The raging, ongoing debate over global warming is what prompted the following… and the amazing, stupidity and incredible smallness of someone named Dox.
When I started participating in EZboard forums the place was literally crawling with conservatives who seemed, at first glance, to be almost as rational as I wished people could be. In other words, I thought I'd found a group of people just like me. If that sounds like I'm full of myself, let me provide some background.
In Catholic grade school, we were all in one class, and I didn't feel as if I was smarter or more aware than anyone – except for John.
My eighth grade nun made it abundantly clear that she regarded John as the smartest one in the class… and so did everyone else – even me – until the first test. John did great on that test, but when the grades came back, one person knew that John was not as smart as he appeared – Guess who?!?
How did I know that when the nun and the rest of the class continued to think John was the next Einstein? Well, I sat in the first seat in the first row near the door – and John sat behind me. And all through the test, John kept prodding me for answers… which I grudgingly gave him.
In retrospect, I chalk it up to the fact that John was also very popular, whereas I was shy and unsure of myself. This was a chance to be one of the in-crowd. But I didn't get any answers from John in return. It's not that I wouldn't have accepted them. I was just much more vulnerable to being caught, so I didn't try. And a strange thing happened.
No, I didn't get better grades than John… but I got ones that were nearly as good, and then midway through the school year, the roof fell in – on John. That's when we had to take a test, a mini version of the SAT, that was used by area Catholic High schools to determine eligibility and placement.
I was both shocked and yet not a bit surprised when we were all discussing out scores and John did better than the others… and I did much better than John. This came just on the heals of the best athlete in the school having asked my mother why I had such an inferiority complex – because he felt I was very good.
WOW, Tony thought – I – was good? You know what? I instantly was… in my mind, and then I rose from obscurity to where I started getting the recognition Tony felt I deserved.
So we all went off to high school and it was very interesting. See, back when, there was no doubt about who was smarter than whom – the high school told you by the learning level to which you were assigned.
John ended up in the big middle. I don't remember what label the school gave that level, I only remember what they called the level I landed in – the honors class. there were less than 50 of us in a class of 450.
For better or worse, my friendship, association, or what-have-you with John quickly faded though we still got together regularly for pickup basketball games. Interestingly, I found it's a myth that the dumber guys are better at sports. In my all-boys Catholic high school, the smart guys were, on average, much better athletes too, and lest you think I went to an obscure nothing of a school, we were a powerhouse in the great State of Ohio.
But being in the honors class carried some heavy responsibilities, and the one that was to affect me the most – all my life – was…
You didn't get into an argument with people if you couldn't support your position. You just didn't open your mouth. Because if you inflicted your "opinion" on others, and you couldn't make your case logically and factually… you got shredded.
And if that happened, it would be a very long time before anyone, including YOURSELF could take you seriously again. And yes, that happened to me. I said something in an unguarded moment without having thoroughly thought it through, and believe me, once you experience the aftermath of such a slip-up, you never want to repeat it.
By the way, those not in the honors class never engaged in debate with honors students. I never saw it once. It wasn't that we were snobs, it was like they knew implicitly that they were ill-equipped. Quite a contrast with today where everyone thinks he has a valid opinion, even though, if anything, the "average guys" are a lot dumber now than thirty-odd years ago.
And unfortunately, it's intelligent people who have to cope with the awful consequences. Idiots have been liberated!
Forums are populated mostly by those regular guys who now can voice their opinions without fear or repercussions. That's why, after a short time, I realized that conservatives were no smarter than liberals and that the same 90-10 ratio applied as it did in high school. Better make that 99-1, since now I had to deal with public school grads as well.
That's why I couldn't take anymore after a few years and turned to blogging. This experience, generally speaking, has been a lot better than forums, but it has big ups and downs – as when idiots don't know or care with whom they are dealing and feel compelled to demonstrate to me just how moronic they can be.
Just today, a friend said he was glad to see I was still writing. I told him that wasn't the hard part. That the hard part is coming to my own blog and dreading the abject stupidity I might have to encounter. I told him that I'd considered approving submissions before I allowed them to be posted, but the trouble with that is – I'd still have to read them.
There simply are no safeguards short of not allowing comments at all. Since there are no 'levels" today and probably not even any reliable grades given in school, a whole lot of people don't even know how stunningly stupid they are. And seeing someone who thinks more logically and writes far better than they do doesn't give them a clue either. In fact, what happens is, they think you're the dumb one because they can't understand what you're saying. A study even proves that.
So all that leaves are insults which, thankfully, I'm quite good at, but here's the long and short of it – Don Imus used to say, "Don't call here. I don't care what you think. I talk and YOU listen. That's the way it works"
And that's how I'd prefer it. I like hearing people say that they read what I write. I enjoy far less often those who feel compelled to comment on the subject matter. So do us both a favor, huh, think long and hard before you post here. I advise that you carefully organize your thoughts, write them out, rewrite them as needed, check for grammar and spelling, then consider the whole thing again, and once you think you have it just right, delete it and move on to something else.
We;ll both probably be glad you did – and we won't even know it!