Dumb Answers

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / HierCon / Cops /

Help! Police!

Yesterday [1990s somewhen] there was a fire in Woodhaven Estates, a trailer park across the street from mine. Whatever was burning included some stuff far from the normal: the smoke was acrid and stank. My poor little overburdened Brunns Road, rural in appearance with some cow pasture, some raggle-taggle pine woods … and more trailer parks and trailers than meet the eye. Traffic is worse than in many parts of the Bronx or Brooklyn, which at least have the decency to look like what they are: ghettos, run down industrial slums … The posted speed is 25 MPI: which means that the cars and trucks come through like Indy. Hwy 27 is the only N/S route and more and more people learn to use Brunns Road as an alternate. I emerge from my studio down the block to see cars backed up an eighth of a mile at the stop sign to Hammock Road. Sirens are screaming all over, flashing lights, cops, fire trucks, ambulances … I drive toward my place in Sebring Gardens, at the north end of the strip, and I see the black smoke billowing from the fire at the westernmost stretch of one of Woodhaven Estates “communities.” Brunns Road runs for approximately one mile north and then curves into a name change: Howie Road, which intersects with Hwy 27 [since renamed Flare Road]. I see a sheriff’s car parked by the curve. I drive up, park, wait for more traffic to stream though the curve, and walk over to the cop car. I see an overweight blond with permed hair bristling as she stuffed her uniform like a sausage.

fat blond cop
thanx Fat Goombah Cop

I hold my smile even as she’s slow to button her window down so she can hear why I’m coming up to her.

“Do you know why the smoke stinks so bad?” I ask her.

“There’s a fire,” she says.

One time I was driving the PK Fine Artsmobile back to NYC from upstate. I had my skis with me: just in case. I pull over and sleep in this VW bus in the parking lot for Hunter Mountain Ski Resort. If the snow looks good when I awake, I’ll squeeze in a few runs before getting back to the grind. When I awake though it’s pouring rain. I mean a deluge. I piss into the big empty soda bottle with a cap I carry for the purpose, empty it through the side door slid open only a crack, wet a hankie to clear the sleep from my eyes, crank the sewing machine engine, and drive over to where some poor minimum wager is standing in a yellow slicker to direct the non-existent traffic. The resort has enough employees that the lot is far from empty, but there sure are no skiers. If the weather prediction says a let up is coming, I’ll hang around and hope. If not, I’ll head for the Thruway and the Apple. I crank the widow just enough to yell through the torrent, “Have you heard a weather report?”

“It’s raining,” he says.

Now I have long believed that terminally stupid people should be fed and sheltered by a humane society. They should not be encouraged to breed. And they certainly should not be employed. Cybernetics could handle most tasks that are filled by people. Let the competent fill the rest: retire the incompetent. And certainly no morons should be put between the public and the services they need. I’d rather talk to a robot at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the IRS: or the Hunter Parking lot, than the human vegetables they put there.

Minimally, they should hire people alert enough to understand when they don’t understand a question. What is worse than to have your time wasted by someone whose answer contains less information than the question asked?

Time wasted by someone whose answer contains
less information than the question asked

You see, the guy gave no indication that he understood that he hadn’t understood.

The guy gave no indication that he understood that he hadn’t understood.

My school teachers, my college professors, my graduate school committee … betrayed no sense that they recognized that they were just blockages in the possible communications stream. I wanted to disenfranchise the professors (that’s why I founded FLEX). This clown in the yellow slicker I wanted to euthanize.

To this fat female cop I still held my smile and added, “But the smoke stinks, something chemical. Do you know what burning that’s making that stink?”

She said, “I’d say whatever it is that’s burning.”

Claude Shannon defined information as the reciprocal of the predictability of the signal. I would not have anticipated either of her answers. So, technically, her utterances were full of information. It just wasn’t the information asked for. The relevant information content remained zero, while she used more and more words.

The relevant information content remained zero,
while she used more and more words.

The dumb hillbilly in the Hunter parking lot made no effort to sound authoritative. He just followed the simple principle that if speech-like noises where made at you, you should make speech-like noises back. This cop enunciated her irrelevancies like a school teacher, like a cop: as THE authority.

And, she was armed.

Despite her weaponry I said, “So you don’t really know anything about it?”

“No,” she agreed.

But I doubt that she’s gone and turned her badge in. I doubt that on her own she’ll sign up for a relevancy clinic.

And how would she find one if she wanted to? With FLEX it would have been easy for her to try.

2013 04 22 I assure you that I no longer hold many of the above opinions. I do not believe that human society, on its best day, could tell the difference between competent and incompetent, any more than we can tell good from bad, true from false, order from murder.

Cop Stories

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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