Spellcheck Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Opinion, True Stories

I remember one particular club night at college. I was there in support of our philosophy club at the beginning of the semester, encouraging people to join the club while answering their questions. But because it is philosophy club, I spent more time yelling at people, getting them to approach our table than they spent ignoring us.

I know. It’s a philosophy club at a small private college. The line to join is roughly the same length as the line for Sarah Palin’s new movie, but with very different intelligence levels (usually). I wasn’t expecting anyone to rush to the table, sign their name, then show up early to the next meeting.

I approached all kinds of people, asking them all kinds of questions, trying to find a way to get them interested while being fun as well. I asked people if they liked music, movies, dancing, porn, various colors, asking questions, hating people, getting free money, it didn’t matter. I could trace it back to philosophy. That’s one of the good things about philosophy, it encompasses everything and I’ll find a way to make that happen.

One of the questions I asked was, “Do you like reading?” One of the responses I received was, “Hell no, I don’t like reading,” and that response included enough sass to fill an entire high school with 15 year old girls with their parent’s credit cards. That sass included enough head and eye rolls to film five Exorcism sequels. The response in my head included enough violence to film five more Exorcism sequels, as long as those sequels could include me bashing someone’s face open with a brick.

My actual response was a straight-faced, “Great,” and then I turned around and walked away, still making more Exorcism sequels in my head.

It’s not that he wasn’t interested in reading. I’m not interested in field hockey, and if someone told me they wanted to break my face open with a brick because I wasn’t interested in field hockey, I’d have them arrested (or break their face open with a brick first, depending on the circumstances).

To be short, I was mad because this guy was not only proud to be stupid, he was angry at me for suggesting he might be interested in fecundating activities.

Reading and learning are exciting. Learning new words, ideas, concepts and grammar rules make my heart race. I’m not trying to sound nerdy, which is now what people say when they want to sound cool (i.e. I know I’m going to sound nerdy, but I really like anime! – big deal, lots of people do. If you were that ashamed, you wouldn’t have mentioned it), but I do.

Poor grammar and just generally being dumb is a turnoff*. Judge me for it, but it is, and I’m not going to be ashamed of it. Why? Because I don’t want to date someone who confuses or has no interest in communicating so I can understand her.

I’ve written this about twenty times, but everyone says there are a lot of stupid people in the world, but no one ever admits to being in the stupid group. We all give ourselves credit for our intelligence and our ability to continue eating, breathing and shitting, going to sleep and repeating it the next day, but no one says, “Wow. I have horrible critical thinking skills and I make fucking up look so easy!”

How do I know this? Easy. I watch YouTube videos. The comment section for YouTube videos is a breeding ground for just really awful, stupid shit. I could have used a stronger noun there like comments or communication, but honestly, it’s just shit.

How does the Internet have enough storage space for all the dumb shit we have to say, tweet, post and talk about? Imagine how much server space YouTube could open up if they deleted all comments from all ICP and Nickleback videos? Another benefit would be that anyone like me wouldn’t burst a blood vessel struggling to read through the complete idiocy that people wrote. A recent study shows that reading YouTube comments increases your chances for a heart attack by 47%**.

Maybe that’s what killed Derrida. A brief attempt at deconstructing YouTube video comments was enough to push him over the edge. The comments are filled with enough Freudian typos to resurrect the man from the dead.

Meeting someone, albeit how briefly, who not only refuses to stand on the intellectual stage, but is proud not to, should infuse rage in anyone. Not the type of rage that is dealt with by making someone’s face obsolete with a brick, but the type of rage that required them to, well, I still haven’t figured that out yet. Maybe just write about it.

More important than anything, please understand why it affects me. I don’t care if you’re not interested in philosophy. It’s not a subject for most people and that’s fine. Not every conversation has to be serious, deep and intellectual. I’m fine with sitting around talking about the weather and making fart jokes, but promise me you’re not proud to be stupid. And promise me you won’t get offended if I presume you’re interested in fecundating activities.

Is that so much to ask? I need it so bad (that’s what she said).

*Please don’t hesitate to point out the grammatical mistakes in this post.
**Please don’t believe that fake statistic.

8 thoughts on “Spellcheck Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

  1. You know, that thought about how “no one’s stupid” runs through my head all the time. Even if someone does go above and beyond the call of duty in proclaiming that they’re not the sharpest tool in the shed, they’ll still soften the blow to their self-esteem by talking about how they’re “street smart” or have lots of “common sense,” which is something that, of course, so many people in this world are missing.

    I don’t think we can expect people to just own up and say, “hey, I’m a really dumb piece of shit!,” but I do wish they would. It’s infuriating to talk to some toothless goof or some jackoff barely getting the cash register at a gas station right, and having to put up with them thinking they’re bright. So they can be wrong about a dozen political things, use words they made up that sound like three different words they’d like to use but can’t, and pressure people into agreeing with their slack-jawed points of view by fixing a psychotic, unblinking stare onto people. That’s not smart; that’s rape.

  2. What’s most frustrating, is that in order to get someone to admit they are unintelligent, they’d have to be intelligent in order to do so. In which case, it often seems that the intelligent “admit” to be unintelligent in, perhaps, their weakest moments.

  3. I say stupid shit all the time – mostly when I’m drunk.

    It’s not that I’ve suddenly become a troglodyte when inebriated, but I feel there’s a filter removed which normally keeps “in-progress” thoughts to myself, but sadly it completely breaks down during a party. That’s when I admit I’m a fucking idiot.

  4. I can presume that you will never teach high school, community college, or core classes at any learning institution. I was an academic advisor at a private school for student athletes…and I often showed sophmores and juniors the layout of the library on a pretty regular basis. Me: “All of these rows provide resources for literary analysis, see, there’s an entire set of criticisms on Shakespeare”. Response: “Wow, I had no idea this was even here”. Me: “You mean the Shakespeare criticism or the reference section?”. Response: “I’ve never been here, like-this whole library thing-there’s so many parts”. True story, and he had a full ride to a quaint private school. :).

  5. I must be really stoopid. I had to look up the word fecund.

    Seriously. Many people change over time. Perhaps the person that claims to hate reading is just filled with that ridiculous angst that melts away through experience and growth. Of course stupidity has always existed, we just have better ways of keeping records now. Visit the people that post things of no real cerebral value on youtube ten years from now and see if they still agree with or are proud of their posts. The optimist inside me thinks that most of them wouldn’t. Perhaps I am confusing fecundity with wisdom. Either way it’s a good post. It got me thinking. 🙂

    1. I agree to an extent. Many people develop and intellectually and emotionally evolve over time, but many don’t. I’ve met 18 year olds who were smarter and more emotionally developed than some 40, 50 or 60-somethings who I’ve met. I think if you’ve made it to your early or mid-twenties and you’re still screwing up as much as you did when you were 16, you’re got to stop and reanalyze what you’re doing in life.

  6. I was greatful for the chance to look up a new word (fecundating). I’ll join in the activities. May I supply my own bricks?

  7. I will never admit to being in any stupid group. I loved that part. Maybe you should change philosophy club to the cheese of the month club. You could get more people in there if you even offer samples.
    Great writing, Phil.

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