- Day of the Brain Dead Mall
Back in my home town in the 1950s, folks who were smart got out of town
pretty fast. This left a work force, somewhat less than smart, to man
positions in the banks and store. Thus was created a sort of endemic stupidity
in the workforce. These were nice people. They were simple folks without
a lot of intellectual depth. They were what they were. Things are different
now, of course, but back then that was how things were.
I have found a sort of recreation of this process in my local Mall, which
I call the Brain-Dead Mall. When you go in there and ask for service they
dont have a clue. Theyve worked in the store for some time
and they do what they do. There will be one Supervisor whos a smart
person and everybody else will be really borderline. If you asked them
a question that doesnt have a standard, canned answer, you were
in a lot of trouble. Trying to find out something technical is virtually
impossible. They may not know what a grommet is. Theyre pleasant
enough but extremely self-centred. Like everyone else, their world view
revolves around themselves and the way that they see things. By asking
a fancy question you become an instant outsider. You see things differently.
They have a strong suspicion that you see things that they dont
and maybe youre trying to be a smart ass on them. Well, that wouldnt
be too hard to do.
Now this is sort of a malicious piece because its talking about
people who are about two bushels short of a full load but somebodys
got to staff these positions in stores in not very popular Malls. The
pay is wretched and the work place is second-rate. I wish I could think
of a song about that but the melody escapes me.
In your wildest dreams you could never imagine talking to these people
about politics, religion, or books. You could probably talk to them about
television. I have a biased view about the kind of things they watch.
They probably watch Gerry Springer a lot because, well, it doesnt
challenge them and it goes to show that there are people dumber than they
are by quite a bit.
Now, theres a famous story by C.M. Kornbluth called The Marching
Morons, originally published in Galaxy magazine in 1951. Those were the
days. This story is a Science Fiction classic. Except for a minority of
intelligent people who are supporting the whole structure, the whole earth,
is full of the unintelligent. Some guy who works in a menial position
as a bus driver or whatever is actually keeping these people from destroying
themselves. They have cars which have artificial elements that indicate
that they are going at a great speed but actually they dont travel
very fast because, if they did, the stupids would kill themselves. Someone
rescued from the past develops a scheme to send them into space to an
alleged paradise of a planet. Bye-bye!
All this was due to a low birth rate among the intelligent and a much
higher one amongst the unintelligent. Perhaps there is a lesson in this.
In any case this is the end of my Boxing Day rant against the intellectually
© Sonia Fricker