Monday, March 14, 2016

Planet of Doofuses

If I had the power, I'd rename the earth, "Doofus World." Now that I think about it, I do have the power, but it's only in my imagination, so the name change will stay there and no place else.

I wonder if the plural of "doofus" is "doofuses" or "doofi"? I like "doofuses" myself; it sounds more accurate. And what exactly is the correct definition of "doofus"? To me it means "semi-likeable moron." It's what you call someone who is an amiable klutz. You look at them and shake your head.

I'd like to rename the earth "Doofus" because the whole world is full of semi-likeable morons. Mostly. Unfortunately I'm included, although I like to think I'm a lovable semi-moron. It could be worse. I could be one of those retarded monkey-people running the elevators in Brave New World. Although if I had to be a monkey, I'd rather be one of the flying ones in The Wizard of Oz, even if I had to dress like a bellhop.

If the world wasn't full of imperfect semi-likeable morons, it wouldn't be in the shape it's in, with one step back for every two steps forward. It wouldn't be in the shape it's always been in. Religion is right: people are imperfect. Fallen.

One of the reason people are doofuses is because they follow the wrong people. I could quote Dostoevsky or Shakespeare to buttress my argument, but I won't. As is my wont, I'll use cartoons as an example, since I spend more time watching them than reading Shakespeare.

There is an archetype in cartoons I call the "would-be world conqueror." Examples? Marvin the Martian. Brain, of “Pinky and the Brains” fame. Simon bar Sinister from the old “Underdog” show.

Here's where things get scary. All of them have what I call an "amiable but stupid sidekick." Marvin has his robot dog. Brain has Pinky. And Simon has Cad, who can do little more than say, "Duh...okay, boss!"

On the other hand, heroes almost never have sidekicks, and when they do, they're not stupid. Did Underdog have a sidekick? Superman? Batman had Robin, but Robin never said, "Duh...okay, boss!"

The problem with the would-be world conquerors is grandiosity and hubris, which are the same thing and, in my opinion, the worst of the inborn imperfections in humanity. These conquerors always want to be God, like Satan did. And they always want to be worshipped, like Satan did. All you have to do is look at real-life nutcases like Herod or Nero or Caligula. Caligula went so far in his nuthood as to declare himself a god.

Not all that long ago we got rid of a president who claimed God had chosen him, and that He talked to him. The difference between his imperfections and those rulers who were much worse is not one of kind, but only of degree. Grandiosity and hubris are a slippery slope, and those afflicted with them almost never know it.

What do these cartoon characters tell us? Something really very disturbing. Anyone who wants to conquer the world is never going to have a shortage of misguided - indeed self-deluded - people to follow them. It's not a case of one Brain and one Pinky; it's one Brain and several hundred thousand, if not millions, of Pinkys.

Or, as Robert Higgs so eloquently put it: "An adequate answer might fill a volume, but some elements of that answer can be sketched briefly. The essential components are autocratic government, favorably disposed mass culture, public ignorance and misplaced trust, compliant mass media and political exploitation for personal and institutional advantage."

Many people may not take cartoons seriously, but I do. Cartoons are just modern-day myths; good ones are just as accurate as any ancient myth, because they tell the same stories and same truths, just dressed in modern clothes. Marvin the Martian is just an animated version of Ares, the Greek God of War. Brain, in his own way, is just as loony as Satan.

If you think it isn't true that wackos who wants to conquer the world will never have a shortage of goofballs to follow them, ask yourself how many people said "no thanks" to Hitler and Stalin? More German and Russian soldiers died at the Battle of Stalingrad than all of America's wars combined. Had I been there, I would have snuck away. If I could. I wouldn't die for Brain or Marvin the Martian, or any demented human acting like them.

The real heroes never have doofus sidekicks because they don't want anyone slavishly obeying them. Only people who desire to conquer want slaves. The real heroes, whether in cartoons, or old myths, or in real life, want people to be free, and to be responsible for themselves. Even it if means not wearing a seatbelt.

When Superman said he was defending, "Truth, justice and the American way," he wasn't asking for anyone to say, "Duh...okay, boss!" to him or anyone else.

Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, in his book, Leftism Revisited, understood what knuckleheads many people are. He also understood why an earth full of doofuses follow the people who lead them to their deaths. The reason, he wrote, is because the "Children of Darkness are more clever than the Children of Light" (the proper definition of "clever" is not a good thing).

What Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote is true. Many people are more liable to follow someone evil than someone good, as long as those who are evil "hide from the light" and pretend to be good. That's why the Children of Darkness are more clever than the Children of Light. Because evil always disguises itself as good. Worse, it appears better than good, because it promises so much more.

