David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 296: Graham Parker (Museum Of Stupidity)

November 2, 2023

Graham Parker deserves more accolades. With a rapier sharp wit, he skewered anything and everything that irked him. From his "Local Girls," a vicious attack on the girls in his hometown more interested in the sailors who came through than the local boys, to "Mercury Poisoning," his attack of his first record label, he provided satire, parody, and outright snark better than most. He carried that attitude through songs like "Empty Lives," with its "can't hear your cries/so don't get me to fill up/your empty lives." His summation of the rest of the world seemed most evident on "Museum of Stupidity," a song snuck on an EP given away with the 1991 vinyl version of Struck By Lightning (and for some of us, discovered as the delightful final track on the Passion Is No Ordinary Word compilation of Parker's brilliant songs).

Parker lays out a pretty good case for a museum of stupidity, offering us glimpses into various exhibits, at least as of 1991:

  • A cloistered area, I am sure, for the PMRC (for you youngsters out there, the PMRC was the Parents Music Resource Center, which sought to control what music kids could listen to).
  • A gallery for the "bullshit drug war," which would nowadays need a secret back door that let visitors out into the freedom of legalized marijuana in many states.
  • A corner for 2 Live Crew, apparently as an appendage to the PMRC exhibit as evidence of their stupidity, but perhaps also highlighted as some larger societal stupidity. It's not entirely clear there, Graham. Would it reinforce anything if I told you they were not even in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame?
  • An entire wing to religion with the disturbing interactive elements of tools by which "to hammer nails through the backs of your brains."
  • A small nature area dedicated to Japanese fishermen who seem willing to fish to the extinction their very livelihood.
  • An IMAX dedicated to American advertisement, which given the time, includes a lot of frogs and dancing raisins.
  • And a facilities area sponsored by the "British gutter press" replete with large mirrors.

The only problem is Parker suggests we lock it all up and throw away the key.  What the heck, Graham, don't be so short-sighted?

For one thing, we want to get the stupid into the museum and keep them there as long as we can. Therefore, since the stupid could line up for miles and miles long, basically we need to keep the museum open 24/7. Also, I just need to let you know, Graham, that since 1991 we have added a lot of exhibits. Today, the stupid could spend decades confronting, and perhaps still ignoring, their own stupidity. Or, let me put it this way, for your next reunion tour, you may want to work on a disco version of "Museum Of Stupidity." You'd have hundreds and hundreds of additional verses. Some of the highlights of the MoS in the three decades since you proposed it:

  • An interactive exhibit to all the smart things that have not made us smarter: smart phones, smart refrigerators, smart cars. You name it. We have stuck the exhibit in the basement, as far away from the brains of the operation as we can.
  • Immediately upon entering, you come upon the Social Media Atria, a series of open spaces where people can learn about social media, all while never taking their eyes off of their social media. X marks the spot!
  • A series of small, dark, barrack-type rooms create our Cult Culture exhibit. Each room has some kind of shadowy figure, perhaps a wanna-be minister, perhaps a comet, perhaps an orange toupee, with the mannequins of hundreds of dead people on their knees around them in poses of supplication.
  • A courthouse-looking annex provides the space for the American Legal System. Everything is broken, including the evidence chain necessary for the Hall of Clothes, O.J.'s glove, Monica's blue dress, and JonBenet Ramsey's pageant dress, to name just a few of its highlights.
  • Behind a door staffed by angry women with hair buns lies the American Health Care System waiting room. Only the strong (of will) can get in because of all the paperwork applicable for existing conditions necessary for entry.
  • To the far right is the Gallery of Guns, the souls of thousands young boys and girls ready to weep as you line up to pay homage to the Second Amendment.
  • The Congressional Wing has been permanently closed while we wait for members to vote on the security guard.
  • Similarly, the NCAA Press Box is currently not open, as it awaits final confirmation of each visitor's Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) clause.

I'm telling you, Graham, the 2023 version of the MoS is stupendous, gloriously aw-ful. Your original exhibits, with the exception of the religious wing, barely get a visitor. It takes a lot to keep ahead of stupidity these days.

Parker, Graham. "Museum Of Stupidity." Struck By Lightning (additional EP). RCA, 1991. Link here.

Day 295: Michael Been "Worried"

Day 297: Foreigner "The Damage Is Done"

See complete list here.