Books, bozo’s, and pigheads…REALLY???

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by Kenneth Justice

~ Yesterday I was sitting at coffee with a friend of mine and the person sitting next to us interjected into the conversation, “I totally disagree with what you’re saying!” he said

In his mid-forties, the man did not like my belief that it’s important to study an issue before arriving at a strong opinion,

It seems to me that a lot of people become extremely opinionated about things they know very little about and that they’ve spent next to no time studying” I said

I don’t need to study data or read research studies to know everything there is to know about a subject!” he fired back, “You’re just a stupid pigheaded liberal” he said

I’m not sure what made me chuckle the most, the fact that the silly little subject we were discussing was about STOP signs and YIELD signs (the traffic signs on the side of the road) or that the dude called me pigheaded.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I have a sneaky suspicion that modern NEWS programs are to blame for this know-it-all attitude which permeates our country; if you turn on a NEWS show you will see people blathering on-and-on about topic after topic, yet there will be very little substance to anything they have to say. It just seems that Western Culture has become a society enamored with blather.

It’s not unusual to listen to people spend more time talking about nonsense in our culture than about the things that matter most. It’s not unusual to listen to someone talk for an hour and barely hear one coherent sentence that is worth repeating.

I overhear more conversations at coffee about the newest video game that was released or the latest sports score, than I do about things of a higher nature.

Essentially, what the dude at coffee was arguing with me about was the need to read and study. He believed that reading and studying are worthless endeavors. And once I finally got him of the subject of calling me pigheaded, he ended up blathering on endlessly about the various women he is trying to date and all the women he can’t stand in life. In fact, his rant about women went on so long, at one point I interjected and asked, “Excuse me sir, but I’m going to take a guess that your entire life is pretty much about two things; going to work and trying to date women. Is there anything more to your life?” I’m not sure if he really appreciated that question because he got really quiet afterwards.

If you’re not sure whether to believe me that intellectually is declining in the West, consider this; according to The Atlantic, 25% of all Americans haven’t read a single book in the past year. Of course, I’m sure those people have read Facebook status updates, Tweets, and a few thousand text messages from their friends. But as far as reading substantive material; a big fat NADA.

If you’re reading this article….thank you. It is much appreciated. Now I need to finish my coffee,

Kenneth

 

 



Categories: Culture & Society

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33 replies

  1. what an ignorant fool… (since he fired words at you, I feel the freedom to fire some towards him)

    I laughed in disbelief when I read your post… and now I want to get off this planet- it has been poisoned by ignorant minds… 😦

    but hey- he has a right to his opinion and I take back my own ignorance!!!! 🙂

  2. There has always been a strong streak of anti-intellectualism in America, but I think now, with constant on-air and internet opinionating, it’s moved into the foreground a lot more. Ironically, it is an unhappy result of the democratizing of public media. There are still many voices out there worth hearing, but they’re increasingly being drowned out, and the problem is compounded by the cynical adoption of know-nothing positions to bring in money by large broadcasters. I’ll leave it to you to decide who those are. It is all part and parcel with the passion for rudeness disguised as honesty and forthrightness that has consume us.

  3. There seems too much information from the internet as more companies are entering into the apps world.

    >

  4. I see the disdain for education in numerous areas of my life. I was even informed the other day by my bosses boss that my use of “high-level” language in the workplace made other people think I was being condescending or arrogant. I didn’t realize that knowing standard English words and using proper grammar (learned in the 90s primarily) was considered so offensive in today’s society but apparently it’s the reason I’m struggling to advance in that corporation. It baffles me that I was actually told to dumb it down. Doesn’t that only encourage people not to try?

  5. LOL, people call me names all the time, but never pigheaded, which ironically probably would fit best. I have had days where I have managed to be both a rabid right winger and a stupid liberal, narrow minded and myopic and yet so open minded my brains have fallen out. Since even I find it hard to exist in two conflicting realities at the same time, I’m going to have to blame the media and the daily memes for teaching people that life can be summed up in a tweet comprised of 144 characters or less.

  6. I think you are very smart and intelligent and not supid at all! I think most people who call other people stupid actually feel pretty stupid themselves, so they put down others to feel better about themselves.

  7. Ironic. A pigheaded person calling someone who believes in learning and thinking before making a decision “pigheaded”. From dictionary dot com:

    adjective
    1.
    stupidly obstinate; stubborn:
    “pigheaded resistance.”

    I get that some people are going to reflexively hate liberals (or conservatives, depending on their personal point of view) or reflexively hate someone that they think matches their criteria for the label. But it takes a special form of simplicity and ignorance to use words against them that don’t apply, even through the lens of the person speaking.

    I mean, does it strike anyone else as absurd to label a research-oriented, pro-thinking intellectual as stupid? It’s not just this guy. I’ve heard plenty of people call intellectuals “stupid”. I can see support for the argument that intellectuals are elitist or condescending (sometimes it’s hard to be polite when people are being frustratingly stupid and sometimes it’s hard to dumb it down, as dobetteralways up there points out), but to call people who are “too smart for their own good”, who spend too much time reading and thinking, who use complex sentences and vocabulary…. stupidly obstinate? lol

  8. I don’t mean to go political, but it isn’t the “pigheaded” part that got me, but calling anyone who wants to actually know something about a subject a “liberal” that I find interesting. There once was a time when people thought conservationism was based on logic and fact while liberalism was based on emotion but I guess those days are long gone.

