Assorted Ideas

Meme Warning: Elbow Ass Distinction Disorder Is Really Catching

Elbow Ass Distinction Disorder, EADD, rages across the U.S. It’s catching, and although the symptoms aren’t clear, experts promise you’ll know it when you see it.

By David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

I first became aware of the scourge of EADD — Elbow Ass Distinction Disorder — when it was exposed by the great American novelist Saul Bellow.

His son Greg was two years old, and Bellow showed that his kid, upon request, could point to either his elbow or his behind. At that, the writer declared, “he knows more than the average Harvard graduate.

Bellow had little patience with people whose formal education masked a lack of common, conventional wisdom, that is people who didn’t know their asses from their elbows. And he didn’t mind pointing it out.

Winner of Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes and three time winner of the National Book Award for fiction, Saul Bellow may become best known for illuminating the frightening world on EADD.

Daffy Duck
Daffy Duck suffered from EADD – Elbow and Ass Distinction Disorder

Detecting Elbow and Ass Distinction Disorder

EADD hides in plain sight, sorry for the cliche, but in the past four years in America, it’s rampant. It’s not widely reported because, experts suspect, newsrooms are full of it.

Frequently disguised as a contest between scientific fact and preferred beliefs.

But there’s really no contest.

Scientific facts emerge from an ever-evolving search for basic truths knowable and testable.

Preferred beliefs are the option of choice when truth induces discomfort, screaming fits, cheerful predictions of Armageddon and war. That is, when you don’t know your ass from your elbow and sink into deep denial.

Where can you find it?

The low hanging fruit is angry bumper stickers and themed political hats.

If something’s true, anger doesn’t make it any more so, especially at 65 MPH on the Interstate, and why would anyone want someone to read their hats in the first place?

This is what passes for conversation during a meme-infused EADD outbreak.

It also goes for T-shirts, but it’s especially true when shirt design begs attention to body parts. Boobs, in other words, playing substitute for brains is a dead giveaway.

EADD among vociferous patriots…

A sure symptom of Elbow Ass Distinction Disorder is conflating patriotism with government. Patriotism isn’t the province of whoever parks his butt in the Oval Office or of whoever’s blowing smoke on Capital Hill.

Patriotism is about the country, its people, values, art, achievements and direction, and that means fairness too.

American government is inherently unfair, always has been, out of balance power ceded to slaveholding states and others recruited to buttress the imbalance.

A decent government would’ve addressed that long ago. Who’s against equal representation for all?

Ha! Ha!

A rhetorical question, of course, and that brings us to MAGA.

MAGA was never about making America great again. It was about making America elitist again. Some elites want to yank back power ceded to their fellow Americans out of common decency, but it’s conditioned on a con job.

The men and women wearing MAGA hats aren’t getting a bigger slice of the American pie, but they get satisfying reassurance that none of “those people” will either.

In fact, wearing MAGA paraphernalia of any kind is prima facie evidence of Elbow Ass Distinction Disorder.

But politics ain’t the whole floppy thing…

Bring in the business.

In 1969, Laurence J. Peters brought us The Peter Principle, and it remains firmly in effect.

What Peters showed is that, in American business practice, EADD is ingrained.

I works like this. Based on merit, an act of fairness everybody likes, worker promotions assure that upgrades continue until the worker finally achieves his or her level of incompetence.

Once he or she lands where they can’t perform well enough to get promoted again, there they stay. At their level of incompetence.

EADD is foundational.


All you need to do is deal with customer service a few times, and you’ll get it. EADD was behind whoever manages those gut-wrenching operations. Exceptions occur, Chewy for one, Fresh Direct for another, but they just prove the rule.

Conclusion: Elbow Ass Distinction Disorder

Many more examples walk by you on the street every day. They call you on the phone, and they post on Facebook.

And sadly, they never know they’ve got it.

Be a friend. No known cure for EADD exists, but you can take steps in avoiding it yourself.

You can watch less TV, designed to afflict you with rampant consumerism, and you can read a book. Talk to a neighbor, or visit with your family.

Hell, you can even get a bit of cure from PBS and NPR, but donate please.

And decide decisively to make up your own mind. Exercising your brain is more salubrious than all the lean, leafy vegetables in the world.

Let’s stamp out Elbow Ass Distinction Disorder in our lifetimes.

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