If you’re going to be stupid, you have to be smart about it.

Recently an event came to my attention that inclined me to spontaneously spout the following:

You know… if you’re gonna’ be stupid, you gotta’ be smart about it.

I love one-liners, and the poetry of this one rang true in my ears as soon as it left my lips. I quickly Googled to see if anyone had ever officially said it yet (like Yogi Berra), and to my delight they had not. So I get to have my very own one-liner… my very own Yogiism. Well done me. ;-)

The event that stimulated this burst of reason was this – I was told of a group on the website Facebook (a social networking site similar to MySpace) that was entitled “Henry Mills sucks penis” [the name has been changed]. This group was started and joined by current and former members of a local Christian school… and the object of their wrath, Mr. Mills, is a well-respected official of that same school and church. The group’s Facebook page includes disrespectful and insanely inappropriate and infantile content that I won’t share here.

Now… how nervy do you have to be to create and/or join such a group actually using your primary Facebook account with your name and picture displayed for any school official or parent to identify… and to do this while having not yet graduated from the school?! While you’re at it why don’t you just set your diploma on fire right now?! And needless to say, once the school found out about this Facebook group just a few days ago, it was quickly put out of its misery.

So upon hearing this story I exclaimed, “You know… if you’re gonna’ be stupid, you gotta’ be smart about it!” There is harmony in this statement – it’s found in the mix of bumbling wisdom and denotative paradox. But as I pondered, I discerned some “deeper” force at work here. :-) So I put my thoughts down in the form of a socio-algebraic law:

Mooradian’s Law of Multiplicative Idiocy

As the probability of an individual or entity to engage in an idiotic action increases, the faulty cognitive processes driving this increase also propend the same individual or entity to engage in further related idiotic actions, such that the original idiocy is amplified through a mechanism of synergistic multiplication. This described propensity incites a daisy-chain of idiotic action occurring independent of (and possibly in addition to) the coincidental succession of an individual’s or entity’s natural random idiocy as expressed by a Poisson distribution.

As a previous leader of soldiers, I truly saw this law in action. Anyone who’s been in the military knows soldiers and sailors sometimes have an affinity for mayhem. And certain sailors and soldiers have perfected foolishness down to a black art. Now, it amazed me how my soldiers would sometimes commit egregious acts of idiocy, and follow it up by recording their actions in photographic or audio-visual form – thereby supplying incrimination leading to their own demise!? That’s the law of multiplicative idiocy.

Recently, on a local blog, I was conversing with an argumentative and illogical fellow. No sooner had I soundly discounted all his faulty lines of reasoning, when a mysterious second fellow appeared on the blog and echoed the first fellow’s identical illogic. Little did “either” of them know that I’m an admin for the blog… and I could see that “both” fellows were posting from the same IP address! Upon greater inspection, a third and fourth troublesome fellow on the blog were also from this same IP address! When pressed for the truth, the original fellow claimed that the other “three” fellows were indeed real people (housemates) whom he shared his home computer with. Of course, he couldn’t then explain why when I tracerouted his IP address it routed back to a single-point external gateway for a local health insurance company (as verified by their IT security staff). That’s the law of multiplicative idiocy.

How about the lady who tried to pay for her Wal-Mart merchandise with a counterfeit bill? She used a bill of such a high denomination ($1 Million) that not only did the store have no choice but to examine the bill with such scrutiny as would certainly discover the fake… but the store wouldn’t have had nearly enough cash to even make change, anyway! That’s the law of multiplicative idiocy.

The robber who empties the convenience store cash register, but then pays for a soda with his credit card before leaving. The student who vandalizes school property, then brags about it to a teacher. The man who shows up to DUI court drunk. That’s the law of multiplicative idiocy.

u comment i follow 28 Comments

  1. capo
    Posted June 19, 2007 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Law of Multiplicative Idiocy indeed. Tony Robbins would probably repackage it as LMI but “Darwin’s Law” rolls off the tongue a little easier.

  2. montane
    Posted June 19, 2007 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I would like to point out (I believe you are already aware of this WarAxe) of a corollary to the Law of Multiplicative Idiocy – Idiocy is multiplicative not only temporally with one individual or entity but also spatially with multiple entities, inversely proportional to the radius between them, and directly proportional to the root mean square of the inverse of their IQ’s. This can be depicted as a field effect and modeled with a modification of Maxwell’s equations.

  3. Posted June 19, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    @capo :: Yes, the Darwin Awards provide many examples of this law in action.

    @montane :: Yes, you are so right. We must never underestimate the power of idiotic people in close proximity to one another. I believe our high school provided ample opportunities to see this unfold before our eyes. But for everyone else, you can just turn on C-Span.

  4. graham Mitchell
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Uuh, the guy send from the same email doesn’t really count does it? The faking of different accounts is not clever, granted, but the rest is simply underestimation of a foe obviously better equiped electoronicaly, and with the skills to outwit him/her. As such, he’s not compounding his own idiocy with more, he’s merely assuming that you won’t check. I can count the number of people I know who could get that much info froma site on one finger! Not quite on a par with filming yourself breaking the law or calling an accomplice by name is it? Still, I like the science behind it and the soundbite should be used whenever and wherever appropriate!

  5. Posted June 26, 2007 at 12:00 pm | Permalink


    I just found your blog and after over an hour of reading I’m hooked.

    Geez! I had things to do this morning, man. And you distracted me. Thanks for that.

  6. k.r
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    oooooooooooook…. i think i’m one of the stupid people you are talking about ’cause i’m not actually understanding much of what you are sayin’ can someone please say this in a less complicated way? please? xx

  7. John3Sobieski
    Posted October 19, 2007 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    1 I hate math
    2 there are smart stupid people. on the news recently, they were talking about a man that broke the record for driving across the country, easily going into the triple digits. He equiped himself to avoid cops, and only announced his success after the time had run out for giving him a ticket.

  8. dude1818
    Posted May 16, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    to John3Sobieski
    that is smart

  9. rachel
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    Great post and even better title. Lol “If you’re going to be stupid, you have to be smart about it”. Who wouldn’t click that :>

  10. Posted November 10, 2008 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    I think when people commit crimes, they have an strong urge to tell others about it, sort of like bragging. The same reason why criminals go back to the scene of a crime.

  11. Agent Builder
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Hey Man, This I love your blogg! This is a good one!
    Thanx, Stephanie

  12. Nick
    Posted March 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Had a laugh with the title, Law of Multiplicative Idiocy indeed lol

  13. Tendo
    Posted June 9, 2011 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Very catchy title “If you’re going to be stupid, you have to be smart about it”, I think we have to be responsible enough if we are going to do that, because sometimes idiocy put us into a scene that we don’t want to remember in our entire life.

  14. George
    Posted June 16, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I’ve always thought this same phrase but never though of it exactly this way. It’s like when you hear people get caught stealing or doing something you wonder to yourself, “Why did they do that?” or “That didn’t make sense” And the ironic thing is that they just murdered someone and got caught or they just stole something and got caught. But yes, I agree that “If you’re going to be stupide you have to be smart about it”

  15. James Grayston
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    @John3Sobieski I hate math too.

    “You know… if you’re gonna’ be stupid, you gotta’ be smart about it.” Seems like a very good line indeed.

    But what if a stupid is not too much smart and always doing the same stupid things.

    James Grayston

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One Trackback

  1. By Negative99 » State on August 21, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    [...] prison guard – you would/should whack them with your nightstick. If they do it again (for whatever insanely idiotic reason) you would/should whack them twice… and they do it a third time and you whack’em [...]

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