  9. So sad, that humans have time to text and not to read. As a writer of children’s picture book nonfiction, my objective is to make learning more fun and an incentive to read more. We have to instill a love of reading at an early age before the technology spin takes over.

  10. Okay, by far one of my most favorite random conversations of yours! Seriously!
    PS – I read a book last night. An entire one! 🙂

  11. This is so funny Kenneth, a person correcting you… chiming in to prove your point….

  12. Not only is being dumbed down promoted in our country..So is the sentiment that everybodys’ business it ours..Jeez, the nerve of him to interject in YOUR chat to call you offensive names..As IF anyone asked for his opinion in the first place..Granted, I’m into free-for-all conversations..I’ve begun & been involved in tons of them..However, courtesy should still be observed; especially with strangers. I’ll go onto say one more thing..Reading and/or love of reading can begin at home…We must all fight to see libraries kept in existence! I could go on & on..You always get me started lols!

  13. “You’re just a stupid pigheaded liberal”
    LOL
    Common sense isn’t a gift, but a punishment that you have to deal with everyone who doesn’t have it. 😀
    Looks like I read your story;rude but funny 😉

  14. It is so useless to argue with such people. A complete wastage of time in this already short life of ours… 😀

  15. I don’t think intellectuality is in decline. Book reading is up. The truth is that there have always been ignorant people. The problem is that we are taught that we should have opinions about things. It’s rare to hear someone admit that they just don’t know.

  16. So I had this exact conversation with my dad the other day while watching the news. It was all sound bites and no actual sited research. I asked him where we are getting our “facts” from (I think we have already established that facts are a rarity). He said the news media was supposed to give sound bites and that we, the public, need to do our own research. After all, we have the worlds knowledge at our fingertips these days. I beg to differ. We have the world’s opinions at our finger tips. Real research is still an art. However, after someone forms an opinion, no matter what it’s based on, they are not going to be persuaded by research. Only an act of God will sway them. At least that’s my experience.

    Coffee with that creamer?

  17. That’s a funny story, Ken (I think). I used to have more tolerance for guys like that. Now, I just want to get away from them.

  18. I was reading with a big grin! Great writing!! And good to read I’m not the only one worrying about the decline of intellect in the west and the stupid I Know It All Attitude that is talking over tolerance.

  19. In our instant-oriented society, reading is requiring a greater sacrifice these days — a sacrifice for knowledge, depth, and… a thoughtful conversation.

  20. I don’t know. Sometimes reading enlarges us; other times it narrows us. But it is a good way to have an interesting conversation.

  21. I’m trying to be politically active leading up to the next federal election here in Canada, but the sheer amount of ignorant viewpoints I am seeing is leading me to believe that voting should not be a right for all, that maybe it should instead be a privilege for those who understand how to think critically.

    • That was the original plan, voting was restricted to male landowners in the assumption that they were the only ones who could understand the issues. And after the Civil War, literacy tests were used as a way to suppress the votes of blacks in the South. So I’m on board with keeping voting a universal right, but I agree with the people above who have called out the sound byte driven media – not just for turning politics into a twelve ring circus with bullhorns, but also for demonizing education in practically every form. (Side note: I kind of wish I’d been there, although I’m sure the next innocent ears he assaulted with his weemin woes would have included a new paragraph about chicks who read and don’t date proudly obtuse misogynists.)

    • You make a good point, it shouldn’t be done in a way that suppresses votes, but instead there should be government-sponsored critical thinking courses that are free for all citizens to allow anyone and everyone the opportunity to pass and receive voting eligibility.

      The sound-byte driven media isn’t going away anytime soon. Citizens should be encouraged and taught how to see through it though, otherwise voting becomes mostly a fruitless endeavour.

    • “Free for all citizens” – somehow I think you would have an easier time getting that to catch on in Canada than we would here in the US 😉 Nothing gives a certain segment of the political world apoplexy faster than that phrase lol!

    • It’s so ironic too with the two-party perpetual majority government the US has in place. Not exactly the best demonstration of a free democracy!

  22. Reblogged this on lovehappinessandpeace and commented:
    Very Good post, this.

    Agree with Most of the things mentioned, except that ‘Being Opinionated without Studying, or Learning in Depth about an Issue,’ Is Not limited to the West. We have Plenty of that in India.

    As for: ‘talk for an hour and barely hear one coherent sentence that is worth repeating,’ MUCH of that is done by Indian politicos. And the Sad thing is, there are people who not only listen to it, but believe what they say!

    ‘News’ and its blather do form ‘Know-it-All’ attitudes.

    At the same time, the Modern trend in India is: ‘I have Studied (at college) for umpteen number of years, (whereas my parents have not), and so, I know enough and more.’

    MUCH of the so called college education in India is horrible. Students are ‘pushed’ through. If they fail the courses, it is considered that the college is a poor one!

    With ‘that’ sort of situation, youth, having ‘studied’ for a few years, consider themselves experts even on subjects like Psychology and Life.

    But they are ‘Regular’ contributors(!) to Facebook and Twitter! 🙂

    Kudos to Ken for this Great post!

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