“Never underestimate the influence of stupidity on history.”
The above is a quote from one of my mentors back in college that has stuck with me all these years. Every time I start to forget or ignore that maxim, some entity (person, country, etc…) does something so plainly, painfully idiotic that I can only shake my head and remember Professor Frank’s words…
Thanks, United Airlines, for reminding me just what fucknuts humans can be.
The worst part? I’m not even talking about the fact that they – literally – pulled a guy physically off the plane and beat the shit out of him. No, I’m talking about the response from their jackass CEO. You know, those initial Monday words that he now can’t backpedal away from fast enough or far enough.
Now, I’ve mentioned before that my professional background is sales and marketing. I escaped that particular prison camp, thankfully, but the skills and knowledge are still there. It really ain’t all that hard, folks: you don’t insult the shit out of your customers when trying to cover up your own incompetence.
The best words are still those I once had to use to a player on a minor league team I worked for (when I was still involved in sports): you don’t punch the fucking fans!
No, Mr. CEO, you don’t fuck up then go out and blame everyone else. You go out and suck-up and grovel and apologize like a six year old caught in the act. Then, behind the scenes, you fix shit and make sure it never happens again. That way you get to keep your job. As of right now, I would not put any kind of bet on Mr. Munoz’s survival in that organization. Nope, not a chance – oh, he’ll last a few months, maybe even a year, to let things die down, then he’ll “resign” to “spend more time with family”.
The moral of this little story is this: people do really, really stupid shit.
Even smart, capable folks have those moments when they can fuck up taking a bunch of sailors to a brothel, let alone running a company. Or a country.
That, honestly, is something we writers need to remember for our own characters as well. Yes, you want to plot tightly and have multiple layers and complex dynamics. But sometimes someone just has to do something incredibly stupid to actually be believable.
Now, in reality, that person is probably going to be your protagonist…which is as it should be. If your protagonist is far too smart and capable to “punch the fans”, you’ve got yourself a Mary Sue. You don’t want that. Trust me.