We live on Stupid World


I never got the appeal of that Jeopardy game show. The questions were mostly shallow trivia — you didn’t have to be particularly smart to answer most of them, and the gimmick of having to answer in the form of a question was the most superficial of contrivances, leading to tortured language in generating both the answers and the questions. I was unimpressed, the few times I saw it.

The game host died a while back, so they’ve added a new level of gimmickry: guest hosts! And who do they pick?

“Dr.” Oz. That quack.

To their credit, maybe, past contestants have petitioned the show’s producers to not do that, because Oz is just a bad human being. It might also be because they’ve been under the illusion that appearing on Jeopardy meant you were a clever dick, and this decision might actually expose the scam.

In other news about the decline of intellectual life in the world, Jordan Peterson and Elon Musk have been twittering back and forth about appearing on a podcast together to massage each others’ egos. I’m cringing already. Never forget, this is what Peterson thought was worth publishing in his book, Maps of Meaning.

Fine. You had a weird dream, Peterson. What kind of narcissist thinks that constitutes an academic discussion, let alone that it has “meaning”? People actually think Jordan Peterson is a brilliant guy!

Comments

  1. gijoel says

    I’m going to need a unicorn chaser after that dream story. That or some spider videos, anything to get the story out of my head.

  2. says

    Peterson should do what liberals have always been saying: Always question authority, make up his own mind rather than listen to experts and always voice contrary opinions in order to not conform to lockstep dogmatism.

  3. billseymour says

    I agree with PZ about Jeopardy, but I often catch the end of it because it airs just before one of our local TV news shows.  I noticed Dr. Oz as the guest host and immediately thought, “Oh no!  Don’t turn the show into a long plug for snake oil!”

  4. says

    I once qualified for “Jeopardy!” in a preliminary round back in the day before online quizzes replaced regional trials, but I didn’t go on to the next round because a friend’s wedding conflicted with the date (and I was best man). As someone who retains trivia the way other people retain water, “Jeopardy!” is really my cup of tea (although I’m not a tea drinker). And it’s not “Wheel of Fortune,” which doesn’t entertain me at all. But hawkers of snake oil are deplorable, and I’m on vacation from “Jeopardy!” while Oz is presiding. I saw one Oz episode in which there was a credulous answer about aromatherapy and essential oils. Coincidence? That was too much for me. When will it be Peterson’s turn? Perhaps there could be an answer about the benefits of all-meat diets. Or medical tourism in search of experimental treatments. Or having your daughter prolong your con when you’ve crippled yourself with self-destructive behavior. It would raise the game to a whole new level. Ugh.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    I have heard that there is a movement afoot to get Levar Burton (aka Geordie) to be the new Jeopardy host. That sounds like a good idea.

  6. R. L. Foster says

    Peterson’s dream could have been a lot worse (as in revealing?) — grandma could’ve been smoking a cigar.

  7. weylguy says

    As a Christian, I thank God I’ve never had such a disgusting dream. Grandma’s pubic hair in my face? Come on!

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    So the next super-final Jeopardy shows will focus on questions about Jordan Peterson’s dreams of senescence?

    With a season wrap-up on Elon Musk’s dreams of competence?

  9. zetopan says

    “When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat.” – George Carlin

  10. Nemo says

    I saw an explanation of Jeopardy’s question/answer gimmick recently — it’s a parody of contestants being “given the answers” in an earlier generation of quiz shows, like Twenty-One (as seen in the movie “Quiz Show”).

  11. says

    @#13, Rob Grigjanis:

    Only because other countries try to use the US to distract from their own awfulness. Or have you not noticed that the Netherlands just elected a bunch of Nazis, while repeatedly being demonstrated to be one of the four largest centers of money-laundering in the world? Or that France is simultanously banning niqabs and hijabs because they cover the face while pushing for flu masks? (And Switzerland has just followed suit… no horrifying racism outside the US, no…) Or… pretty much everything the government of the UK has done for the last two years? (Billions of pounds of blatant transfers of wealth to cronies, crimes against humanity for immigrants, a refusal to deal with coronavirus which makes Trump look positively rational, police beating up people at a vigil days before the government tries to pass a law making protests directly illegal, etc. etc. etc.)

  12. Rob Grigjanis says

    The Vicar @15: The USA’s awfulness isn’t a distraction from anything, and your lecturing is (as always) unnecessary. But it does stand out on so many fronts.

  13. says

    @15. Aren’t you the one always saying how much better Europe is than the US? Usually, it’s me pointing out that Europe isn’t the elysian socialist paradise that everyone makes it out to be.

