April 16, 2007
Maybe it's the Imus in me (that title indeed sounds like something that would have come from him) but it's 3:30 A.M., I'm starting a diet this morning and my stomach is telling me to hold off another day and go raid the refrigerator right now, and I had a revelatory insight over the weekend. It was just this: Everybody thinks that he or she is smarter than everybody else.
I'm not just referring to people who appear on Sunday morning talking-head tv shows, or to people who write comments on this blog. I said "everybody," and I mean everybody. The guy who takes your money at Wal-Mart, your waitress at Starbuck's, your hairdresser, your yard man, everybody in the world. Not that they will necessarily challenge you, or engage you in a discussion, but if you look you can see it in their eyes. They think they know more than you think they do. And if you give them a chance, they will hold forth on any topic you throw out. They're looking for that chance. You're hoping to avoid it.
You want to avoid the discussion because, guess what, you too think you are smarter than they are and you'd feel better not finding out otherwise. Or maybe you think it polite not to show them up. Or maybe you just don't want to hear about it.
I have a friend who hates bigots but wants to start a blog where bigots of every stripe will have a say. He thinks this exposure will show them for what they are: ignorant, mean-spirited, and sometimes ridiculous. He thinks they need a place to ventilate. I wonder that he has not browsed the Internet enough to see that it abounds with such blogs -- some even call themselves "bigot blogs" -- representing outrageous viewpoints on every conceivable subject. I have read a few such rants myself. You might say, in my own modest and subtly brilliant way, I have written more than one.
Here is the difference. I am pretty damn smart too, but I am right, at least some of the time. Come to think of it, so is the guy taking my money at Wal-Mart. And he's smart enough to keep quiet and not post on a blog.