Here’s to the Lazy Ones . . .

“Here’s to the Lazy Ones. The halfwits, the bumblers, the square pegs in the round holes. The ones who don’t see things at all. They’re not fond of rules (can’t remember them). They have no respect for the status-quo, which they think its Latin for Fendi. You cannot quote them, as they say little that is original. You cannot disparage those with no reputations to ruin. About the only thing you can do is ignore them. (You sure as hell cannot hire them, for they are without marketable skills). They don’t change things. They don’t move the human race forward (or even sideways). And while some may see them as lazy, or as merely lacking intellectual curiosity, we see them as eejits . . .

-Not an Apple Commercial


As a follow up to the truly wonderful RIP Facts discussion yesterday, I am compelled to point out its evil twin, something as awful as that was wonderful: Megan Garber’s In Praise of Ignorance: Why It’s OK to Tweet, ‘Who Is Dick Clark?’.

There seems to be some confusion between 1) not knowing who someone is, and 2) publicly revealing, indeed, reveling, in that same ignorance. The question on my mind is rather different than that on Ms. Garber’s: Why should we praise ignorance, laziness or just outright foolishness?

I am perplexed by the defense of this. The intellectually curious Google or Wikipedia something and are immediately rewarded with an answer. “Who is that dead guy, and why is he all over TV and the front pages of newspapers blogs?” It is a perfect example of using a de minimus amount of energy to answer your own question. “Ahhh, so that’s who that old dude was…”

Tweeting out one’s ignorance is not remotely a search for the answer. It appears instead to be a way to take slothful pride (2 sins in 1) in your own lack of knowledge. It is something else, a passive aggressive display (like an attendance badge). “I DON’T KNOW AND I’M TOO LAZY TO EVEN LOOK” is what those tweets say. Imagine what they say to a potential employer (“Sorry, you are not Pensky material.”)

I know the counter arguments: That this generation exists 24/7 in social networks. That there is no line between what they do online or off. They think, therefore they Tweet.

I don’t buy it. I question the intelligence and motivations of those displaying their own ignorance rather than simply Googling; This is not Crowd-Sourcing — nor is it an indicia of a fertile mind nor of intellectual curiosity. Sorry, but this is pure, unadulterated laziness.

I am, apparently, old school. I still think ignorance is something to be ashamed of. As in “How could I not know THAT?!”(face in hand plant). So is posting nude photos of yourself online, getting so hammered as to be the subject of a public shaming, and 100s of other really self-destructive actions online. Perhaps Tweeting ignorance about a public figure 70 years older than you is one end of the spectrum; photos of yourself passed out with penises magic-markered all over your face is the other.

Regardless, The Atlantic pseudo-intellectual defense our youth’s Tweeting their ignorance (Twignorance?) makes perfect sense in a society that is fond of giving out “Participation awards.” If one gets a prize for merely showing up, imagine what accolades there are to be had for showing up and declaring “Look how little I know!” Defending not just ignorance, but aggressive and public ignorance, worn like a badge of honor amongst those artists formerly known as Schmucks derives from similar philosophical underpinnings.

You are free to disagree with me, but I found this to be one of those writings that makes many people think to themselves “No wonder this country is in such awful shape.” The phrase that finally pushed me over the edge — the language that led to this posting — was that the Dick Clark tweeters were “reappropriating ignorance“!?! Just as African Americans have taken back “the N word” and as GLAAD has done for the word Gay Queer, so too the uninformed have recaptured their flag. Three cheers for the cheerfully clueless!

Its not just that this mental masturbation is anti-intellectual fodder — it is that THIS is what passes for deep thought at one of more esteemed literary institutions.

Which reminds me of a little story.

Years ago, I worked on the Sell Side at a brokerage firm. A similar passive aggressive pride in their lack of knowledge existed amongst some of the retail brokers. They earned their money by “Smiling and Dialing;” Doing anything else meant they were earning less money. Anything that resembled craft, hard won experience, or learned insights were badges of dishonor. It was literally true that the less these guys knew, the more money they made.

The equivalent back then of a “Who Is Dick Clark” tweet was a simple question revealing similar prideful ignorance. That was accomplished by asking what the symbol was for a well known stock. It used to say “I am so busy I don’t have time to learn basic symbols.” We used to mock the dumbest of the retail brokers by responding “What is the symbol for EMC?” — which, of course, is E-M-C.

The Atlantic opines “These people refuse to be ashamed of the need to question something.” And that’s their problem — they should be.


In Praise of Ignorance: Why It’s OK to Tweet, ‘Who Is Dick Clark?’
Megan Garber
The Atlantic, Apr 19 2012, 2:30 PM ET

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