mid-evil funnies [cont'd]

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Tue, 8 Nov 1994 18:19:25 CST

of organisms identified as belonging to official-PC victim categories: racial
minorities, women, blue-collars. There would have ensued a typhoon of righteous
wrath from the orthodox liberal community, charging racism, sexism, classism.
In vain might you, plural, have resorted to the self-exculpatory device of
attributing the observed-and-cited Stupidity to insufficient educational
expenditure, not to innate, genetic, or otherwise essential cognitive
deficiency: this would have been condemned, and rightly so, as lame post-facto
hairsplitting and logic-chopping, the damage having already been done. The
point here is, though, that there is *nothing wrong* with condescension toward
undergraduates en bloc, with suggesting that Stupidity is ripe and rampant or
well nigh universal among them, and without any accompanying explanation as
to the etiology of the Stupidity observed. This is perfectly Normal. There
is, once again, *nothing wrong* with it. Exactly.

Everyone on this list has a vested interest in the Smartness-Stupidity
social construction; the Stupid are presumed elsewhere. Where a vested
interest in socially constructed, made up, social category distinctions
exists, even should said vested interest be imaginary, it is hardly to
be anticipated that a critique of the essentiality or objective reality
of said categories should emerge therefrom. Nor may it emerge from that
category called Stupid, as these people are epistemologically annihilated
by definition.

Yet why should Smart-Stupid be any more real than white and black? Male
and female? It would be the *first time*, wouldn't it? If the default hypothe-
sis for all Decent People is, there is *no difference* between black and white,
*no difference* between male and female, then the default hypothesis should
be, there is *no difference* between those called Smart and those called
Stupid; As the Ancestor said, "all organisms are created equal."

That Smartness-Stupidity is evaluated by psychometric tests, aptitude
tests, achievement tests, and academic grades has ideological signficance,
as the observed distribution of scores, with its organism-specific variability,
has the effect of making attributions of certain numerical profiles to discrete
organisms with the implicit imputation of essentiality *look good*. That the
evaluation of Smartness-Stupidity takes the form of a continuous variable is,
in other words, a socially and culturally specific oddity. Over five thousand
years of literate hierarchical exploitative class society, it has more commonly
been a continuous variable, like Good and Evil, for example. Perhaps, one day,
"mid-evil" will be recognized as a useful coinage, tending toward the recog-
nition of Evil as a continuous variable with a range from Greater Evil to
Lesser Evil: Hello, I'm powerless, and today, Election Day, I Need Your Help
to get in my shot at all that Evil. Vote Foss, Lesser Evil, for Mid-Evil.

Elsewhere, I have adduced comparative-historical instances of definitions
of the cognitive which, today, are recognized as odd in that the societies in
question have disappeared, unlike our own. In Classical and Hellenistic
Antiquity, for example, cognitive superiority was inextricably associated
with martial-arts sports, male homosexuality, and male homoerotic display.
The pedagogical methods used by Confucius imparted proficiency in aristocratic
manners and martial skills along with the study of texts. What about the
Mid-Evil Yurpeens? Whatever cognitive superiority was, it most certainly
was very properly restricted to articulation in Latin. In 1080, Pope
Gregory VII wrote to the Duke of Bohemia as follows:

In reply to the request of Your Excellency that we would sanction the
celebration of the sacred offices in your country in the Slavonic tongue,
let it be known that we cannot in any way grant this petition. It is
evident to those who consider the matter carefully that it has pleased
God to make Holy Scripture obscure in certain places lest, if it were
perfectly clear to all, it might be vulgarized and subject to disrespect
or misunderstood by people of limited intelligence as to lead them into

The seeming naturalness of entrusting capital-k Knowledge to celibate males
exlusively upon women had effects excellently surveyed in the recent volume,
A History of Women, Vol II: The Silence of the Middle Ages. (Warning: Hard-
core pornographic depictions of degredation of women in the imaginary Afterlife
is not for the squeamish; and Bonnie Blackwell should be apprised that the
clergy responsible dined exclusively on ergot-free white bread.)

When some semblance of Rudolph Bahro's Five Point Program for General Human
Liberation (The Alternative In Eastern Europe, 1977[1978]), wherefor he was
thrown out of East Germany, shall at last be enacted, the plan providing for
universal free education through graduate school and the abolition of all
distinctions between mental and manual labor, then shall the unsqueamish look
back upon our own society, as I look back on mid-Evil times, as yet another
teratological Case Study.

Though I fear we shall first witness remedial mid-Evil for maleficium-
challenged demons.

Daniel A. Foss