The trouble started for me when I declared a thirty-foot idiot free zone around my person at all times. I knew that I would meet with frustration if I tried to correct the behavior of miscreants globally so I decided to settle for a measured buffer.

At first I thought it was working because the world seemed to grow more serene every day. Soon all of my conversations took place with gentle people under pleasant circumstances and conflict was limited to differences of opinion on minor matters. I created a false sense of sanity in my thirty-foot circle while the rest of the world wobbled on as usual.

My little experiment resulted in financial catastrophe at my bartending job because I eventually 86'd everybody but my boss and he was hanging by a thread. Most of the customers who walked in sensible became less so with the addition of joy juice and by closing time it may as well have been a full-scale idiot competition.

A bartender who isn't willing to suffer fools gently is in the wrong line of work.

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Idiots are not born, they are bred. A subtle collusion takes place between wrong thinking people and impressionable ones and the sub species is able to propagate. An idiot will tell you that the cycle is irrevocable and if you believe him, then it is.

The number of dangerously stupid people and those who are easily swayed by them actually make up a tiny minority of Earthlings. Their numbers only appear exaggerated because of their natural inclination to make a spectacle of themselves. The tacit acceptance by right thinking people of the inevitability of bad behavior is itself responsible for the display. In the absence of a willing audience most ignoramuses will succumb to silence and hence sound judgement.

Quietly abiding a buffoon is a higher crime than being one. The bonehead is to be pitied for the bumps he'll endure on the road to enlightenment but the co-conspirators in the cheap seats are ultimately to blame for the phenomenon. When level headed humans decide, as a group to forbid the smallest episodes of idiotic drama, major occurrences will become increasingly rare.

The fact is that we have the idiots on the run, they have become an endangered species. Advances in worldwide communication make it much more difficult to perpetuate nonsense and enlist new recruits to a dying cause. CNN and The Smoking Gun are going to be there every time a demagogue takes his first few baby steps and the Klieg lights alone will see to the demise of a dark sort. There will always be scenes of spontaneous stupidity but they'll be more swiftly defined and defeated by the bullshit police.

The Internet, in addition to being a fantastic source of pornography, will ultimately preside over the last gasp of systemic ignorance.

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Not so long ago it was socially acceptable for white people to make jokes about black people so long as there weren't any within earshot. There was even a joke made about these jokes, that each must start the same way, with a glance in each direction to make sure the coast was clear. As children in school, my friends and I heard and repeated mean spirited wisecracks with liberal use of the "N word," never questioning the practice. In the third or fourth grade we had no particular animosity toward black people, in fact, most of us had never even met one. We were simply parroting older kids and ignorant grown-ups.

Racial integration began with the bussing of urban children of color to the lily-white suburban schools and a new cultural sensitivity was born. The movement to combat racism stretched into the elementary schools and children were discouraged from making jokes at the expense of others. What had been cool yesterday was no longer cool and most of us adapted quickly. The species was evolving.

I thought about those days in the schoolyard as I watched Mark Fuhrman squirm at the O.J. Simpson trial. The LA cop who looked more like a choirboy had been caught uttering hateful racist invective in a recorded interview and the tape was played for the entire world to hear. The people in the courtroom gasped in horror at his repeated use of derogatory racial slurs and the case against Mr. Simpson was ultimately lost over questions of police propriety.

The fact that Mr. Fuhrman was able to maintain such childish notions well into adulthood speaks more to the culture of ignorance he inhabited, than to his own personal failings. When the glare of international media scrutiny hit him he immediately shrank in contrition and distanced himself from his own comments. I believe that his remorse was sincere and that he was truly ashamed of himself when confronted with his character flaw. I'm convinced that you would find him a better human being for the experience.

I'd wager that nearly every person in that courtroom and most of the people at home watching on CNN were guilty of a similar transgression at some point in their life. Mr. Fuhrman could be roundly condemned for public idiocy but he was a scapegoat for tens of millions of shadowy enablers, black and white.

The accusers who wagged a hypocritical finger in his face to serve a base goal should be ashamed of themselves.

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The thirty-foot idiot free zone was an abject failure at my bartending gig so I kept the zone and bagged the job. The drawbacks are severe and I've paid a steep price for the total exclusion of face time with imbeciles. My sensitivities have rendered me unemployable in the conventional sense and since my spouse adopted a zone of her own, I am sometimes the excluded. We had to build a fence around the yard to discourage random human contact and have to observe strict guidelines for social interaction but overall I'd label it a success.

The plan won't come to fruition until it's adopted on a global scale by thinking people everywhere. When I hear the chorus swelling on CNN, happy millions around the world declaring their own idiot free zones, I'll know that we've arrived as a species and take down my fence. Until that day I bear my lonely burden.

You're not allowed to be an idiot around me.


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