are stupid people and those who are just inconsiderate or ignorant. There are some who act stupid to goad people or upset them or simply to make them seem superior. And even those who do make it to mensa are sometimes stupid. But don't take their stupidity personally. It's their problem not yours :)

Chief Rock Chef said...

Princess - Hm maybe you should pretend to be a Yankie sometimes! :-)

Ali said...

Ooh, I'm a complete slut with the use of the word stupid, lol.

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