People are stupid. If I have a catchphrase, that might be it. I love listening to people whose opinions I trust, and I also enjoy hearing their thoughts that I’d like to share with others. Unfortunately, you have to dig through a lot of bullshit to get to a few grains of sensibility, and along the way, I’ve figured out that there are certain people you should just never take seriously.
1. People On The Internet
I feel like this should be a “no shit” sort of point to make, but it’s astounding how many people still buy into anything they read online. I’ll see articles getting traction that people will share on Facebook along with some pithy comment attached to it on whatever subject it happens to be about and I roll my eyes so hard they get stuck in the back of my head. The ludicrous things that I see linked on social media are usually some form of a summary of a summary of the thesis of a study with extremely narrow parameters or dubious methodology, and the final form of it is normal people with no grasp of the concept making broad, sweeping generalizations about a topic that they didn’t even know existed five minutes ago. For such a massive place, the Internet sure is great at being an echo chamber for any opinion you happen to already have preconceived before booting up your computer. Any time you read anything, no matter how smart it sounds, just remember that every author is only as authoritative as he or she presents him- or herself. You don’t know how smart, well-researched, or invested the writer really is. In all likelihood, he or she is writing for clicks, because clicks equal money. That’s fine for jokesters like me, because I’m not asserting myself as a fount of wisdom on important topics. For ideological hucksters, though, that’s a problem.
2. Political Pundits
Speaking of ideological hucksters, let’s extrapolate that to political personalities. Whether it’s TV opinion mouthpieces, shrill bloggers, or politicians themselves, everyone has an opinion–it’s always fucking stupid, and it’s almost never their actual, privately held opinion. Take Ann Coulter for example. Liberals and moderate Republicans alike vehemently hate her, which is a relatively normal reaction, given that she’s basically the human equivalent of a megaphone attached to the head of a rabid raccoon. People call her an idiot, though, which is extremely misguided. Ann Coulter is not dumb. In fact, she’s smarter than most people I’ve ever met. She realized that there is significantly more money in being a one-note song turned up full blast, targeted toward ignorant people who want their stupid fucking theories about how the world works regurgitated to them in a slightly more coherent way than there is in having a genuine, nuanced discussion about social and policy issues. For fuck’s sake, she wrote a whole piece about how soccer as a sport is a metaphor for how liberals are destroying America. If that’s not a blatantly pandering fuckhole of nothingness, I don’t know what is. Hell, she could actually be the single best satirist of our time and we just don’t realize it. And if you think I’m some bleeding heart liberal bashing on conservatives, you’re wrong. There are Ann Coulters everywhere. Piers Morgan is the British Ann Coulter. Al Sharpton is the black Ann Coulter. Rush Limbaugh is the old, drug addict Ann Coulter. Alex Jones is the crazypants Ann Coulter. Skip Bayless is the sports Ann Coulter. My idiot uncle, Ronny, is the family Ann Coulter.
Bottom line? Don’t listen to Ann Coulter, no matter who she happens to be.
3. Anyone Talking About Exercise Or Nutrition Who’s Not Licensed To Do So
I’m not sure when we decided that people who happen to look like they’re in shape somehow got degrees in anatomy in between deadlift sets. Or that people currently on a diet are now certified nutritionists. Or people who subscribe to a rigid “health lifestyle” know any more about what they’re eating than your average guy named Kevin sitting in an Arby’s drive-thru listening to Three Doors Down’s greatest hits. Just because you’re working on yourself doesn’t mean you know anything. The astounding amount of “broscience” and “metabolic facts” I see on a daily basis would be hilarious if there weren’t so many people taking them seriously. Unless you’ve been certified to help people work out, you’re probably not in a position of exercise authority. Even low-level trainers will feed you bullshit. Very few vegans actually know anything remotely factual about how the human body works, but don’t worry–they’ll tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong. For as astoundingly complex as the body is, keeping it healthy is relatively simple. We know what stuff is healthy and what isn’t, we just choose to find loopholes to eat what we want. Eat clean, eat less, exercise more, and don’t lift anything you don’t know how to lift. That’s it. I’m an out of shape asshole, and even I know that.
For a culture that enjoys “South Park” and its dedication to taking the wind out of the sails of the celebrity bandwagon boat (which is probably a weird looking vessel) we sure do listen to celebrities a lot still. Sure, I bet most of you are with me when I say Jenny McCarthy is the dumb blonde antithesis of Jonas Salk, and that she should have her speaking privileges revoked until further notice. Saying that former Playboy models shouldn’t be driving the conversation of clinical health for an entire nation is not a hard sell for intelligent people, but it’s decidedly less convenient when it’s someone charismatic and relatively well-intentioned. I have my own problems with overvaluing the opinions of people whose work I like. Just remember, people who are smart, talk well, and have a spotlight are still dumbasses about a lot of things.
5. Your Friends
I love my friends. I take their advice very seriously. I can use plenty of advice, too, because I’m a fucking idiot a lot of the time. But let’s step back from that. They’re friends with me, which means they’re friends with an idiot. What kind of reasonable person with wisdom is friends with idiots? The only people who are friends with idiots are other idiots, which means that maybe I shouldn’t place everything that they advise me of on a pedestal. The same goes for you. I’m willing to bet that you’re a dummy. That’s not an insult, that’s just statistics. You also didn’t exactly travel far and wide to assemble the greatest group of advisers and friends mathematically possible either, did you? No, you started hanging out with people who lived in your general vicinity and you kept hanging out with them, because you happened to have the same level of respect for fart jokes. Your friends may know you a lot better than anyone else in the world, but that doesn’t mean they know the world better than anyone else. Now that’s deep.
I mean, it’s really not, but you get the idea.