I have started a habit of most nights quickly checking out what was on the MSNBC primetime lineup. Normally, it doesn’t take more than ten minutes, because all the shows are pretty much the same, and they are just reporting stuff that I’ve already read about. But in doing that last night, I came upon the image at the left. It was from yet another anti-immigrant protest. It is notable that most of the people in it were African American. It reminds me of a parallel universe Dean Martin, “Everybody Hates Somebody.”
That wasn’t what caught my eye, however. I was shocked to see that sign, “You Can’t Fix Stupid!!” I know the line. It is from stand-up comedian Ron White. Now, I really don’t much like him. I admire his skill. Much of his material is funny. But I don’t like the whole, “whisky-soaked, cigar smoking, redneck who got rich and smokes pot” routine. For one thing, it strikes me the way most country music does: inauthentic. And not only does his audience seem to eat up the act, they think he’s wise. (And just to offend educated liberals too: I have a similar problem with Louis CK.)
Despite my general problems with him, White’s “You Can’t Fix Stupid” routine is actually kind of sweet—or as close as he comes to it. He’s saying that you shouldn’t marry for looks (actually “looks alone”). He says that you can fix pretty much any physical defect (all referred to females, of course; he looks like he might be getting to lap band surgery territory himself); but you can’t fix stupid. I have my own problems with this because I think the whole idea of intelligence is kind of a myth. But the overall idea is that you should marry someone because of what’s inside, not what’s outside. So hooray!
But what on earth is a sign that reads “You Can’t Fix Stupid!!” doing at an anti-immigration demonstration? I really don’t know. I fear that it is saying that people from Mexico and Central America are stupid. I hate to think that. In addition to everything else, it is demonstrably false. An unaccompanied 7-year-old who makes it all the way from El Salvador through Mexico to the United States boarder, is not stupid. And in general, the people who come here illegally are the most intelligent and motivate of people. I have far more respect for them than some random American whose only brilliance was that he was born here.
The problem is, I can’t find another compelling explanation for the sign. It could refer to the government’s response to the crisis. But I really think that’s reaching. If we can’t fix the stupidity of the government, then why are these people demonstrating. And barring any truly bizarre explanations, like the protesters also selling tickets to an upcoming Ron White appearance, I can’t think of anything else. If anyone else has any ideas, I’d appreciate hearing them. Because I really don’t like to think of my fellow Americans like this.