Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh Dear, Scott

I wrote some time ago about the unpleasantness and cowardice of Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.  I aired my disappointment that someone I’d respected for years was revealed as a self-absorbed fool when he started blogging. 

His standard MO is:

  • Say something foolish
  • Insist that anyone who disagreed with him was an idiot
  • Claim he was only joking or was playing devil’s advocate

He refuses to learn about the subjects he writes about – surely the mark of a crackpot – claiming that he doesn’t need to.  He has espoused on creationism, on imagined flaws in evolution, on the big bang being intelligent (where his stupidity really outdid itself) and on western males being discriminated against.

When someone tells him why he was wrong, he and his readers accuse them of missing the point or of failing the humour test: of not realising that Adams makes up crackpot theories to provoke people into angry responses, which he finds amusing.  This claim would be a lot more credible if he and his readers didn’t take what he writes so damned seriously; if his arguments weren’t simple-minded rehashings of standard creationist canards; and if he didn’t view knowledge of a subject as disqualifying someone from raising a valid objection.

It turns out that Adams has been leaving comments on message boards under a pseudonym, posing as his own fan.

It’s embarrassing stuff.  He likes to argue with his critics by pointing out that he’s a ‘certified genius’.  His response is predictable: if we were smarter, we’d have been onto his little ‘joke’ from the start.  We’re the fools for taking someone at their word when there was no reason at all not to.

I'm sorry I peed in your cesspool. For what it's worth, the smart people were on to me after the first post. That made it funnier.

If Adams is to be taken at his word, then he’s like a child who tells a deliberate but plausible mistruth then finds it hysterical when people believe it.  But I don’t buy this.  Adams thinks he’s the smartest person in every room.  He thinks he’s smart enough that he doesn’t need to know anything about a subject in order to overturn the work of people who’ve spent their whole careers studying it.

If you have to tell people you’re a genius, you probably aren’t and if you have to defend yourself with a sock puppet (and especially if the defence is “he’s a genius so you’re wrong”) then you probably know you have something to hide.

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