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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Intelligence > Politics > Media > Psychology > Stupidity (2006/Documentary)

Stupidity (2006/Documentary)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Documentary: B



One of 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.


Noam 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.


However, 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.


Bill 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.


The letterboxed 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


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