A hundred years ago, I was a student at Arizona State University. Part of the Whatever-The-Fuck degree requirements I was trying to fulfill before changing my major again said that I needed a humanities credit. Good for them and their curriculum, you know? After sitting through a 25-minute meeting with my academic advisor, I was now in a public speaking course. I was freshly of legal gambling age and didn’t know a damn thing. What a dickhole I was.
The public speaking course was a basic one. Make four speeches over the semester, make sure they’re 5-7 minutes each, and make sure they’re well-informed and researched so you know what the hell you’re talking about. ASU is a public university, so naturally the public speaking course was loosey-goosey and you could choose any topic to speak about that you wanted to. Easy A.
Not Easy A, you dickhole.
9/11 happened just after my 20th birthday, and put me on a zealous path of uninformed Christianity-based Neo-conservatism that only someone like Dick Cheney or J.D. Hayworth could appreciate. Ann Coulter’s hot Skeletor panties and all that. Talk Radio was all of my radio presets at the time. All of this led to me making my first speech in the public speaking course on Post-9/11 National Defense and Foreign Policy. Christ, I didn’t know anything. What a dickhole I was.
It didn’t go well, and I had Powerpoint slides to back me up.
In my rambling, unfocused 39-slide digital presentation of xenophobic and jingoistic ‘Merican-appreciating meme-based (yes, there were memes in 2002) clipartted massive shitstorm of insanity, I managed to offend every one of the 22 students in that class, along with one poor instructor that was making $11/hour while working on her Master of Arts in Teaching degree. It was hellfire and brimstone, America the powerful and Islamophobia in the worst way. Memorable wouldn’t begin to describe it, and hopefully that’s because everyone wiped it from their memories with grain alcohol or illicit narcotics shortly thereafter. The only saving grace was that we were all at a public university, and those things are readily available. My uninformed nonsense speech served as the single most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done, and that counts almost getting married in Las Vegas.
Knowledge can only be gained after careful application of learning and research, and the necessary experiences that those entail, of that which there are many. Going off of one’s own perspective is usually a bad idea. Especially when that perspective is only 21 years old and is a mouthbreathing idiot, complete with dumb guts and a stupid disposition of moronic rage. Jessica Williams of The Daily Show was recently accosted via this article by Ester Bloom. Showing wisdom and grace, Williams blasted back in Bloom’s direction, and rightfully so. Bloom was imposing and condescending, to which she got her just desserts. You look around at people and their complicated relationships in the world and you can find examples like this that just jolt out at your senses and demand attention.
While good intentions can be the motivation behind sheer idiocy, it’s also with uninformed lunacy that can make someone or some group pretend to know what they’re talking about, only to prove that once their flapping gums have done their work, it is revealed that they don’t know a thing. We’re all more enlightened each time that we learn something new, be it valuable or just enraging. The very source that you get to consider can make the original communicator someone you appreciate and will go back to, or a dickhole that you put on the short list to kick off campus forever.