You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Dec 2011
I'm sorry about how obvious this is.
Two years ago, to close out the decade, I determined the list of the Dumbest Motherfuckers Of The Decade. It was, unsurprisingly, George W. Bush. Last year, I let things slide, figuring that once a decade was enough to crown a Dumbest Motherfucker, but this year, for some reason, I'm thinking it's time to bring back the competition.
Well, let me rephrase that. I'm going to bring back the award, because let's face it, there is no competition.
I've covered a lot of stupid people over the last holy shit seven fucking years writing this column. I've covered religious zealots of every type and stripe. I've covered culture warriors who tried to set ice cream on fire, men who died having sex with a horse, the worst president in at the very least the last century, Oklahoman global warming deniers, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Dane Cook, Victoria Jackson, and Sarah Palin.
But Herman Cain was fuckin' something other than else. He was also fuckin' something other than his wife, but we'll get to that.
What was Herman Cain? Herman Cain was like if Herman Cain looked at Sarah Palin, and decided that what America needed was something just like that, only with a less respectable job than half-term governor, a weaker grasp on foreign policy, and more personal baggage than an abstinence-preaching pregnant daughter. And unlike Sarah Palin, when he got caught out being stupid, he couldn't blame racism on account of being a Republican, he couldn't blame sexism on account of being a dude, and so he just fucking embraced it. ACTUAL QUOTE ONE MORE GODDAMNED TIME!
"We need a leader, not a reader."
He had an ad that ended with his campaign manager lighting a cigarette! He had an ad that ended with him slowly, oh-so slowly, forming the smile you see in the picture above. Over, like, eight seconds. Colbert timed it, but I don't remember the exact number, because my mind is still, to this day, full of the astonishingly stupid shit Herman Cain pulled. He tried to defuse "gotcha" questions about foreign policy by admitting in advance that he didn't know who the president of Ubekibekibekistanstan was.
Even when we first met him, you know what his qualification was to be president? Running what was, at the time, maybe the fifth or sixth pizza chain on whatever list Family Feud would have come up with had they asked 100 audience members to name a national pizza chain. And the family set to steal probably wouldn't have remembered it. And from those auspicious beginnings, well, it was all downhill from there.
He called himself "Black Walnut". He called pizza with vegetables "sissy pizza". He thought we should privatize Social Security because it worked in Galveston, Texas. He said he wasn't an expert on how the brain works. He toyed with "Beat Obama With A Cain" as a campaign slogan. He thought "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" was in the Constitution, but federal bankruptcy law wasn't. He promised not to allow a Muslim into his cabinet, apologized to Muslims for it, then said he heard from a Muslim that most Muslims are extremists.
He wanted to electrocute immigrants, then said he was joking, then said he wasn't joking. He blamed Jesus' death on a liberal court. He wanted all laws to be no more than three pages long. And THEN there's the sex stuff!
Accusations of general horndoggery at restaurant conventions. Actual settlements of sexual harassment cases. An attempted exchange of a job for a blowjob. Weird non-denials followed by outright denials. And at the end, being knocked out of the race by a decades-plus alleged consensual affair.
It was a hell of a ride, and if we don't think too hard about what it says for the political discourse and the democratic process, we can maybe look back, know he's not going to be president, know that he's probably not going to run for elected office again in his or our lifetimes, and laugh. It's a slightly nervous laugh, to be sure. A slightly uncomfortable laugh, knowing that while we laugh, people almost as dumb as Herman Cain are plundering the economy and the environment for every last penny and drop they can manage, but still, it's pretty fuckin' funny.