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On "Stupid" - Page 8

On "Stupid"

[5] Intelligence is no longer enough.5  We have witnessed so many spectacles of critical intelligence's dumb complicity in everything it claims to oppose that we no longer have the slightest confidence in it. One knows with the utmost certainty that the most intense criticism goes hand in hand with the most venal careerism, that institutional critiques bolster the institution by the mere fact of taking part in their discourse, that every position is ignorant of its deepest stakes. Each school of critical thought sustains itself by its stupidity, often expressed in the most scurrilous asides, about its competitors, and a sort of willed blindness about its own investments, hypocrisies, illusory truths. And one can count on each critical generation exposing the founding truths of its predecessors as so much smoke and lies. Thought, reading, analysis, theory, criticism has transported us to so many Laputas that we should hardly be surprised to encounter a general--or perhaps not general enough--mistrust of intelligence as such. What is most "subversive" now is neither critical intelligence nor romantic madness (the commonplace is that they are two sides of the same Enlightenment coin) but the dull weight of stupidity, spectacularly elaborated, and subversive only by means of evacuating the significance of everything it touches--including the romance of subversion itself. To abandon intelligence because it has been duplicitous or built such grandly inane intellectual systems might seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but if rejecting intelligence is rejecting too much, never underestimate the stupid exhilaration of *too much*; and flying babies are a nicely stupid image, quite suitable for a record cover. Let us insist that we are not arguing for poetic madness breaking out of the prison of reason, nor for the philosophical acephalism of Bataille and his university epigones, still helplessly playing out the dialectic of the enlightenment. The rationalization of unreason is not much of a remedy; that is why we took the trouble to diagnose the recuperation and critical evacuation of Bataille. What confronts us in the stupid underground is also the rationalization of unreason, but it is accompanied by a much more naked idiocy, sheer stupidity posing as value, as the last truth of culture, value without value, and an irresistible lure for suicidal reason. That is,

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