Tuesday, May 10, 2022

It Isn't Always Wrong to State the Obvious

I think I will shock no one when I say that, judged as a scene of discourse most of the Internet is a sewer. If you ever suspected that the overwhelming majority of the people in the world are extremely stupid, ignorant, backward, hate-filled, a little wandering on the Web is likely to quickly confirm you in that belief.

Recently I found myself once again looking up a particular notion to see what people said about it--and after happening upon a rather useful explication of it in a Reddit thread found that the response it drew was solely the uncreative, trite, yet hurtful snarling that the person who put up the remark was (in somewhat more words) "Captain Obvious."

As is the case with so much such behavior that snarling said more about the speaker than it did the person they addressed--not least their inability to pass up opportunity to abuse a complete stranger, and the feeble nature of the intelligence that thinks itself witty when it repeats commonplaces and derives self-satisfaction therefrom.

This is not to deny that there is a superabundance of banality in the world, and there is nothing to be said for adding to the stock. Yet stating the obvious is not always that. What we all supposedly think we know is not always true, and even what seems commonplace can be worth airing, making explicit, discussing, debating, reconsidering--indeed, making many of us truly consider it for the first time. It actually seems to me that this happens too little--and those who get us to do it often render a service too little appreciated, least of all by idiots who think themselves geniuses as they inflict clichès like "Captain Obvious" on the reading public.


Hai Di Nguyen said...

I know what you mean.
One of my pet hates is the word "mansplaining". I understand the origin, and perhaps generally speaking, men are more likely to explain something condescendingly to a woman despite knowing little about the subject, but the word is now mostly used as a stick to beat men with, when they disagree with a woman. And it's very annoying.
I'm female, and I just choose never to use it.

Nader said...

Hi again! (Sorry about the delay in replying. As the posting schedule may have hinted, I haven't been able to look at the blog these past few days.) I certainly agree with you about the term-it's a way of delegitimizing what another person is saying so that one can dismiss it rather than have to address it, a Get-Out-of-Thinking-or-Explaining-Free card.

Unfortunately I think we're seeing more brandishing of such cards these days, not less.

By the way, I've been enjoying your thoughts on the War and Peace reread.

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