Last week I wrote about my long-standing idea for an art movement called Stupidism, and I mentioned that I had written the Stupidist Manifesto while I was in grad school. I also mentioned that one of my professors at the University of Ottawa was somewhat offended by it. But that’s not to say that there weren’t some who supported it, because there were. One of them suggested that the first draft was not about art, but my own philosophy of what Stupidism is or should be. Since my expertise was in art, I should maybe tweak it to focus on that a little more. So I did some research. I read a number of art manifestos such as the Futurist Manifesto, the Dada Manifesto and well, there are a lot of them! After reading them, I managed to make it a little about my philosophy of Stupidism, and little about art. So I thought I was done!
But like anything one writes, when one looks back at it they tend to think they could make it better. So I’ve written a few more versions of it since. So after not having looked at these for a few years, I decided to re-read them all. In the end, I was going to post the original version, but decided that I would slightly edit it and add some things from another version. So maybe this is the final one? Who knows. Also, I’ve been doing lots of works based on cubism, and I really feel like I’ve found my groove as a painter. Most of it probably isn’t Stupidist, but I do think some of it is, or at least could be. So maybe I’m a part-time Stupidist?
Anyway, if you are offended by swearing (especially words that start with “f”), do not read!
The Stupidist Manifesto
An outline of the principles of Stupidism by Chris Simonite, the world’s Stupidist Artist*
The world is full to the brim with isms. There is no room for another ism. One would have to be stupid to promote another ism. I am stupid. I am a Stupidist. I am a practitioner of Stupidism.
Everything I create is Stupidist, because the source of virtually all material is stupid.
Manifesto of Stupidism
Please note: If anything in this manifesto does not follow logically, the author of this document embraces this fact.
- Stupidism is a response to stupidity. It seeks to be vigilant of said in all areas of human endeavor where possible. The Stupidist must also be aware that all people, including Stupidists may be prone to stupidity. The Stupidist must thoughtfully ponder any charge of stupidity. And if they do not, then fuck them.
- The Stupidist seeks out truth but does not claim to know anything absolutely.
- The Stupidist sees art as both culture and a reflection of culture, not as a way of knowing.
- The guiding principle of Stupidism is (you guessed it) that the human being is ultimately stupid. That is not to say that everything about a given individual is stupid, or that all individuals are morons. It is merely an acknowledgment that people believe stupid things and that they do stupid things all the fucking time. Like not moving to the back of the fucking bus when it’s crowded or not giving up their seat to old people. Stupid, selfish assholes.
- The Stupidist must acknowledge their own stupidity. The Stupidist understands that many of the ideas that they hold dear may be completely false. The Stupidist is not an expert in everything and may, in fact not be an expert in anything at all. All ideas held by the Stupidist are subject to constant review and possible revision. Fucking stupid Stupidists.
- It is only through critical thinking that a Stupidist may fight the stupidity inherent in all, including any and all Stupidists. The Stupidist acknowledges that critical thinking must be learned and that a good critical thinker must attempt to practice critical thinking at all times. It is for this reason that the Stupidist must always maintain a level of respect for the individual who falls prey to a stupid idea, because that person may not have been exposed to critical thinking. The Stupidist may, however point out the Stupidity of the idea. The Stupidist is always willing to be wrong, because the Stupidist is fucking stupid.
- The Stupidist is interested in exploring issues concerning epistemology. The Stupidist questions assumptions in any and all fields including, but not limited to, assumptions regarding: spirituality; religion; pseudo-science; gender and sexuality; politics; nationalism and militarism. Essentially any ideology that is prone to stupid fucking ideas.
- All art created by a Stupidist must be guided by the above principles. The Stupidist understands that works created utilizing these principles may in fact be stupid and if that is the case, the Stupidist may be well pleased. However, it is not necessarily the goal of the Stupidist to create stupid artworks. By keeping the principles of Stupidism in mind the Stupidist artist may create works that challenge ideas that many people hold dear.
Because the Stupidist acknowledges that all humans are inherently stupid, it follows that all human ideas are subject to scrutiny on the basis that they may be stupid ideas. It is the goal of the Stupidist artist to expose this stupidity while understanding that in attempting this, the artist may be exposed as stupid. A true Stupidist will embrace this exposure.
- The Stupidist champions alternatives to traditional art making. The Stupidist loves traditional art making too.
- Stupidism rejects intellectual and artistic obscurantism. The Stupidist refuses to engage with Deepities.**
- The goal of the Stupidist is to create works that begin a conversation about any ideas that may be raised by a given artwork. It is not the goal of the Stupidist to provide concrete answers or solutions to problems. The Stupidist is too stupid to provide these answers anyway, and as stated above the answers should be subject to change based on new information. The Stupidist also acknowledges that there may be no solutions to a given artistic inquiry. Human beings are often too fucking stupid to find these solutions anyway.
- One of the most important tools in the arsenal of the Stupidist artist is humour. Humour in the guise of satire, parody and absurdity are excellent tools for pointing out the stupidity inherent in human endeavours. Thus humour is helpful in beginning a conversation about said stupidity. It’s also fucking fun to laugh at our own stupidity.
Acknowledging his inherent stupidity,
January 21, 2011. Rev. June 14, 2020.
*The author of this document acknowledges that referring to himself as “the world’s only Stupidist Artist” would have been more appropriate, however, the “World’s Stupidist Artist,” is stupid and is thus more in keeping with the principles of Stupidism.
*Wiktionary defines a deepity as follows: A superficial equivocation which only seems to be profound. The term was coined by the philosopher Daniel Dennett.