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Ronny's PIPERS are a pip 

Published in the Brookline TAB

August 3, 2000


A TAB notice two weeks ago about the creation of a group called PIP left me confused. To tell you the truth, at first I suspected it was a clever spoof of political campaign excess. I thought: Whoever planted that item in the paper sure put one over on the editor!

But now I hear the notice was legitimate. There really is a new Brookline organization called Progressive Intelligent People. It was formed "for the purpose of promoting and electing worthy, forward thinking and independent persons to state and local offices."

That seems like a decent goal. After all, who could object to thinking forwardly? True, PIP's goal sounds a lot like Brookline PAX's goal, but I suppose if there's room for one progressive group in town, two are even better. So the two P's in PIP I understand. Progressive People. Why not?

But then there's that middle "I." PIP is only open to Intelligent people. This immediately presents a problem. Since most people think they're more intelligent than average, how can PIP keep out applicants who are dumber than they realize?

Fortunately, I have a solution. PIP's recruiters should give applicants an IQ test. Would-be Intelligent people exposed as only Average would have to start their own group: PAP. But with special permission--for instance, if they're extra-Progressive or extra-special-People--they could join PIP as non-voting members, if they agreed to take remedial courses or lots of ginkgo biloba to boost their brain power.

PIP's organizers may not have considered another risk: the name might embarrass intelligent people who don't like to brag about their brain power. (It also insults intelligent people whose preferred candidates aren't PIP-worthy, though I don't suppose PIP cares much about them.) At any rate, I'm surprised the PIPS think that showing off their high IQs is a big selling point in these politically correct times. Perhaps a name like PEP--Progressive Elitist People--would be more accurate.

PIP must be busy, since they've already met and picked one forward thinking and independent person worthy enough to support. There's even a new subcommittee with a name as peppy as the original: the PIPERS--Progressive Intelligent People to Elect Ronny Sydney.

The TAB explained how to join the PIPERS but not the overall PIP. Maybe the task of picking Ronny left the group too worn out to consider which other forwardly thinking candidates might be worthy of attention, so instead of continuing their search they all just joined the PIPERS.

My internal cynic tells me that the whole PIP/PIPERS game is a sham. Maybe PIP's purpose isn't to support all worthy forward thinkers but only Ronny Sydney's forward thinking. Maybe Ronny's supporters simply thought they needed to counter Frank Smizik's "Progressive Women for Smizik" group while also clarifying that Ronny's supporters are just as smart as Frank's.

But that can't be, I shush my cynic, because a silly tit-for-tat name game would be so obvious as to make the PIPERS an object of ridicule, and that's not so smart.

Sure, Frank's PWS group was created merely to show that the guy candidate has women supporters just like the gal candidate (besides his wife, of course, who in a complicating bit of irony happens to be co-chair of Brookline PAX). But PWS's creation isn't very ridicule-worthy, because gender is an actual voter concern, and the name is more descriptive than offensive.

But when did intelligence become a relevant issue? If it is, maybe Ronny and Frank should both take PIP's IQ test. Or at least the MCAS.

No, I think my internal nag is working too hard. Ronny gets the benefit of the doubt. I figure she had nothing to do with all this, because she strikes me as too smart, humane, and politically astute to come up with, or even approve of, the PIPERS name.

I'd guess some supporter was just trying to be helpful, but I'd advise Ronny to kick whoever it was out of the PIPERS for not being politically smart enough to join.

And Ronny: please change the name before someone makes fun of it!

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