Monday, October 01, 2007

The 'gormful' could rule if we'd let them

An old adage holds that the world is ruled by C-students. I make no dispute with the suggestion. I do, however, think it’s much too generous, considering what we see around us. I think it’s more like the C-minus and D students who truly rule our lives, not to mention the known universe.

“Don’t do well in school, son, and somebody you will be able to control many other people and acquire great wealth.”

The English have an expression for such people that I’m quite fond of, and use it myself, especially when dealing with petty bureaucrats, challenged store clerks, politicians and others, and that is “gormless.”

Gormless means, in essence, stupid. But, it seems to mean more than that. It suggests that the individual is lacking in something. What he or she appears to be lacking in is ‘gorm’. Now, I’m uncertain what gorm actually is, but I think it has to do with functioning brain cells.

I suppose if you were quite intelligent, you could be referred to as “gormful”, although I’ve never heard the expression.

Probably a good example of a gormless individual in popular culture would be Michael, the cringeworthy boss of the paper plant in the rather brilliant fake ‘reality’ series The Office. Michael is beyond stupid, he is amazing in his inability to comprehend even the most straightforward realities of life. The irony of the show (based on the Ricky Gervais British series of the same name) is that Michael is the boss! The guy who sweeps the floor has twice the intellect, but Michael is the boss. It’s staggering how often life works that way.

Yesterday, while reading the Sunday paper, I stumbled across an example of unbelievable gormlessness in high places. There is a woman who is a member of a commission dealing with drug addiction in Vancouver’s notorious ‘Downtown Eastside.’ She is a firm advocate of ‘harm reduction’, and a proponent of such dubious programs as ‘safe injection sites’ for junkies. I have opinions about harm reduction, which I will gladly share at some point, by the way. And, I’m not about to say it’s all bad, nor are the advocates all gormless. This individual is.

She suggested it would be a good idea for members of her commission to go into the elementary schools to teach little children the process of safely injecting drugs.

“Now, Tommy, this is a tourniquet, and we’re going to show you how to tie off a vein.”

"Christ on a crutch!" That was about all I could muster when I read this. I had never, I don’t think, read anything so fucking stupid and irresponsible in my life. Gormlessness prevails, friends.

Yet, look around you and consider how often this is represented in your daily life. You don’t need to get political about it. Gormlessness is not restricted to any particular party or persuasion. Yes, George W. Bush is apparently gormless in many of his thoughts, words and deeds, but you could find an equal number of boneheads in the other party. Same would apply to Canadian, British, Norwegian or Laplander politicians.

No, what I am suggesting is to, in non-partisan manner, consider who rules your lives and the lives other others and consider what you can do to encourage the prevailing of the ‘gormful.’

Most bloggers, by the way, are quite gormful, or they wouldn’t be doing what they do. I have been exposed to more intelligence in various blogs, and especially the ones on my list, than I generally experience elsewhere in my non-cyber life.

So, silently chant this mantra: The Gormful will rule the world! Maybe if we all think gormfully, it will happen.

It’s happened before. There was such a thing as a Renaissance at one time. Maybe it’s high time we pushed for another.

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Blogger meggie said...

Hear Hear!
I always think Gormless individuals lack 'nous' which is another nebulous quality.
Or, another of my favourites.
" Be Alert. This country needs more Lerts!"!
Oz had a particularly anit terrorist campaign, featuring a fallen star of Television news fame, stating,
"Be Alert, Not Alarmed"

This was to encourage people to sneakily dob in any 'suspicious looking' folk. Which everybody took to mean Muslims or Arabs.
As you said, Christ on a Crutch.

2:27 PM  
Blogger meggie said...

Note to self- MUST learn to proof read!
Should read, 'Oz had a particularly ludicrous anti terrorist campaign'

2:29 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

What was the old phrase for those who rise to their level of incompetence? The Peter Principle? Particualrly scary when you see it in military leaders (I've been watching the History channel...). I have one opinion about safe injection sites, and I susepct it's counter to yours, but teaching children to inject? I can't believe that. That's so gormless it's ... it's ... megagormless.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Tanya Brown said...

Another great piece, Ian. I alternated between laughing and feeling the urge to weep. And now, I suppose, I'll go look under the bed and see if I can find my gorms.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Get Off My Lawn! said...

Get gorm into the news first. Without Aljazeera, I would only have heard of the crisis in Mayanmar today (global reported the round-up of thousands of agitators). The military lockdown has been happening since August. A Japanese reporter was shot! No coverage! Instead, "and here's an interesting piece of Vancouver historica. Meet Norm. He's 90!" I don't get it... no offense to Norm.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Voyager said...

Ian, the British have another similar expression for these gormless individuals: Fuckwits.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Spider Girl said...

I've never thought so much about the definition of "gormless" until this very evening.

I must say that there are other words for someone who wants to demonstrate drug injection to wee children---wordslike "appalling".

9:37 PM  
Blogger geewits said...

This train of thought is what used to render my second husband nearly catatonic with depression. I guess the rest of us try not to think about it too much. Maybe "The meek shall inherit the earth" was a bad translation and was actually, "The gormless shall rule the earth."

10:56 PM  
Blogger jmb said...

Yes why are the gormless always in charge or elected? Must be because the gormful are doing other more important things.
Another great run with it post, Ian. Are there rules for these or is it just a natural talent? If there are rules send me a copy!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Casdok said...

An interesting read.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Janice Thomson said...

Gosh Ian I always though those in high places were pretty darn crafty/gormful; can you imagine how many jobless people there would be if common sense was used? Not as many jails, detox centers, social assistance...well you get the picture I'm sure.

5:32 AM  
Blogger laughingwolf said...

have never seen that show, nor will i, sounds like that mindless seinfeld

the woman needs to be flushed, likely won't

a modern 'renaissance' would be nice, but don't hold your breath, the odds are overwhelming....

6:01 AM  
Blogger HeiressChild said...

you already mentioned bush, and dave letterman does a "great moments in history" segment on his program using quotes from franklin d. roosevelt and J.F.K., then he features bush, who, in my book, gets the nobel prize for gormlessness--for when he speaks, there's a perfect example of the gormless ruling.

6:14 AM  
Blogger thailandchani said...

Perhaps gormless is a prerequisite for positions of power because only the gormless are seduced by it?




8:30 AM  
Blogger Tai said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Tai said...

"Got gorm?"

Wow...showing children all about proper drug usage, eh?
What's next,"How to properly proposition a prostitute for preschoolers"?

8:35 AM  
Blogger CS said...

Oh, man. Teach kids the best way to shoot up! What an insane idea.

9:35 AM  
Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

Omigod, that is the stupidest (gormfullest? Most gormful?) idea I have ever heard. Yes, let's just assume that all children will automatically become drug addicts, so we must teach them to do the least harm.

That woman should be given a lethal injection herself for being so stupid (gormful.)

And thank you for a delightful new word which I've never heard before because I haven't had your advantages: I am not a Canadian.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Tanya Brown said...

Late-breaking news: I was at Ikea today, and as it happens they have gorms in stock:

4:16 PM  
Blogger Tanya Brown said...

Hmph. Blankety-blank URL cutoff. Let's try this.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

Tanya, that's wonderful about Ikea. Now nobody ever needs to go gormless again.

5:08 AM  

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