06 April 2005

Dumbassery and Dumb Luck

If you do something stupid but hope for a good result anyhow, you're a dumbass. Much like the Catholic view of sin, however, dumbassery can be confessed by and absolved from the truly penitent; if you discover that your hoped-for result will never occur, you are not required to persist in being a dumbass.

Of course, to choose to persist in being a dumbass is always your inalienable right as an American.

There are some Star Wars dorks who, despite having seen Episodes I and II, are so geeked about the upcoming Episode III: Revenge of the Sith that they have decided to camp out in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater so as to be at the head of the line when the film opens there in approximately a month-and-a-half. The only problem, as reported by Variety, is that the movie isn't going to play at that theater:
If a movie isn't playing at a theater, will its fans still line up outside? For "Star Wars" fans, the answer is a befuddling yes.

Saturday, 46 days before "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" opens on May 19, the trilogy's enthusiasts began their vigil outside Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Problem is 20th Century Fox doesn't plan to open the film at the Chinese, opting instead for the ArcLight a few blocks east.

. . . .

"Even if it's not here, we'll just go see it somewhere else. We're not doing this just for the movie." Besides, [spokesdork Sarah Sprague] added, "What's the point of lining up at the ArcLight if someone is going to go online and get the best seat in the house?"

But wouldn't that still make more sense than spending a month outside a theater that isn't playing the movie?

"Lining up for anything, what part of that makes any sense?" she responded philosophically.

. . . .

The kerfuffle has inspired some soul-searching among the fans, and they have discovered that standing in a "Star Wars" line is actually more important than seeing a "Star Wars" film.

"The telling thing is -- for me, at least -- if the film is not playing at the Chinese ... I have zero desire to see it at all," a fan who calls himself Obi Geewhyen posted on the message board at Liningup.net. "I'm in it for the lineup only and don't give a darn about the conclusion of this lackluster, so-called 'Star Wars' series."

Hope springs eternal, Sprague said. After the last two "Star Wars" films, "We're all a little beaten down," she said. "But this one could be it!"

At the other end of the spectrum of dumbassery exists dumb luck, which is reserved to those privileged few dumbasses for whom good things occur despite their dumbassery. The Wall Street Journal describes a case-in-point, Iraqi attorney Ali Ghaleb:
Ali Ghaleb, a lawyer from Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, did everything he could to persuade fellow Sunni Arabs to boycott Iraqi elections in January.

So he sounds a bit sheepish when he explains his new job in Tikrit: elected representative. "Maybe the boycott was a mistake," he says.

Mr. Ghaleb put himself up for election last year. Then he joined the opposition to the elections and resolved to withdraw, but got kidnapped and missed the deadline to remove his name from the ballot. On election day, he found himself a reluctant winner.

Now, detecting changing winds in the Sunni Arab community, he has decided that active participation in the political process is the right thing to do after all.

. . . .

"Next time, we'll even take the sick from their hospital beds and carry them on our shoulders to the polling booths," says Hamed Hamoud, governor of the predominantly Sunni Arab province of Salaheddin.

Until then, however, the Sunni Arabs of Tikrit will have to make do with Mr. Ghaleb.

. . . .

As Mr. Ghaleb was getting ready to resign his seat in February, he ran into some unexpected resistance. Some of the same Sunni religious and political leaders who in December had joined him in calling for a boycott of the election now were urging him not to quit. At a large gathering in Tikrit's grand mosque, they argued that without Mr. Ghaleb in the provincial legislature, the city would be neglected.

Reluctantly, he agreed to stay on. And he is now enthusiastically preparing for the next election, which could happen as soon as December. This time he is aiming for national office.

Dumbass becomes dumbass-politician despite his dumbassery -- the new Iraq is truly the child of America's democracy! If Horatio Alger were alive today, we'd probably all be reading from his Ragged Ali series because, when you get right down to it, what could be more American than riding your own dumb luck as far as it will take you?

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