Thursday, March 27th, 2014
One of the most profound quotes of the Twentieth Century comes from a true artist of the written word, Harlan Jay Ellison. If you need to read this quote a number of times before it seeps inside the jello of your inside skull, please re-read as required. We’ll wait for you on the other side.
No, mother fucker, you are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.Harlan Jay Ellison
That statement changes the Universe of Internet ideas into one where the garbled profanity of self-important opinion moves to one side of the room and the plain white milk jug of informed conversation moves to the other. It’s like a parting of the seas. The Internet of I believe and I think versus the Internet of I have read a book, looked at the statistics, studied, experienced an extended cranial jello cramp and made my informed consideration.
The only problem is that well over 90 per cent of the people from the I believe and I think conversation also think it’s enough to have read any unrelated book or comic to qualify their statements. No, mother fucker, you need to be able to articulate more than an emotive vague concept to keep my attention… you need to define, describe and deconstruct your argument with consideration. You need to mould that informed thought into an coherent conversation that makes sense to somebody other than a gorilla with a remote control glued to the palm his hand. You need, now wait for it… to think.
That is to say, when the Dunning Kruger Effect comes into play then I can no longer be bothered giving your words the light of day.
Of course, beyond social media, Harlan Ellison’s statement was about the real world. The world of human (rather than computer initiated) interactions. The analogue wanderings of human detritus that passes for literacy is no excuse to reduce complex issues down to anonymous hit and run jibes, either on a metro bus or on the Internet.
Ignorance is a form of self-indulgence that is like a child crying for attention in a crowded aisle at the supermarket. Ignorance is like taking a shit in your Speedo swimwear at the local pool and demanding an icy pole before you will leave the water. Ignorance is what I’m seeing when the politicians discuss science or the right for free speech in bigotry.
Or when someone expects me to explain the attributes of what is and isn’t a news story, in 140 character statements, based on my post graduate education in the field of journalism. Or business. Or my undergraduate degree in computing.
No, it’s not enough to have an opinion if you want to keep my attention. I require an informed opinion, mother fucker. An informed opinion.