Looking for a Class in Stupidity?


You’re in luck.   The Occidental College Course Catalog for 2008/2009 offers a course in Stupidity. Here is the description:

Stupidity is neither ignorance nor organicity, but rather, a corollary of knowing and an element of normalcy, the double of intelligence rather than its opposite. It is an artifact of our nature as finite beings and one of the most powerful determinants of human destiny. Stupidity is always the name of the Other, and it is the sign of the feminine. This course in Critical Psychology follows the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, and most recently, Avital Ronell, in a philosophical examination of those operations and technologies that we conduct in order to render ourselves uncomprehending. Stupidity, which has been evicted from the philosophical premises and dumbed down by psychometric psychology, has returned in the postmodern discourse against Nation, Self, and Truth and makes itself felt in political life ranging from the presidency to Beevis and Butthead. This course examines stupidity.

Are you still conscious? What do they mean, “it’s a sign of the feminine?”

Um excuse me, I disagree. Not that I even know what they’re trying to say.

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16 Responses to Looking for a Class in Stupidity?

  1. Chris says:

    Really? I’d think it was a apparent. From George Bush to Paris Hilton stupidity has proved to be a powerful force (in some countries more than others). As for the feminine, the symbol of the proverbial dumb blonde is probably one of the most simple and powerful forms of studpidity – who better to lull the the public into a false sense of superiority and security. Stupidity is both potent and subversive – a very important political tool.

  2. Kate says:

    When a college course description defines a topic of scholarly focus negatively, it is typically doing so to appeal to the insecurities of potential students, probably the female philosophy students who have been disserviced by “let-the-misogyny-slide” professors in courses on Nietzsche. Too much scholarship takes a cue from sensationalist journalism and states as a truth exactly what it wants to be false. The new-old unending buzzword of Other-Othered-Othering is pretty much shorthand for that phenomenon, but humanities buffs can’t help masturbating with both the long and short of it. But maybe interpreting the catalogue description is the first course assignment in thin disguise? Shit’s contagious.

    Anyway…isn’t it great that Occidental College is where Clueless, Beverly Hills 90210, and the Marx Brothers’ Horse Feathers were all filmed? Obama went there for a while, too.

  3. Jill says:

    Look at all the pretty flowers…

  4. minzhi says:

    I wonder if they have enough tutor? They might want to hire Paris.

  5. David Duff says:

    Do you mind, I have a First Class Honours degree from that prestigious college!

  6. HelOnWheels says:

    “isn’t it great that Occidental College is where Clueless, Beverly Hills 90210, and the Marx Brothers’ Horse Feathers were all filmed? Obama went there for a while, too.”

    Kate, what does this information have to do with SWs entry? And why is that information “great”? Just curious as to the relevance.

  7. sam says:

    when do we get to talk about kittens?

  8. ali says:

    Thats a pretty par for the course philosophy/psychology course catalog class description. College professors=Almost as bad as shopbop copy writers? As a philosophy/English major at a liberal arts college (and I am aware of the pretensions of this statement for the most part) I do think this course sounds relatively interesting (if not hard for the professor to actually pull of.)

    Needless to say, the writing is the swill of jumbled philosophical jargon.
    IE: “sign of feminism” (Literary theory’s idea of the sign and the signified….foucault,Levi-strauss,Saussere…blahblah.)

    If you look it up, the premise is as boring as it sounds. Notoriously, literary theory professors are the retards who couldnt make it as writers. For a class claiming to focus on Nietzsche (one of the better philosophical writers) this professor is clearly hiding behind the novelty of stupidity and forgot to put his/her own liberal arts degree to use. (Thus providing a hands on example for the course!)

    and….as you picked up on…the feminist undertones of these post modern philosophy and psychology courses are absolute new age quackery.

    Either way…it would be a bit tough to harp on occidental for the material or the idea behind this- though the writing for this description is an embarrassment for anyone who studies or teaches philosophy.

    now, before I embarrass myself, I’ll just shut up. But the pretensions of undergrad philosophy courses really really bother me (while on the other hand, I couldn’t give any of it up!) so I thought I’d add a thought or two to the discussion instead of saying something bitchy or sarcastic for once.

  9. Mark says:

    PC from “NYC Prep” is attending Occidental this fall if he doesn’t OD first. Perhaps he’ll take this course.

  10. Sister Wolf says:

    Chris – Okay, now I totally disagree.

    Kate – I like the disguised assignment theory. Or maybe the first person who shouts “Bullshit!” wins a prize.

    Jill – Hahahahahhaha!

    minzhi – They probably would, if they still love irony.

    David – You wouldn’t last a day there!

    HelOnWheels – I’m guessing that Kate is just enjoying the incongruous trivia.

    sam – There will never be kitten talk here. Never.

    ali – Thanks, I enjoyed your explanation/rant. Did you ever see that Dada generator that formulated scholarly academic gibberish? It was fabulous!

    Mark – You aren’t watching enough Real Housewives, I can tell.

  11. WTF (What The Fashion) says:

    hu…what what???? quite eccentric. Stupidity = females.. Hmmm, I don’t agree. The last time I check I’m a female and I still have a long way to go before I become stupid.

    P.S. Not just a cunt! tehehe =)

  12. Kate says:


    Beverly Hills 90210 is just about the most organically moronic show ever–Brandon Walsh rivals Candide, Clueless is a remake of Emma that plays on perceptions of teen female stupidity, Horse Feathers is a satire of the stupidity of college sports, and Obama was thrown in for contrast. Occidental could do a filmed-on-location retrospective of The Philosophy of Stupidity in Film and Television. It’s the buy-local principle of media stupidity theory. Plus the PoMo discourse and Deleuze love(d) to pick at open filmic sores.

  13. Sister Wolf says:

    WTF- I always go by “Men are stupid; Women are crazy.”

    Kate – Let’s here more on the philosophy of stupidity!

  14. Queen Michelle says:

    They misspelled Beavis in Beavis & Butthead – “Beevis”. That’s stupid.

  15. sam says:

    never say never sister wolf….theres a puppy coming up in a post post this post….

  16. Eline says:

    Perhaps, it’s a sign of the feminine is meant sarcastically just like the MAD cover of a cartoonised Che? The cover makes me think this course in stupidity will be explaining dubious prejudices and you know… things like Che Guavara is cool because he stood for a radical change… yet these people who want to be perceived as progressive and cool (I’ve talked to them, these aren’t my words) have no fucking clue of what a murderous ass he was. Killing gays, Christians and in short every man, woman and child who did not agree with his beliefs… pretty fucking stupid imho. It seems to me that this course is researching WHY certain people belief certain things… Amonst that the ‘women are stupid/more stupid than men’-thing. Which is quite obviously bullshit of course.

    That’s what I HOPE this is about anyway! XD

    (This probably doesn’t make any sense though, sorry for that! XD Also just found your blog and loving it. Am going to continue on creepily reading every post now.)

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