childhood, Curmudgeon's Corner, Musing, Philosophy

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Extreme Idiots

                                          Written by Sanford Begley


I saw a video on FaceBook today, a line of people in wingsuits lined up and jumping off a mountain. It happened to be titled Crazy White People. I agree with the title, almost. It should have been titled crazy young people. Why crazy? About halfway through the video the person wearing the GoPro took his turn, about halfway down the cliff someone had augured in.

Now some of you are going to say “but people have always been adrenaline junkies look at XXX”. Thing is that the old days of adrenaline rushing were dangerous, not suicidal. I don’t follow the wingsuit “sport” but a man I know does. He talked to me about it. He told me that auguring in isn’t always fatal and many people resume the sport as soon as they heal. He also mentioned that most of them die in later accidents.

Now don’t get me wrong, a large portion of me is happy to see chlorine cleaning the gene pool. We have too many idiots today. If you don’t believe me look who the top contenders for this year’s election are. People voting for Trump, Clinton, or Sanders are seriously brain damaged and a detriment to the human race. No, this isn’t going to be a political post, that is simply the most widespread example of idiocy this year.

Thing is, I’m trying to figure out why we have so many idiots out there. Not just the wingsuiters or base jumper either. There are a lot of videos around of people hoverboarding on the lip of skyscrapers or riding a bicycle down a mountain ridge about a foot wide and high enough that an accident probably means death.With others taping it, cheering them on, and waiting their turns to try and overmatch the previous idiot.

You see, when I was a young man we did wheelies on motorcycles and small jumps over hills. We didn’t do front wheelies at ninety miles an hour on the interstate and then stand on the seat. Nor did we climb out to the middle of a beam hanging over the side of a skyscraper and do gymnastics routines. What made the change?

I’m not sure, I don’t think anyone can be sure,but I have a few ideas. Whether I’m right or wrong my reasoning is fairly sound and my guess is as good as anyone’s.  So I’m going to make a few guesses from my observations of people over the last half century.

When I was growing up, half my classmates were farm kids, the rest had families in occupations of various risk but they all worked occasionally at real occupations that carried real risk. Everyone knew someone that had been caught in a baler, or a stamping press or some other kind of remorsely brutal machinery. Work had dangers inherent in it, life had risk and we tried to minimize it. Death may not have been a constant companion, but we were familiar with it.  

Becoming a man was largely a matter of accepting that life was dangerous and you had to accept it and go on. You took a bit of that and a bit of responsibility and made a life. The problem is that we did too good a job of making life safer.
Kids today learn that there are no real consequences to their actions. If you die you just reload the game and go on. Young people are always immortal, we were, so are these kids. Thing is, we had been exposed to real dangers, gotten hurt, and gone on. Many of these kids have never suffered any consequences to their actions, They get awards for showing up. How the devil are they supposed to know how stupid their actions are?

WWII Era planes display
Dogfights are fun to read about, and watch. Being in one must be a combination of holding your gorge and trying not to panic.


8 thoughts on “Curmudgeon’s Corner: Extreme Idiots

  1. From raising three children to adulthood and then going on to work at a university, I see a somewhat different reason than the ones that you mention.

    Young people today are raised to believe that their lives are not inherently worth anything.

    That message comes through in the anti-human propaganda of environmentalism. “Life on Earth would be better off without human beings.”

    It is constantly reinforced by the abortion industry. “Children only have as much value as the mother says that they do.”

    It is hammered home by the political stance of the media. “Real heros are those who sacrifice themselves for others.”

    Because young people do not believe that being human is, in itself, enough to make a life worth preserving, they either escape into identity politics that give their lives value as part of a power group–Black Lives Matter only makes sense if not all lives matter–

    Or they accept that their lives are worthless. Why not throw them away for a thrill? They are not risking anything important. When you are raised to believe that you are a burden on the Earth, a burden on the State, an accident of biology, unneeded and unwanted, and nothing more than another mouth to feed, then why not make your death a statement, or at least a spectacle?

    When you strip away the dignity of life, a gaudy death is the best that you can hope for.

    1. I cannot disagree with you. Part of the reason for posting this is that , while I knew part of it, I don’t understand all of it. I have children and grandchildren coming up to these ages, I’d like them to survive. You have made me think about something I knew in the backbrain, but hadn’t thought of in my forebrain. Thank you

  2. I jumped off the roof of the garage holding an umbrella at age four. Once. If it had worked, I would have done it twice, at least.
    Evel Knievel got into motorcycle stunting because he didn’t want to work in the copper mine; he was born in 1938. My step-dad, who was born in 1929, had a motorcycle as a lad, but lost the privilege when HIS dad found out he was doing trick riding at the fair for money – he was the guy riding it around the inside of the big mesh ball. He later became a commercial pilot.
    I THINK that the only difference is that wingsuits cost more than umbrellas. We had less disposable cash during the 1950s, and so popping a wheelie on our bicycles was pretty much all we could afford to do.
    So, ain’t it funny? Prosperity really IS going to kill us.

    1. Jumping off the garage roof with an umbrella at 4 is normal, you don’t know any better. Jumping off a cliff at 24 knowing the life expectancy of wingsuiters is about 2 years is a bit different. And Evel was a lone nut, thses guys commit suicide in groups

  3. Sanford, I just figure that we are in the “Crazy Years.”

    If you are a believer in cycles (I am not, BTW), we are about due for one anyway.

    1. seems like we have been in the crazy years all my life. White men are bad, wrong, and the cause of all evil ever, Being stupid is cool. Women are better than men and men should be eradicated except for a small pool who should be milked for sperm and used as slave labor. Trump is a conservative Republican and so many other lies taken as gospel that i despair for the future of humanity

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