The Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Week (31/3/12)

When I read around the internet or newspapers, I very often find myself thinking to myself “That is the stupidest thing I have ever read”.

I mean, we’ve all done that. We see some commenter, some news story, some statement, something really, really dumb to our eyes, and our brains make that connection, however brief, that there is nothing we have ever seen before that will match that for idiocy.

Then we might allow some rationality to take hold, and realise that such a feeling might be a slight exaggeration.

Still, I have an itch to indulge the impulse a little, so at the end of every week, for as long as I can maintain that impulse I’ll be giving my selection for “Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Week”. Two runners up, followed by the winner.

So without further ado, here are this week’s picks.

Third place goes to Kilgarven GAA, who have got into a dispute with the local church over a piece of land. The Church, for reasons that must go straight over the heads of the GAA club, want to sell to the highest bidder. It’s a very important piece of land, as the following would indicate:

“The club has been at loggerheads with the church over the sale which has been dubbed ‘The Field’ locally.”

To be clear, I have no issue with this story in terms of the general subject.  Land in relation to local community projects is important. It’s the following, what the GAA came up with this in a bid to turn things around:

“Mr Randles said the club had written to the Bishop of Kerry Bill Murphy, St Brendan’s Trust and parish priest Donal O’Neill appealing for a change of heart.

The letter asks them “not to let down the youth of the parish and the community”.

“It is not too late as the decision is yours. We trust in the man above that you will reconsider your present position,” the letter states.”

Sorry guys. God is God, but business is business.

Second prize goes to this article from Forbes, by self processed “Geek” Tara Tiger Brown. She argues against those who claim the title “Geek” without amassing enough “Geek” knowledge, claiming that they simply aren’t up to the high standards that the term demands and should, as the article insists “go away”.

I got into a long rambling discussion on this article on Facebook via Michael Duggan, the operator of this rather good movie/TV review blog, which I’m replicating here.

I would think that this growing divide between “real Geeks” and “fake Geeks”, if there really is one, is just standard cliquey behaviour, which you see across many different groupings. Not a great comparison, but I’m trying to watch more Irish League football recently, and I’ve been struck by how exclusive the long term fanbase is, and how hostile they are to those who try to break into that grouping without some kind of childhood pedigree.

Modern “Geeks” and “nerds”, the crowd in their 20/30s now, growing up with such labels being derogatory, pulled a Tyrion and tried using them as positives, which they’ve kind of become in the last decade. That went too far, and now they’re doing the same thing as those that insulted them before. Even in that article, the author comes up with a new words for “real” geeks, disparaging the rest.

The Venn diagram in that article is cool, but I think too many people trip over themselves when it comes to those terms. “Nerd” and “Geek” were insults when I was secondary school, in third-level and beyond they’re this strange sort of endearment term, all of which seem to just be different ways of saying “fan”.

Moreover, the author is, in an underhanded kind of way, discouraging people from following her specific interests because they dare to use the same word to describe themselves even if they’re fanaticism is not on a similar level. Why?

Because if they do then she won’t be in such a unique group anymore. That’s selfish, conceited, and, being an asshole.

It’s also damaging to whatever your interest happens to be. If I told the next person who mentions a casual interest in Firefly (a personal love) to me to f**k off and die because they don’t know Kaylee’s full name and still call themselves a “Browncoat”, I wouldn’t exactly be doing the franchise a big favour would I?

Another point I just realised: she’s asking “fake geeks”, nay, demanding, that they pass her test for being a “true geek” by way of “digging deep” into the roots of whatever the thing happens to be, i.e., learning everything there is about it (or gaining a similar level of knowledge as the author has). Before they do that, before they conform to her expectations, they don’t get to be part of her incorporeal grouping.

That’s just so…snide. And dismissive. And condescending. And wrong.

One more thing. From the article comments, from the author:

“…people should do what they love, not what they think other people love in order to get attention.”

She thinks that, if people don’t have the same level of interest and knowledge of a “geek” subject as she, or a “true geek” has, then they can’t possibly be really interested in the subject.

They can’t possibly have genuine, if slightly less fanatical, interest. No, they’re only pretending because they want to be in the same hip, awesome grouping as the author. They want attention. From her. That’s all.

This woman thinks she is the centre of the universe. And that is pretty stupid. But not, this week, stupid enough to gain the grand prize.

But first place must go to short lived Twitter user @Jliammoir, who popped up during the weekend for a day, rapidly gaining a large amount of sarcastic retweets due to his aggressive attitude towards all things political. Claiming to be a Fianna Fail member who was “no nonsense”, he got into a tiff with long time Tweeter  @like_the_roman. He deemed the insipid insults and the terrible grammar enough to label @Jliammoir “illiterate”.

So, in response, @Jliammoir came up with this gem, shortly before he apparently quit Twitter for good, the profile no longer existing. Presented without further comment (with avatar and real names removed):

Congratulations for @Jliammoir, the inaugural winner of “The Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Week”.

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