This I Believe

Pat - Elmhurst, Illinois
Entered on December 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I was sitting up in my bed at 3 in the morning, my brain too active to even consider sleep as a possibility when on came re-runs of the blue collar comedy tour. My first thought, besides the apparent irony in a multi millionaire proudly wearing a cutoff flannel t-shirt and pretending to still be just a poor redneck, was how openly stupid they were. It perplexed me how this could be the new movement in stand up comedy, stupidity being elevated to an admirable quality. I had this habitual urge to think “I wish they’d just shut the hell up”, but as I thought more about it, the world needs people like them.

I believe in the value of stupidity, and the wrong side of an argument. In the current cultural climate of political correctness, it has reached the point where many people with opinions seen as controversial simply keep their thoughts to themselves. It’s not that they don’t believe in these ideas, but rather that they don’t feel like putting up with all the reactions as a result of what they say. This allows people to think that bigoted ideology has simply disappeared with the civil rights era and all the subsequent emphasis on political correctness, slipping into their complacency and denial. The hope of this type of popular censorship, is that people will progress to more enlightened opinions, but this is not how people progress. People progress and advance through differing ideas, arguments, discussions, the world (and America) is too diverse to collectively move to one system of thought. In other words, if people keep their opinions to themselves there’s no opportunity to correct those possibly less thoughtful opinions.

However, this isn’t only a result of popular culture; it’s in the basis of almost every child. Everyone can remember multiple times when a parent, or grade school teacher said, “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”. Children are conditioned to keep their ‘unacceptable’ opinions to themselves. The thing is, this not only hurts those children who miss the opportunity to question their own opinions, but also those who share in the more popular opinions. Every now and then someone needs to hear a brash, blunt, possibly bigoted opinion contradicting their own to really take a look at their own opinions. Like with a scientific theory, opinions and ideas do not truly become strong until someone attempts to disprove them. Also, to those who may not have opinions clearly bigoted or malicious: don’t be afraid to be wrong. Out of the recognition of a poorly thought out or ‘wrong’ (don’t nitpick about how opinions are supposedly neither right nor wrong) opinion, one can take inventory of their thoughts, and go into the issue with no arrogance from having a popularly accepted opinion, and can truly form their own ideas on the problem at hand. Like many others, I sometimes don’t feel real confidence in my thoughts until I see the rationale behind the others. So when it comes to people like Blue Collar Comedy Tour, I’ve changed my mind: don’t “shut them the hell up”, rather let them talk, as long as people like Jon Stewart and others get to ridicule them, and reaffirm thoughtful opinions…but mostly the ridicule part.