A Brief Divigation on “Stupid”

Cover of Planet of the Blind....man and dog....

“There’s a shovel inside the shovel” wrote the poet Jim Crenner and you know it’s true the way you know there are ghosts in the water well. Just the same, you know DNA’s base pairs are connected by hydrogen bonds. You understand this is true also. So you walk about knowing truth depends on more than feelings and intuitions. This capacity for nuance and scruple is of course what distinguishes you from stupid people. I don’t like the word stupid–it’s been used against me as a disabled fella. The big, strapping able-bodied make fun of my people. Stupid is the first thing they say about us. But sometimes I have to use the “S” word. I can’t help it. Here’s a bit of doggerel about Prez 45…

It’s easy to be stupid, just take a tip from me,
Imagine you’re the president in Washington DC
You poke and pinch “the women” and snarl
At foreign types, brag about your winning
And eat just what you like—being stupid’s
Not so hard if all you have’s contempt
And a big fat squad of yes men
Who say you are exempt.


And from a notebook:

Of course I read books
Stupid rock and roll

Amusement park graffiti
All the while

That moon picked my pockets
Parents weren’t helpful


Yes, “stupid” means “mentally slow, lacking ordinary activity of mind, dull, inane,” from French stupide…

Connected to stupor.

When I use the word I know this.

Why then do I feel I can use it and yet I have a deep revulsion for the “R” word?

What is it makes me think there’s a distinction?

Is it enough to say sometimes the victimized need to reclaim the language of their oppression?

By using it do I give the word more energy, like offering my blood to Dracula?

Dracula was stupid.

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” (Albert Einstein)

What Jesus really meant: “the stupid ye will always have with ye, but I ain’t gonna be around here forever…”

I feel so guilty, using the “S” word.


“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”

― Søren Kierkegaard

I won’t use stupid anymore. I’m gonna say, “that’s a thought plug.” “You’re a thought-plug.”

“Thought Plugger! Coyote’s after you!”


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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