The Provocatively Obtuse

They have always been among us – the provocatively obtuse.

I remember in high school, in every class, there were always one or two kids who would answer “five!” (I believe the exclamation point is important here) to the question “What is two plus two”. Everyone in the class (sans the teacher) would be amused, the provocateur would bask in his/her 14.5 seconds of attention and then the class would move on to the real work at hand. As a group, even then, we instinctively understood we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be long distracted from proven and useful truths. There’s real adult work to be done, real progress to be made. The provocatively obtuse are fun, but not to be taken seriously and not to be called upon too often for serious answers.

Until now.

Cable TV and the internet and this election cycle have congealed into a “perfect storm” for the provocatively obtuse. When polled on candidates and issues, they yell “five!” and their answer is duly recorded, tabulated, and reported as if it were something more than an attempt to amuse and attract attention. AND with a voracious 24/7 news cycle, un-fact-checked viral memes, and candidates more than willing to repeat gruesome legends on national TV, the provocatively obtuse are being called upon more and more often for their nonsensical answers. All in the name of being “fair and balanced”.

This can’t be a good business plan.

I would suggest not calling on those children anymore. Thus, the rest of the class could move on.

If you find yourself near someone who avers; “I’m not a scientist”, accept their word for it and don’t look to them for a scientific opinion. Go find a scientist. Listen to them about scientific things. Hey! That’s how we got to the moon!

If you find yourself near someone who says; “Facts lie”, …………just flee.

The provocatively obtuse; whether they’re in your high school geometry class or running for elective office are hungry for attention. Starve them. You have better and more important things to do.

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