Look around. Don’t see the sucker? I’ve got some bad news for you.

When I heard that the average American thinks he’s smarter than the average American it was one of those “Eh, so what?” moments. Mainly due to my disinclination to track the methodology of the thing. Online poll, you know. Skews youngish, and Geez, what youngun doesn’t, wholeheartedly, believe in his or her special-little-snowflakeness?

Now I discover that only 55% of the respondents considered themselves so special. Fifty-five percent? That’s all? That is fantastic news.

Now, I’m not going to mention the difference between median and average. That ship has sailed, and nobody wanted on board. If the proper word is actually median, then if only 55% of the people consider themselves above average, that’s not too bad. ‘Cause, yannow, fifty percent of our doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class. That’s terrifying, unless you think it through. Average intelligence would be a different matter…I guess you’d have to measure everyone’s IQ, total the amount, then divide by number of Americans. Sounds raaaaacist, to me. Math involved, and you know how that goes over.

No. I suspect this; the average American looks about himself (oh, alright, or herself) and sees so damned much touted as actual fact that he knows from personal experience to be a damnable lie, and he knows it to be a lie but one that is now unable to be mentioned in polite society. He looks at this and says, “There is either a fucking liar or a damned fool, and anyone but a dumbass knows it. Nobody else sees it, though. I must be smarter than the average bear.”

Once upon I time, I thought that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but facts belong to all. Now I understand that facts are not hard-and-fast, but shift like a river sand bar, moving this way and that, growing and shrinking, never the same from one day to the next.

I take comfort in that. Knowing that I am never wrong, but that the facts just haven’t caught up to my genius.

Only ten percent more than half think themselves above average? Color me shocked. I’d have guessed about 95%.


Look around. Don’t see the sucker? I’ve got some bad news for you. — 2 Comments

  1. I’m pretty sure I’m “above average.”

    Most of the people I talk to seem pretty stupid to me, because they disagree.

    Others make no sense at all; I can’t understand a word they say. If I don’t understand it, it must be bullshit.

    Still more don’t accept the idea that some things are “settled.” Why waste time arguing about what has already been decided?

    I don’t know why it’s so hard to know what to think. After all, we have really smart people telling us what that is.

    What’s so hard?

  2. Minor quibble: I don’t think the right word is “sucker”. Sucker implies voluntarily entering a game, like poker, with the expectation that the game is on the up and up and you don’t realize you are the “mark”.

    I fully realize I am the “mark” in the United Socialist States of America’s OPM game.

    I’m not sure how “smart” that makes me. I still haven’t figured a way out of this game.

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