Sample Critical Analysis
Why society protects "stupid people"
April 12, 20081.Ignorance can be corrected through education. Stupid is a birthright often passed down in families but sometimes organizationally inherited. Stupid is a choice. Definitions are my own. I do not feelsorry for stupid people, although they often make me angry. In this day and age, it is unnecessary to be stupid and yet people continue to choose stupidity. People who choose stupidity over thealternative show no self-consciousness or embarrassment regarding their choice, in fact, manyrejoice in their decision to remain stupid finding the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.The truth is that stupidity is all too often rewarded in our society.2.When talking about stupid people many use the example of the McDonalds Hot Coffee Lawsuit,The woman who sued was a 79-year-old former store clerk, Mrs. Liebeck. She spent a week in thehospital recovering from third degree burns. The attorney who took her case to court had defendedother similar cases against McDonalds for the same cause, winning other settlements. McDonaldshad settled coffee burn complaints over the past decade leading up to Mrs. Liebecks's lawsuit, 700of them in fact, for as much as $500,000. The funny thing is that originally Mrs. Liebeck only askedfor a measly $20,000 to cover her out-of-pocket hospital expenses. Someone at the Phoenix storedidn't want to pay and McDonalds agreed that they were not liable. During the trial itself thedefense attempted to shift blame onto Mrs. Liebeck using her age as part of the problem. The resultwas a jury that found in favor of Mrs. Liebeck in two respects, one that she should be awardedcompensatory damages of $200,000 which they then reduced to $160,000 finding that she was 20%responsible or at fault. The larger award of $2.7 million was for punitive damages based on thefinding of the jury that McDonalds showed a reckless and malicious disregard for the well-being of their customers. The trial judge reduced the punitive damages to $480,000 after trial. Ultimately thecase was settled in a secret negotiation without another trial and the records were sealed.3.The above is an interesting case in the annals of "Stupid" people. Most of us point to the victim andassume that she is stupid; but wait, was she the stupid one in this case? McDonalds served their coffee an average of 35 degrees hotter than the coffee served anywhere else, that is at 180 degrees.McDonalds had settled at least 700 other similar burn claims in the preceding decade. McDonaldsexecutives were, as we say, betting on the come line. They were the "Stupid" people in this case andon many levels. They bet they could shift the primary responsibility to the ignorance of Mrs.Liebeck rather than their own stupidity. They bet that she would go away with her tail between her legs. They bet that a jury would be as ignorant and as stupid as they were in their disregard of Mrs.Liebeck's injuries.4.So we come to the crux of the real problem today, public education, and its propensity to educate tothe lowest common denominator. Those at the bottom of the mix are left behind and those at the topare beaten down to the middle or over-medicated to blend in. Any child who shows early signs of being different, being ahead of the curve that is, well we can't have that now can we. Brilliance is adisruption to the flow of information to the middle and normalcy is what we seek. Mediocrity is intruth what we seem to strive for even in government today. It is what we are apparently comfortable