Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shut Your Mouth When You're Talking To Me

Let’s get a little sciencey. Well, psychology actually, but close enough. There is this thing called the Dunning-Kruger effect. You may not have heard of it, but I guarantee you will know someone who is a good example of it. Basically Dunning and Kruger did a study on ignorance and found that a lot of people suffer what's called “illusory superiority”. Basically, the ignorant will often mistakenly assess their abilities to be much higher than they are, so they think they are clever as and doing an amazing job when they are, in fact, dimmer than the inside of an asshole and often, failing quite miserably. In a nutshell, the stupid are too stupid to realised they’re stupid. My favourite part about this unfounded belief in their own intelligence is that it is paired with an arrogance, so the idiots of the world are very likely to broadcast their ignorance to us, the geniuses. On the flip side you have said geniuses (that’s you and I) who slightly underestimate their abilities and, unlike the group previously mentioned, assume everyone else is of a similar level of high intelligence. So basically any time you think you are right about something, you are either completely right or SO wrong and no one has the heart to tell you. Over the years I have heard some amazingly incorrect assertions from these fools in all areas of my life, from fast food restaurants to university, and have been collecting them like precious gemstones, pulling them out to look at them when I'm not feeling great about myself. 

The McDOH!nalds Moron: I worked at McDonalds when I was 15 and while I had very little knowledge of tax law (I failed to get a tax file number for a year and was subsequently taxed half my earnings until I did) I knew more than this Dunning-Kruger affected nong. Tax time rolled around and we were told our group certificates were pinned to the notice board and to collect them at our leisure. As I went to find my own, so I could claim back the literally 50% I had allowed myself to be taxed (I got $2000 back that year, which I wisely spent on one shouldered Suprè tops and Fast and the Furious movie marathons) the girl beside me exclaimed “A certificate!! Oh my gawwwd, I knew I'd been working hard, and I finally have a certificate to show for it. I can't wait to tell my mum!” What sort of certificate she thought maccas offered you annually for just doing your job (and quite poorly in her case) I will never know. But I like to warm the hands of my mind on the image of her tenderly hanging it on her family’s fridge.

The Beautiful and The Damned: I had a really awesome friend who I worked with a while back. He had the dreamiest green eyes and all the girls loved him. And never has the demeaningly said “you're lucky you're so pretty” rang more true. One day, after another friend had taken a pregnancy test he approached me looking super quizzical and asked “Mazzy, do pregnancy tests say who the father is?” I am chuckling so hard even writing this, I just need a moment to catch my breath. 

That's better, sorry about that. I can't help but imagine that in his mind pregnancy tests were like magic eight balls and after you took one a random man’s name bobbed into focus on the little screen. 

Did You Get High Before School?: I did history in high school and fell in love with ancient Egypt. So much so that I actually went to Egypt in my early 20s. Did you know that the Sphinx looks directly at a KFC? Amazing. Anyway, one day we were learning about how, upon entering the afterlife in Egyptian folklore, your heart was weighed against the feather of truth. If it weighed less than the feather you could pass into heaven but if your heart was heavier you were damned to spend eternity in hell. Upon learning this one girl in my class, very correctly commented “but in real life your heart would always weigh more than a feather.” Yes. Thank you for that insightful comment. But wait, does that mean that people in ancient Egypt didn’t have human bodies with crocodile heads? And what is this “metaphor” word I’m always hearing echoing around the halls? Could you clear that up for me too, oh wise one?

The UniBLERGHsity Student: Ok, I ran out of clever names for this one so it sort of sounds like something you’d read in a Mad Magazine parody of Revenge of the Nerds, but shut up. I did a subject at uni called “the history of genocide” because I was just into studying really upbeat stuff at uni. In our second lecture after we had combed through all the actions which constitute genocide; mass murder, sterilization, forced removal of children etc. a girl in the back of the lecture theatre put up her hand and told the lecturer “I think you'll find genocide isn't always a bad thing.”
Unfortunately, he stopped her before she could continue and consequently the rest of my life I will be burdened with the desire to know what justification she had for genocide. And I'll never know if she was incredibly racist or just extremely optimistic. 

I apologise if you are one of the people in these anecdotes, because I know I’m friends with some of you on facebook, but I’m hoping that you were distracted by something shiny at about the point where I used the word “science” in the opening paragraph. And full disclosure here, I know I’ve just been a massive bitch to these poor idiots, but I thought that someone lived in the pylons of the Harbour bridge until I was in my mid twenties, and until around the same time also believed that trees made wind. So at least I’m kind of a dumb bitch too.

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