Strategic Stupidity: They May Be Smarter Than You Think

I am about to say something that may sound shocking: Mama June is smart. I don't need to have seen a single episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to realize this. So are the cast of Duck Dynasty, Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte and the pop star Ke$ha. How? While I don't know the actual IQ of these people, they have been able to make (in some cases) millions off their "stupidity."

These people aren't stupid. While we could debate how smart they really are for days, they use a term people in the communication or business world call "strategic stupidity." Strategic stupidity is where a person or group acts dumber than they actually are in order to achieve what they want. It's a strange scenario. People watch these types of shows where people act "stupid."While some viewers will not openly admit to viewing these types of shows, the ratings, merchandise and other endorsements that these people receive says otherwise. They realize the show is to purely entertain. Their bar is low.

In these cases, by lowering the bar it is easier to appeal to society's expectations and therefore their wallets. Ever watch something with the expectation that it will be bad? The film or show might not have any real big names, but that doesn't mean that it won't be good, yet it is still surprising when it is. On the flip-side, if a movie/show has a high-profiled actor, producer, or director, the game is changed. Society wants and expects the piece to be up to their expectations and is surprised when it isn't. They don't want to feel hoodwinked and it is less likely if the bar is set lower.

It is natural for a person to have their expectations either too high or too low. The reason this occurs could be a multitude of things. Pop-culture plays a role. So does experiences either personally or observed. By attempting to live by the age-old saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" society can attempt to combat this concept. However, it is easier said than done.

Sometimes in order to get ahead, one must learn to play the game. The people using the strategic stupidity are doing just that. Are they geniuses? I don't know. They all have strengths in certain areas and weaknesses in others. It is to their advantage to set the bar low. We don't expect much from these people. We are surprised when they exceed our expectations and don't feel used when they don't. Whatever the outcome, they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Could this concept of strategic stupidity ever be stopped? It depends. In the entertainment world, it is still a mixed-bag. There are still plenty of shows that educate or make the viewer think. Still, the key phrase in entertainment is "to entertain." Sometimes a viewer doesn't want to think and if these TV shows, musical acts, or movies do the trick. In the case of television, much of these shows receive high ratings and might help to finance the more educational shows. I have noticed somewhat of a shift. Scripted shows are working on stations like MTV where for a while it was primarily reality-based programs. However it is up to the viewers as a whole to want the change to happen.

While strategic stupidity is abundant in everything from entertainment to our daily lives, it is important to remember that behind the "stupid" is a person who is using what they have to make their mark. The ones that use this method and truly get ahead either have a secret genius of sorts beneath the exterior or a reliable person in their corner. Sometimes being smart doesn't mean being book smart. It means knowing how to work your assets and abilities to your advantage. It takes a smart person (or someone surrounding this person) to realize this in order for the goal to be achieved. There is nothing stupid about that.

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