Up until last night, I must admit, I never heard of Erykah Badu. The act was part of a new music video promoting a new song, and was generally chastised last night on Fox News by Bill O’Reilly and Jane Skinner. The video shows Badu going full nothingness in her hometown of Dallas, and pretending to be shot in Dealy Plaza, where JFK was assassinated in 1963. An official comment on why she did this was that she is attempting to challenge “group think”. The more I thought about it, the more I lean towards Badu. O’Reilly and Skinner are all wet on this one! Erykah Badu is the BEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR THIS YEAR!

“Group Think” is one of the great evils we face. I saw a commercial for some new pet training device this morning. A small remote control style ‘clicker’ sends some sort of beam at your cat or dog to make it compliant. So I’m thinking, “OK, if we, the public, can buy something like this on TV for using on pets, is there a similar device for using on people out there?” If we can crack the human genome, manipulating human minds remotely should be a piece of cake.

To a large extent, mass manipulation and “group think” has been around for a very long time. It’s called ‘advertising’. Beyond that, so much of our lives are based on pure psychology and perception. There’s that old Wittgenstein joke James Burke told at the beginning of his old TV series, “The Day The Universe Changed” about how stupid people were back in the Middle Ages for thinking that the sun went around the earth. To which Wittgenstein replies, “Ah, yes, but I wonder what it would have looked like?” The joke being that the earth going around the sun looks exactly the same. The difference being what we believe is happening determines how we perceive it.

I recently came upon another fun “group think” example. I do not recall ever seeing this movie from 1981, but I have come across clips of “Rollover” on You-Tube. This particular clip-link has several wonderful examples of “group think”. The premise of this movie is that the Saudis dump their U.S. dollars and bonds, causing a global financial panic. My favorite scene is where a broker tells her trading manager how the dollar has lost 10% in the last hour and gold is now trading at $2000 an ounce. He replies, “By this evening, that’ll be considered cheap!” The poor girl runs back to her work station to buy more gold. Then the manager calls his wife and tells her to grab a suitcase and head for the bank . The next scene shows rioting outside banks as everybody is doing that.

So my hat goes off to Erykah Buda! I won’t say what else comes off. If she really did strip naked in Dealy Plaza to mess with our minds and disrupt “group think”, WAY TO GO! If she just did it for shock value and self-promotion, well, that’s fine with me, too. Grab it while you can! Don’t forget the suitcase, either.