Kim Jong-un, “Jackass,” and “Messin’ with Sasquatch”

A study by the British Medical Journal says men are more likely than women to engage in stupid behavior, often at risk to their health or finances.  An actual quote from this study:

‘Men are idiots and idiots do stupid things.’

Shocking.

I know that this is not a revelation to anyone, particularly women… and especially my wife.  

I don’t start out looking to do stupid things.  My intention is usually otherwise.  But after inadvertently destroying something or exhibiting some fairly embarrassing behavior, it becomes quite clear that, like so many men, I have really “stepped in it.”

I am not alone.  The history books are loaded with stories of men doing idiotic things that have shaped (or destroyed) nations.  Men all over the world are doing stupid things every day, and there are millions of YouTube videos with the same general theme: some guy agrees to a ridiculous challenge from his buddies, the inevitable failure unfolds, the video goes viral, and he becomes a worldwide laughing stock.  

I guess we just can’t help ourselves – it’s in our nature.

Which brings me to Kim Jong-un.

Launching ballistic missiles and exploding underground hydrogen bombs are clearly not innocent stunts to be dismissed as “boys being boys.”  He wants to make a statement to the rest of the world, but when viewed through the lens of “men are idiots and idiots do stupid things,” this is starting to look pretty idiotic.  

So, what form of stupid might this be?  

Jackass

The TV show “Jackass” (in 2000-2003) featured a bunch of guys doing really stupid things and was so popular, it became a movie.  The only people who got hurt in this show were the guys themselves – in exchange for laughs for their crazy antics, they were often badly bruised and injured.  Yes, pretty stupid in and of itself, but at least no one else was harmed.  Mr. Kim’s intention is not this innocent.

Messin’ with Sasquatch

“Messin’ with Sasquatch” is a series of commercials featuring men at their stupid best.  These video ads have the same general storyline — a couple of guys are surprised in the middle of the forest by a wandering, distracted Sasquatch (aka BigFoot).   At first afraid, one of the guys becomes emboldened after eating some beef jerky and whispers to the other to “check this out,” and then proceeds to invite the unsuspecting Sasquatch to join them around their campfire.

As Sasquatch sits, the guy quickly places a whoopee cushion under the the massive, 8-foot hairy man/animal and the loud sound of the whoopee cushion suggests a very bad case of flatulence.  The prank causes everyone to laugh but Sasquatch, who angrily tosses the main offender into the next county.  

But is Mr. Kim participating in the North Korean version of “Messin’ with Sasquatch?”  While he is getting a kick out of tweaking the United States and our allies, a “Messin’ with Sasquatch”  scenario is also too innocent.

Building the biggest, baddest potato launcher in the neighborhood

The desire to blow things up is without a doubt the most primal motivation for guys doing stupid things.  When you throw in a little technology to create more innovative ways to explode stuff, this is where things can get really stupid, and in a hurry.

I am reminded of the teenage sons of our close friends who, feeling a bit bored one summer several years ago, decided to create the “biggest and baddest potato launcher in the neighborhood.”  These were all smart, creative, and fun-loving teenage rebels who, like so many boys, loved to push the envelope to do things that caused a fair bit of disruption.  

With help from Google, the boys built a potato launcher (or perhaps potato cannon is more appropriate) with several feet of PVC pipe, a launching mechanism, some sort of combustible trigger material, and potatoes.  

Through several efforts of trial and error — much like the North Koreans are apparently doing with their ballistic missiles and underground explosions — the boys kept experimenting until their potato launcher was able to shoot these full-sized spuds the length of a football field.   

Late one night, they snuck out to the field behind their house to shoot their potato gun.  Since it was dark, they had no idea how far the potatoes were going, but they didn’t care – it was fun to shoot this thing and they were having a grand time.

The last shot proved to be the most dramatic.  Their launcher was so strong it was sending the spuds further than they ever imagined, and the last potato went so far it broke the window of a house that was well over a hundred yards away.  The boys quickly realized they had done some real, unintended damage, and panic ensued, so they did what any group of boys would have done – they ran away and hid in their basement the rest of the night.

This brings me back to Mr. Kim.  Who knows how far he intends to go in teasing the world with his nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches?   Will North Korea’s actions yield something much worse than they originally planned?  Does he really want to go there?  

Stupidity can be contagious.  Actions by North Korea are stoking the fires and the tension in the U.S., and we are clearly prone to doing something stupid in return.  While we may have better potato launchers and a sh**load more potatoes, no one will win if this thing keeps going down this path. 

Would it be too much to ask if we we all try to keep our collective stupidity to a minimum?  

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would much prefer to watch an old episode of “Jackass” on TV than seeing a new, much scarier version unfold in the news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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