Gump and Gumper

“Stupid is,” a great though imaginary person once said, “as stupid does.”

However it does for “Tropic Thunder” (and its opening weekend numbers, $26 million to beat out “The Dark Knight” for top spot, suggest it is playing pretty well), going the “full retard” doesn’t seem a liability when it comes to running for President. Since “Forrest Gump” came out in 1994, stupid has done pretty well for candidates, especially lately when its opposite is no longer “smart” but “elitist.” It works even better at selling politicians than selling beer. As Susan Jacoby saysin a recent interview, “It shows that a lot of politicians think they have to play to ignorance and label anything that goes against received opinion as elitism.”

But back to the movies. Are they really that stupid? “Tropic Thunder,” one can argue, doesn’t really do the full retard per se, but does it ironically. Or is that just elitist reasoning?

 And look at the heroes of two of the year’s biggest hits, “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight.” Now those are elitists: smart, well educated, rich, connoiseurs of fine things, especially women. But then again, those are their secret identities. Who knows, maybe behind those masks they are as stupid as you or me.

In a way, they’re kind of like John McCain, who has managed to hide his multi-millionaire status, muddled adulteries, blue blood heritage, and marriage to an heiress (maybe the reason that doesn’t make him an elitist like John Kerry is that Cindy keeps her mouth shut) and instead characterizes Barack Obama with his hardscrabble background and uppity ideas as “elitist.”

Ironically, “Gump” star Tom Hanks has gone and endorsed the smarty-pants Obama. But the spirit of the movie prevails: “Run, Forrest, run!”


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