Picture: C Sound: C+ Extras: B Documentary: B
the strangest things since the 1980s is that the concept of stupidity has risen
as a way some people are being encouraged to act in disturbing ways and at the same
time meant to get people to agree to a misery where being smart is a dead
end. It also means if one person can act
dumb, others should also act dumb, be treated like they are dumb and
humiliation upon others means nothing.
It is also linked to getting people to be tricked out of their privacy
and therefore, give up their civil rights.
Though Albert Nerenberg’s strong documentary Stupidity (2006) does not go into that aspect enough, it is very
thorough in exploring just exactly what stupidity is and might be.
Chomsky talks here about a “philosophy of futility” caused by market forces,
but it is even worse. To its credit, the
very rich 77 minutes even asks basic questions about how to define stupidity. Mind you, this is not about being dumb or ignorant,
but alone discouraging growth, intelligence and any kind of solid progress that
would get anyone anywhere. Even after
9/11, this mentality prevails. There was
a time when you could joke about being stupid and people knew you were
not. Now, there is a mania to make
everyone out to be stupid.
one vital point this program makes is that the nature of this new cycle of said
stupidity (which translates in wanting to see people hurt themselves and each
other) is laughed at any time it is approached seriously. I could even imagine people in an audience
laughing at any attempt to discuss the matter since they expect in part that it
might be some kind of trick. Also,
because too many are complacent for the darker side of this trend, seen best by
no group of performers more clearly than the Punk/New Wave legends DEVO.
Maher, Joel Schumacher, Michael Moore, John Cleese and several scholars are
among the interview subjects that make this more than what one might initially
expect to be a mockumentary, which not ironically in most cases has been a
perpetuator of stupidity unless it has been a repudiation of stupidity with
proper ironic distance and knowing approach.
This is the real deal and one of the best documentaries of the year.
1.78 X 1 image varies wildly in quality, but some of the items have to be seen,
no matter how rough. It is well edited,
but know there are some wild patches of poor quality often from amateur video. The PCM 2.0 sound is sometimes stereo and
sometimes mono, but consistent enough for this program. Obviously, some of the footage is bad, so the
audio source would be just as rough. The
extras are solid and include a set of uncut, extended interviews of the
participants, Documentary Channel interview and feature-length audio commentary
by director Nerenberg.
- Nicholas Sheffo