American Elephants

Internet Posts! by The Elephant's Child
November 6, 2022, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Politics

Ran into one this morning that purported to show the IQ of all our presidents, starting with, of course, George Washington. Utter Bunk!

The Standford-Benet Test of intelligence, IQ, didn’t appear until 1916. Any estimates of Presidents’ IQ prior to that date are totally bogus.You can get a vague estimate from their speeches or writings, but of course very intelligent people may not speak or write a lot publicly, some have their speeches written for them, some speak a lot publicly but in someone else’s words Just a reminder that we are all probably way too ready to believe whatever we are told.

A goodly portion of what we read deserves a skeptical mind. What are the writers’ qualifications to deserve belief? What we hear from modern presidents is mostly what we are scheduled to hear and believe, while skeptical reporters try to find out what their advisers really think or have in mind for us. IQ tests clearly measure something or other, but is it anything useful? Dunno. Does a person whose IQ registers at 98 understand less about the climate and what it means than someone who resisters at 148? Or does the one with the higher formal numbers experience chill or sweat against what the thermometer says the sane as the one with the lower numbers? Chilling and sweating probably feels the same.

Before 1916, we were pretty much on our own to decide how smart or stupid our leaders were. Many did not write well, and had their speeches all written for them. And IQ may have little to do with intentions. There are aims and goals and the public and private ones may not even agree. And who are the advisers and what are their qualifications? Or for that matter who are the President’s secretaries? There is a sudden concern about the climate of the earth. Why? The climate of the earth is controlled by the action of our sun, not by our auto exhausts, campfires, smokestacks or what have you, and the sun seems to be just fine, shining down on us daily, give and take ordinary clouds and rain.

So we have people in Britain, in Harrods, opening the cooler doors to remove cartons or bottles of milk and pour it all over the floor in some kind of protest about climate. Go figure! I have no idea why they think that a useful thing to do, why they are doing it, nor what they think it will achieve. It makes no sense whatsoever. Did get their pictures in the paper? We have supposedly responsible reporters who search for a “celebrity” to attach to their story to get it more apt to be read. Why? My interest in “celebrities” ranks close to zero. Why do journalists assume that we care? And they assume that we care about details, like what the wear, or what they wore to what occasion, or what everyone wore to their wedding? I assume it starts with their supposed celebrity or extent to which they are known to the public, followed by the assumption that we are than interested in them and everything about them. Not so. I might buy a copy of a movie that I particularly enjoyed in the assumption I would like to see it a second time, which is actually fairly unlikely, except for a very few special ones like Star Wars.

I just looked up “Star Wars” and was astounded to see that it is an ongoing big thing. I really enjoyed the movie, but never even bought a copy to watch at home. Do people watch it over and over? I just read something that sparked my interest once again in Sir.Winston Churchill, so I hauled out my biography of him and reread it with pleasure. And in a few years, I will undoubtedly read it again — which is why I have all those books and bookshelves. I’m a reader much more than a watcher. I’ll have to rent a copy and watch it again. I remember when we had to stand in a long line waiting to get into the theater to watch Star Wars, and the line went around the block in Seattle. Have there been recent movies that sparked so much interest? I haven’t heard of any, but I don’t pay a lot of attention to recent releases.

We have had Greta Thunberg, the child from Sweden who traveled to the United States by sailboat to warn Americans about Climate Change. She was an instant celebrity here, something new and different for the journalism profession, but why there was any supposition that she knew anything about the climate of the world remains a mystery. Just new and different, I guess. She remains a celebrity in Europe, I guess, and has enriched her family enormously, gut I don’t get it. I try to pick the assortment of people I listen to carefully, and being a “celebrity” is not on the list. It’s fairly hard to feel that you have mastered a subject, or even that you know enough for your own purposes. And then there’s always the next subject.

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