You should never speak publicly on matters in which you are uninformed.
Before I start this, I think it is important that I clarify what I mean when I say, “We’re all dumb.” By no means I am saying that we’re all morons or anything like that. I think what I’m really trying to say can be best summed up by the Mark Twain quote in which he says, “We are all stupid, just on different subjects,” and there is perhaps no better time to remind ourselves of that fact, than during a global pandemic.
I’m sure there are some people reading this right now thinking, “Hey, you can’t call me dumb, I’m smart. I graduated college, I have a job, I can iron my button-up shirts, and I know how to do that thing at movie theaters where you put the butter in your popcorn through a straw so it evenly distributes the butter throughout the entire bag.” Well first of all, congratulations on all your accomplishments. Second of all, me calling all of us dumb should not be taken as an insult or an attack against any one person in particular. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being dumb on occasion, and to prove it, I’m going to mention just some of the ways in which I am dumb, before continuing with this blog. I know nothing about cars except how to accelerate, brake, and put gas into them. My geographical knowledge is shockingly below-average, if you were to give me a blank map of the United States and ask me to fill in the names of each state, I would be surprised if I ended with more than 40% correct. And, if it were countries rather than states then forget about it, it would be even more depressing. I don’t know how airplanes fly or boats float. I couldn’t tell you one single thing about how the stock market works. To be honest, I don’t really understand how money works in general. I struggle with even the simplest of math calculations when I am deprived of a calculator. I could keep going but I think you get the point. I’m dumb, very very dumb. But, just like Twain’s quote, I am aware that the things I mentioned are specific subjects that I may just be less educated on than others. Now, you may be asking yourself, if I struggle with those subjects, what are some subjects that I am knowledgable on? What insightful crystals of knowledge are being held in that brain of mine? Well, to be honest, it’s mostly full of movie quotes, useless sports trivia, and an extensive knowledge of the menus at various fast food establishments. I’m sure most other people have some more important shit going on up there but that’s pretty much it for me. So, what has being a dumb person taught me? It has taught me not to publicly speak on things that I don’t know about. Take this blog for example, there is a reason why I write about Sofia Coppola movies and not the geopolitical issues that exist within the Middle East. Stick to what you know, which is why I try to keep my mouth shut, at least publicly, when it comes to things I am not knowledgeable or informed on. And, during this tumultuous time we are currently living through—which includes an infectious disease outbreak and the crash of our economy—I think more people could learn that lesson.
People freely sharing their uninformed opinions as if they are important or valuable is not a new phenomenon by any means. In today’s world, because of social media, it is easier than ever to let the world know what you’re thinking or how you feel about a specific current event. This can always be frustrating to see, but truth be told, it is usually harmless. Most of the uninformed takes I see on my various timelines have to do with things that are ultimately not that important like film, television, sports, and comedy. Sure, depending on who you follow you’ll see your fair share of political takes, opinions, and arguments, which I think we can all agree are just so much fun. I can’t think of a better place to have proper political discourse than Twitter dot com. Those 240 character tweets are a greater source of knowledge than any known political document. The great minds throughout history with names like Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Lock, Nietzsche, and Kant are nothing compared to our great modern day philosophers such as @LookAtMeI’mAngryOnline14 and @MyAvatarIsAPictureOfTheAmericanFlagAndIHaveALotOfOpinions33.
I get it though, we all want to have our opinions heard. If there are four things that the young people of today share they are a love for Billie Eilish, a misunderstanding of the original definition of the term “Stan,” student loans, and an absolute need for our opinions to be broadcasted in some way. I say this with no judgment either, because guess what? I’m the same way. I started a blog where I do nothing but share my opinions, for fuck’s sakes. I mean, I’m currently writing this blog right now, in which I’m telling people what they should and shouldn’t do. I am nothing if not a hypocrite. But, the reason I felt like writing this blog now is because of the large amount of people sharing their invalid or uninformed opinions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, and the ways in which we are attempting to deal with that outbreak.
I think for the most part people have started to take the Coronavirus seriously. I’m not writing this blog to try to sound like one of those people who acts like a hero because they got on Twitter and yelled at the people who are still going out. People shouldn’t be going out, we all know this, the ones who are acting like everything’s fine are assholes, but your tweet isn’t going to change anything, Jenny. What I really want to focus on, is the people who have little to no idea what they are talking about but like to pretend they do, and present their uninformed opinions as fact. I think one of the biggest reasons why it took a little while for people in the United States to take COVID-19 seriously is because too many of us, who are not scientists or doctors, looked at the available data regarding the disease and were like, “fuck it, I understand this shit, it’s all gonna be fine, trust me,” instead of listening to said scientists and doctors who were warning us to take this serious. On some level I get it, in the early stages of this, it was impossible to fathom what some of these doctors were predicting. If you were to tell me last year that a disease outbreak would cause entire states to be shut down and quarantined, all sports leagues to be suspended, and groups of larger than 10 to be disallowed, I would have called you insane. The other reason why I understand people not listening to experts is because, at the very beginning, I was one of those people. I certainly was like “this isn’t that big of a deal, I know how to break down this information, nobody should be worried.” And to my former self I say, “Shut up Shane, you fucking idiot. Go take your political science degree from a liberal arts college, sit in the corner, and think about what you’ve done.” I think a lot of us can agree that we wish we had listened to the experts from the beginning. My only wish now is for people to start becoming aware that there is a reason people are considered experts on a certain subject, while you are not. I started this blog off with that Mark Twain quote for a purpose. It was to highlight the fact that yes, maybe you know more than Dr. Anthony Fauci when it comes to naming the last 15 quarterbacks for the Chicago Bears. But, in regards to this disease, and the proper steps necessary to deal with it, listen to the fucking experts.
Yes, freedom of speech is awesome, and if you want to share an opinion, then you should go for it but please present it as an opinion. When it comes to facts, the only people I really want to hear from right now, truthfully, are informed people such as doctors, scientists, and economists. That does not include politicians, and it certainly doesn’t include your cousin Douglas on Twitter who thinks this whole thing was started in a lab by Netflix to increase their streaming numbers. Fuck you Douglas. He’s dumb, just like we all are, so maybe if we just quieted down for a while, we could hear the people who actually know what they’re talking about.