The new species of Stupido-Erudio americanus, or stupid-educated Americans

By Craig Cantoni | March 11, 2009

A new species has been found in North America. Its scientific name is Stupido-Erudio americanus, and its common name is stupid-educated Americans.

They tend to congregate along the Pacific coast, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts, and in big cities across the land, especially where neighborhoods have been gentrified, where trendy restaurants serve pretty and tiny haute cuisine, where trendy supermarkets sell organic food grown in cow manure, where factories and refineries are unwelcome and have been exported elsewhere, and where light rail lines have been built at great expense at the urging of Stupido-Erudio americanus, who, strangely, don’t use the lines, preferring instead to drive their Prius, Volvo, BMW, Porsche, Lexus, or Infiniti to the trendy restaurants, where they use valet parking.

They have undergraduate and graduate degrees from the best universities; they marry within their own species but believe in diversity; they think global warming is a serious problem and man-caused; they are non-judgmental about other people, unless the other people are hunters, soldiers, working-class workers, church-goers, Sarah Palin, or Joe the Plumber; they idolize Barack Obama; they think George W. Bush and New York Times columnist David Brooks are free-market conservatives instead of statists like themselves; they make big bucks as lawyers, regulatory experts, specialized paper pushers, and software writers; they’ve never set foot in a factory, refinery, mine, meat-packing plant, power plant, or Wal-Mart; and they don’t know any engineers, production supervisors, production workers, or other bourgeoisie and proletariats who work in such places and produce the stuff that they and other Supido-Erudio americanus use.

I recently attended a social gathering of the species, where I pretended to be one of them. That meant putting on a sensitive air, holding my glass of chardonnay the correct way, talking about my trips to Europe and lamenting that the United States isn’t like the Continent, nodding my head in agreement about the ignorance of Republicans, showing off my knowledge of the different varieties of arugula, and tsk-tsking about the lack of funding for public education, the arts, healthcare, green energy, and public transit.

My cover was almost blown when someone asked where my kid was thinking of going to college. I responded his top choice is the engineering school at Purdue Univ. in West Lafayette, Ind. Looking at me as if I had tracked dog litter across the environmentally-correct floor made of bamboo wood, the stupid-educated American said, “Ugh, West Lafayette is such an awful place to live.”

My first impulse was to put the pompous ass into a headlock and dunk his foliated face into a bowl of organic pate. Instead, I smiled and agreed with him, while thinking to myself that the jerk hates West Lafayette for the very reason that my son, wife, and I like it — that is, it doesn’t have a lot of Stupido-Erudio americanus living there, which means that the students and town folk are unpretentious and down-to-earth, probably due to Purdue’s roots as an engineering school. “Yeah,” I said, “West Lafayette is not like Princeton, New Jersey.”

The stupid-educated American took that as a sign I was the right species after all. Actually, having lived in the Garden State for 10 years that seemed like 20, I had spent a lot of time in Princeton at business conferences and disliked it because it was overrun with as many Stupido-Erudio americanus as Berkeley, Madison, Cambridge, New Haven, and Georgetown.
When other stupid-educated Americans began talking to me about global warming, I decided to inflict pain on their half-formed brains. “What are your favorite scientific sources and scientists on the subject?” I asked. No words came out of their mouths, but their eyes blinked, smoke was emitted from their ears, and gears could be heard grinding inside their craniums. Continuing, I said, “My favorite environmental scientist is Dr. S. Fred Singer.”

Pretending to know who he is, they nodded in agreement, not knowing that he is a highly-credentialed debunker of hypotheses on anthropogenic global warming.

I tortured them on many other subjects, but especially on economics, poverty, healthcare, and political philosophy. Their knowledge was so thin in these subjects I felt as if I were speaking to chocolate-covered rocks. When their veneer of sugary, politically-correct buzzwords, platitudes, and sophistry was removed, nothing but ignorance could be found underneath.

No doubt, when the children of Stupido-Erudio americanus come home from government school and tell mommy and daddy what they learned that day from unionized teachers, their parents beam with pride. When my kid comes home from school and repeats a canard he heard during the day, I use it as a learning opportunity to tell him the facts.

My son might decide to go to college in West Lafayette, but at least he won’t grow up to be a Stupido-Erudio americanus or a chocolate-covered rock.

An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at