HYPERGRAPHIC

Ignorance and Playing Dumb

Posted in Books by NAN on 2009/06/08

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I would like to think of my “ignorance” less as a personal failing and more as a massive cultural trend, an example of doubling, of psychic numbing, that characterizes the end of the millennium. If we can’t act on knowledge, then we can’t survive without ignorance. So we cultivate the ignorance, go to great lengths to celebrate it, even. The faux-dumb aesthetic that dominates TV and Hollywood must be about this. Fed on a media diet of really bad news, we live in a perpetual state of repressed panic. We are paralyzed by bad knowledge, from which the only escape is playing dumb. Ignorance becomes empowering because it enables people to live. Stupidity become proactive, a political statement. Our collective norm.

Jane Takagi Little in Ruth L. Ozeki’s My Year of Meats, 1998.

Photo from the Seattle Edible Book Festival.

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