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On "Stupid" - Page 9

for us . . . the value . . . precisely worthless . . . of the expansive, aggressively sophomoric network of the Church of the SubGenius, of these exaggerated revolutionary claims for a few noisy CDs and nipple piercings, or of the posturing of the so-called Hakim Bey: "I am all too well aware of the 'intelligence' which prevents action. Every once in a while however I have managed to behave as if I were stupid enough to try to change my own life. Sometimes I've used dangerous stupifiants like religion, marijuana, chaos, the love of boys. On a few occasions I have attained some degree of success."6

The only undergrounds that surface any more are moronic: cross-eyed obfuscators, cranks, latahs,7 deadly-serious self-parodists, adolescent fraternities of deep thinkers riding the coattails of castoff suits.

[6] What animates the stupid underground is not merely heroic madness or libidinal ideology or a drooping IQ "against" reason, although we still have to listen to all of that repeated, precisely, past the point of endurance; it is something like stupid intelligence, the manic codification of the inane, the willingness to pursue, absolutely at the risk of abject humiliation, absolutely at the risk of making oneself a perfect fool, lines of inquiry that official intelligence would rather have shut down. The dismissal of some dubious scientific fact or method by official intelligence is taken as a clear sign that the powers that be are hiding something important, and that by this very means assumes the status of truth. Enormous labors will be devoted to unlocking its secrets and locating it in a worldview that is as logical as it is laughable, and that sustains the force of truth in large part by giving the lie to official truth. Reactive research, parody of science. Or of the mission of art and cultural commentary. Once it was crucial to separate high and low, art and kitsch, for the very good of the human spirit; then one tried to "transgress" these distinctions, without quite managing to get rid of them. But to copy comic books on vast canvases or laminate a few thriftshop tchotchkis and exhibit them in a major museum is not what used to be called a critical gesture, no matter what the catalogues say. It is not a critical reflection on the commodification of art, but a means of rendering the very distance required for such reflection null and void; not a "deconstruction" (sic) of the institution of art but the evacuation of criticism itself. In this zone, criticism is stupid, hence only stupidity can be critical.

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