I’ve been avoiding this topic for almost a year now, without really knowing why. Maybe it’s because I feel sorry for these people, or maybe it’s because it used to be my job and I feel responsible somehow. It could even be because it’s too cheap of a laugh; the kind you get when you share stories at a party or on twitter. (Which I have, on several occasions) Still, I’ve had some time to think about it, so I’ll try to mold this into something a bit deeper than just laughing at stupid people and their ridiculous understanding of the world.
For all intents and purposes, this is not just a rant regarding stupid people; this is a note of worry and of concern.
I used to work at a university college, where I spent most of my time at the student service desk. (I guess you could call it an information desk, but that’s only a small part of the job). This particular institution housed health and social education, meaning it lectured the physical and occupational therapists, social workers, child service workers and nurses of tomorrow. As some of you no doubt have experienced, an information desk attract a whole slew of stupid questions, with the added bonus of some very confused people. I realize that this is somewhat the point of an information desk, and while I am quite familiar with the phrase there’s no such thing as a stupid question, I find it to be extremely untrue. Let’s look at a few of them, and then you’ll see what I mean.
Okay, so here’s a thing that’s been bugging me lately.
It would seem today’s boredom and easy access to social media has combined to form a new generation of activists. I don’t know if there’s a term for this yet (someone has probably already made a far better observation than me), so let’s call them “couch activists”. That’s where the bulk of their activism stems from anyway, reading the internet, then redistributing through the internet. With a phone and an internet connection, you can appropriate all the information in the world; simplify it, mold it and interpret it, and then share it with all your friends. (We’re living in the future, y’all!)
Still, that doesn’t always mean you should!