With considerable justification, I may be accused of overusing the word ‘idiot’. I hold up my virtual hands. I do use the term a lot. Two possible reasons for this come immediately to mind. It could be that I lack the vocabulary which would allow me to ring the changes with alternatives. The English language is hardly wanting in appropriate synonyms for ‘idiot’ – imbecile, cretin, moron, changeling, half-wit, retard, simple, simpleton etc. If anything, however, I am prone to over-elaboration in my writing. I tend to use ‘fancy’ words when ‘plain’ ones would suffice. (But never, I hope, when ‘plain’ would be better.) Nobody would seriously suggest I am lexically challenged. Besides which, I have been known to use terms other than ‘idiot’. Two of my personal favourites are ‘bladder’ and ‘bollard’. Many people have told me that referring to those anonymous mouthpieces for politicians and parties as ‘spokesbladders’ is vividly descriptive. Clearly, my repetition of the word ‘idiot’ is not due to terminological poverty.
The other explanation which occurs to me is that I use the word ‘idiot’ a lot because there are a lot of idiots. I reckon this is closer to the mark. Especially when one sojourns in the realm of social media as much as I do one is constantly assailed by idiocy in various forms. There are a lot of idiots out there!
Or should I say there is a lot of idiocy. I must also plead guilty to slightly misusing the word ‘idiot’. Calling someone an idiot implies that they are innately intellectually sub-normal. It is vastly more frequently the case that people of perfectly normal intelligence commit acts of idiocy. Smart people say and do idiotic things. It’s part of what makes people so fascinating that hermitry develops an almost irresistible appeal. I shan’t apologise for applying the term ‘idiot’ to those smart people guilty of an entirely human lapse. Although it may be wrong given a strict definition of the word, I feel it’s use is appropriate when the clever individual in question makes public some gobbet of idiocy that they’ve had ample opportunity to consider and/or correct. When, for example, an individual delivers that gobbet of idiocy in a speech or essay that has been days, weeks or months in preparation, I reserve the right to call them an idiot for having left the offending gobbet in place despite all the polishing and perfecting that has supposedly been done.
It is likely that Toni Giugliano is not by strict definition, an idiot. But you wouldn’t know this from the published comment I’m using to make my point. The comment he chose to publish on Twitter and which he has subsequently chosen not to amend so as to excise at least some of the idiocy. The following.
I refer not to the idiocy of Toni Giugliano’s “conclusion” regarding “A1ba”[sic]. Not everybody would agree that it is idiotic to conclude that Alba Party has a “mission is to prevent the FM from delivering independence”. Many would wholeheartedly agree with it. Like I said, there’s a lot of idiots (idiocy?) out there. There is nothing about the SNP/Alba tribal squabbling which isn’t idiotic. And there’s a lot of tribal squabbling. Toni Giugliano himself is evidently determined to make his own contribution to the tribal idiocy. Which would be a good enough reason to deploy the word ‘idiot’ yet again. But I think there’s a better reason.
Look at the last two lines of that Tweet. Methinks Tony is being a tad overgenerous with the idiocy. There’s the inane insinuation that Alba Party is comparable with “far right groups”. There’s the dumb hypocrisy of any apologist for the SNP leadership accusing others of exploiting minorities for political advantage. Their brand of identity politics is about little else but contriving a slew of minorities which can be presented as the victims of negative discrimination in urgent need of the party’s – and society’s – protection. Thus, the SNP becomes the hero of the tale while political opponents are accused of ‘attacking’ those minorities. It is becoming increasingly difficult to say anything about anybody without being told one has offended some minority whose members demand the ‘right’ to live their lives free of the fear of being offended. Or to be more precise, a minority that one or other political group claims to speak for while demanding on their behalf the ‘right’ to live a life free of the fear of being offended.
I am moved to wonder how it might be possible to be regarded and treated like everybody else while insisting on a ‘right’ that nobody else possesses.
There’s a great deal of idiocy in that short statement. But the bit I’ve chosen is the idiotic disconnect between in one line condemning others of sowing division (in the independence movement), then in the very next line demanding the creation of exactly that kind of division. Can there be any more sure and efficient way of engineering division than by defining exclusive and excluded groups as Toni Giugliano does?
Happy New Year, Tony! You’re an idiot!
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