I really hate treating people like they’re stupid. The problem is that seems to be what they want. I prefer to treat people like they are intelligent, but when I do, they complain that I’m talking down to them. Smarter people will complain that I’m talking over their heads. I must admit that this is probably the biggest force that keeps me going back to science fiction conventions, where people just take it as an excuse to unleash their entire vocabulary. Of course, while some of us can’t get away with that even at cons, the fact of the matter is that you start to get comfortable with the idea by Sunday, and then you have to go home. Now, at this point, I have to warn you that this is not one of my typical blogs about conventions so much as a rant about stupidity. You might say that this is a free range rant.
Your typical essay consists of an opening paragraph, a series of supporting paragraphs, each paragraph supporting an individual point, and a closing paragraph for the conclusion. It’s basically, “Tell me what you’re going to tell me, tell me, and then tell me what you told me.” In writing, you’re supposed to repeat things that are important three times in different forms. The problem I have with this is after about a paragraph, I feel that I’m beating a subject to death and treating my readers like their stupid, and I hate doing that. As a result, my blogs will typically cover all of the various aspects of a particular subject one point at a time. When somebody posts a blog that’s similar, I will find that they have written on just one point that I have addressed, but they’ve done it for three or four pages. I’ve even seen entire books that could be summarized in a sentence. Whenever I read something like that, I feel like the writer has gone out of their way to waste my time. If they also did not write well, and I feel like it was a tragic waste of the life of a tree, I want to hunt them down and beat them with the book until they repent.
I remember back during my twenties, on occasion I would get really annoyed and tired of dealing with stupid people and would talk down to people. They would eat it up. I would talk down to people in the most demeaning way that I could imagine, treating them as if they were four-year-olds, and they would eat it up. They would literally thank me for treating them like an equal while I was talking to them as if I were talking to me at the age of four, only patronizing. I felt really bad about it at the time, but I also saw that if I could do that all the time people would like it better, and like me better. I just couldn’t bring myself to be that insulting.
Eventually, I took speech class and learned that you were supposed to keep it straightforward and simple; the burden of being understood was on the speaker, and no, everybody in the world does not know as much as I do and no, not everybody in the world is as smart as I am.
Fortunately, after years of menial jobs and accumulating brain damage from such things as being hit by a drunk driver, being exposed to neurotoxins, and being bitten by a black widow, I’m just not all that sharp anymore. I find as long as I do not obfuscate my speech with pedantic obscurities, that the only real problem I have is with my brusque speaking style that arises from a desire for efficiency. Of course, my mother was very blunt, and I did not learn to be subtle as a child. When I am subtle, I find that people just don’t get what I’m saying, and my ex-wife made me feel like it just wasn’t worth the effort to find that middle ground or, honestly, give a shit.
If there’s more than one side to an argument, I do generally try to present both sides, if there are actually two sides. Most arguments in our culture come from the fact that people haven’t thoroughly analyzed things and have been offered two incorrect options which they believe demonstrate every possibility. There are a lot of things out there that are being touted as if they were truth that look more like the rantings of an ignorant, uneducated, mentally deficient spider monkey with brain lesions, and I just don’t feel like I have to give that crap equal time. By the way, I feel that I am being kind about some of the things people believe.
So, in short, I choose to think that you’re intelligent, and that I’m intelligent, because it makes me feel better about the world. As long as you allow me to, I will continue to treat you as if you are intelligent. The other option is to think of myself as stupid and the rest of the world as a dung-heap, and I really don’t see any value to that. I know that there is a really good chance that if you are someone who reads my blog that you have felt this way yourself at some point.
So I apologize for the fact that this particular post is somewhat off topic, and is really more of a rant than anything else. A year and a half ago, I worked myself to the point of physical collapse and passed behind the wheel while drinking an energy drink. About a month ago, the same thing happened metaphorically speaking with regards to my writing. About a week ago, my Tibetan doctor told me to get less stress. Therefore, blowing off some steam really is a health necessity at this point. Of course, it does not particularly help that most of my friends that are on my Facebook page, when I get together with them and we’re talking, are not aware that this blog, which I post every week on my wall, even exists. I only have 17 followers so far, and I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of you. Please remember, if there is a subject that you would like me to discuss, I would like you to feel free to let me know, and I do intend to go back to the Con Goers Survival Guide. That will probably be next week, unless I get another guest post.
Good night, and good luck.
Copyright © 2013 Julian Thomas Reid III