Marvin's dog, and Pinky, and Cad, are a bunch of sleepwalking dimbulbs who can't tell the difference between good and evil. All three are just symbols of the human race in general. Amiable but stupid. Semi-likeable morons. Doofuses.

The heroes, the Children of Light, always demand that people take responsibility for themselves. The Children of Darkness always tell people it's not their fault; it's someone else's. And when those supposedly at fault are gotten rid of, then peace and justice will reign. It never happens, though, because the fault lies in ourselves.

The Children of Darkness - not only in the past, but now - promise glory and grandiosity and political power over the kingdoms of the world. It always ends up in death and destruction, as hubris always does. One of the reasons - maybe the main one - is that ultimately the Children of Darkness are incompetent. Nemesis is always the penalty for hubris. Brain and Simon and Marvin always fail. Brain usually conks his head and staggers around dazed. Marvin sometimes even disintegrated himself, although, like Ares, he was always resurrected.

What lessons from all of the above can we find for today? Well. . .we have people in all political administrations who "hide from the light" and not tell people the truth. They always try to conquer a large chunk of the world, and promise honor and glory and safety. Yet, in the long run, they always fail.

Even something as simple as children's cartoons are telling us these would-be world conquerors are bound to fail. Not at all surprisingly, as the plans of these conquerer-wannabees unravel, they always, in their self-delusion and hubris, can't admit it to anyone, including themselves. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of Pinkys and Cads who still haven't opened their eyes. Until they do, they will remain doofuses.


Earl Thomas said...

There was the one time Pinky figured out Brain was bound to fail...but still followed along.

Anonymous said...

"Brain, in his own way, is just as loony as Satan."

There's a goofy but entertaining fan theory about the line in the theme song, "One is a genius, the other's insane". According to the theory, they're referring to Brain as the insane one, while Pinky is actually a secret genius who is only pretending to be an idiot so he can keep an eye on the Brain, ruin his plans, and prevent him doing too much actual damage. Certainly, the show's writers were well-aware that their lead character's ambitions were the product of a diseased mind. They even made it explicit few times, like when Brain briefly joined "Megalomaniacs Anonymous", or when he got psychoanalyzed by Sigmund Freud.

The Damage Dealing Meat Shield said...

You mentioned Children of Darkness and Children of Light, but I believe the pressing issue is: do you have any comment on Children of the Corn? :p

Bob Wallace said...

Stop making me laugh!

One Fat Oz Guy said...

I think superhero type shows actually spoil children from wanting to work with other people: they see Superman taking on everyone by himself, realise they'll never be Superman and don't bother to work as a team to accomplish things.
I also think the whole "make it on your own" thing also sets people back. When you want a car, do you build one from scratch? No, you buy one that someone else has already built. So why do we feel the need to strike out on our own and not spring board from the presumably lifelong career of our families?

Glen Filthie said...

Yes, Unca Bob, you are a doofus of the lowest order - as am I because I like Pinky and the Brain too! I am 51 years old and I still love cartoons. I don't think the modern era has really produced good children's cartoons but back in the day they used to be a dime a dozen.

Enbrethiliel said...


You know, I had been wondering why all I seem to want to do with the languages I'm learning is to watch cartoons and read comics or children's books from their respective cultures. It hasn't occurred to me until now that it's because I've spent far too much time with you!!! =P

I haven't watched/read that many yet, so I can't really name a would-be conqueror from one of them; BUT I think the little dragon Grisu is a benign form of the same. He is much smaller and much smarter than his father, who mostly humours his big ambitions--but Grisu isn't out to take over the world, but to save it. He wants to be a fireman! His good intentions aside, all his schemes end in some sort of disaster, because he can't control his fire breathing yet.

ray said...

Yes thoughtful.

Christ's view of the world is closest to the reality of this place I've found. And I've searched pretty extensively through world literature and myth. The OT prophets have this place down pretty good too.

We can't fix the flaws in ourselves until we recognize we have them, instead of merely externalizing them onto easy targets. The Left are the experts at this; they collectivize to ensure ongoing ego-affirmation.

Nations, same way. Must identify and exterminate the big policy errors, no matter how entrenched and favored. Otherwise, even empires implode.

Bob Wallace said...

"I've spent far too much time with you!!! =P"

Where's my '66 Mustang?

Enbrethiliel said...


I can't keep track of your exotic American sandwiches.

Bob Wallace said...

A Mustang is not a sandwich! It's one of the greatest of American cars!