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Joseph Ottinger's blog

The Stupid Test

Every so often I’ll describe something (or someone) as having failed the “stupid test,” my term for considering something like a third-grader would and seeing what the result is, while the devil in the details might make sense.

The Stupid Test is what you fail when you, well, refuse to execute someone on the grounds that the drugs used to perform the execution might be unsafe and kill the condemned. The details: the substances were being sourced by a new supplier of some sort, and the claim was that the substances might cause undue pain and suffering.

Regardless of how you feel about the death penalty, this fails the Stupid Test: examination of the details justifies the result, but a third grader would be laughing at it.

It’s distressingly common. In soap operas, it’s the ritual norm: a child born to teenagers in 2002 needs to be adult and getting into trouble, so they’re artificially aged to adulthood, while the parents… are in their twenties. (The term for this is “Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome,” or SORASing, and it – along with amazingly complicated family trees that go in, out, up, down, around, back, and forth – is why I actually enjoy soap operas. Yes, I said it.)

So: don’t fail the Stupid Test, people.

If you’re a politician, srsly, stop kthxbye? (Politicians make careers out of failing the Stupid Test, as do lawyers. Becoming a lawyer surely involves goat’s blood, entrails of chicken, and some satanic rituals. I, um, dislike lawyers.)

Updated: 2010/10/27 — 8:58 am

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