  14. says

    @#16, Rob Grigjanis:

    Yeah, sure. And the fact that Europeans always point a finger at the US when they’re caught exhibiting racism/sexism/outright fascism, that’s just a coincidence. Europeans in blackface portraying Africans as backward and inferior? That’s not racist, Europeans aren’t racist, it’s Americans who are racist!

    (It’s like the way that — until the last year or two — any complaint about American politics was met by English people with a sententious talk about how the US should have a parliamentary system and that would make everything work better. Funny how we don’t hear that claim any more — it used to be ubiquitous.)

    @#17, Susan Montgomery:

    No, my stance is more “why is it that even Europe is better than us?” (And the answer: any time anybody here tries to actually improve anything, centrists like you insist that it’s too radical of a change and defend the status quo, no matter how obviously terrible and/or unsustainable that may be. The Democrats should make their slogan “A Better World Is A Foolish Dream” because that’s how their leadership has been acting since the 1990s.)

  15. John Morales says

    And the fact that Europeans always point a finger at the US when they’re caught exhibiting racism/sexism/outright fascism, that’s just a coincidence.

    That’s not a fact; that’s merely your opinion.

    (And, of course, a single counter-example will falsify it)

    No, my stance is more “why is it that even Europe is better than us?”

    Health care, there’s one thing right away. Incarcerations, for another.

    (I could go on, but what’s the point?)

    … any time anybody here tries to actually improve anything, centrists like you insist that it’s too radical of a change and defend the status quo …

    Rubbish. You’re really full of shit, ain’t you, Vicar?

    (You know how many hundreds of bills have been passed by the House but blocked in the Senate thanks to Mitch McConnell? Those bills were passed by centrists, i.e. Democrats, and blocked by Republicans)

  16. Rob Grigjanis says

    The Vicar @18: Europe has all the sins you mention. Everyone knows that. But the US is utterly bonkers. The healthcare system, the electoral system, the gun laws, the military spending, the power wielded by fundamentalists. Even in countries run by clowns like Boris Johnson, it looks like a very bad joke.

  17. says

    @#19, John Morales:

    Yeah, sure. Next time a European tells me — just to pull a recent example — that blackface is traditional and Not At All Racist like us terrible Americans, I’ll look back on this exchange and laugh and laugh and laugh.

    Health care, there’s one thing right away. Incarcerations, for another.
    (I could go on, but what’s the point?)

    You missed my point, possibly because I didn’t phrase it explicitly enough. By “why is it that even Europe is better than us” I didn’t mean “what makes European government better”, I meant “why are a bunch of assholes like the Europeans able to do beneficial stuff when they’re obviously terrible people?” And your examples, therefore, are just plain irrelevant to my point.

    You know how many hundreds of bills have been passed by the House but blocked in the Senate thanks to Mitch McConnell? Those bills were passed by centrists, i.e. Democrats, and blocked by Republicans

    So your reason for thinking centrists are good is that… they accomplished nothing? Particularly when they had a majority in both houses of Congress for 4 years and a majority in the Senate for 8 (starting in 2007 — look it up if you’ve forgotten) but deliberately refused to get rid of the filibuster during that entire time to neuter Mitch McConnell, even after he made it clear he was obstructing for the sake of obstruction? And that elections showed that gridlock strongly favored the Republicans? Wow, I’m impressed.

    No, seriously, I’m impressed — the Democrats did an absolutely amazing job of turning you into a mindless partisan who will overlook their history of failure. A lot of people on this board are excellent examples of their work. No doubt when the Biden administration brings in the next increase to military spending, starts that war in Syria their team has been hoping to start for a decade now, and then claims we need austerity on social spending because of all the money spent on dealing with the coronavirus, you’ll be telling us how wise and benevolent and responsible they are. Take your “full of shit” response and cram it where the sun shineth not, you ridiculous excuse for a human being.

    @#20, Rob Grigjanis:

    Even in countries run by clowns like Boris Johnson, it looks like a very bad joke.

    Only because you have convinced yourselves of this in advance. And this is nothing new — Europeans have been trying to reassure themselves that Americans are inherently their inferiors since at least the 1850s, when it became clear that the US economy was going to outstrip any in Europe. (Arguably earlier than that, but there was a major boost thanks to the London exposition.)

    Just in the last week, you have a British MP who is seriously carrying a bottle of milk everywhere he goes, which is totally normal and not incredibly weird at all. There was a social-and-traditional-media storm about Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, claiming tens of thousands of pounds in expenses at a cosmetics company, which eventually came to nothing but was considered plausible by most of the public. This is, again, totally normal. (She’s apparently the one behind the attempt to make all protest, even peaceful protest, illegal, which is totally normal and not at all a sign of impending totalitarianism.) Her party got about 40% of the vote last time around but has a completely unbeatable majority in Parliament, no longer requiring any sort of coalition. Polls show that despite their totally inept handling of both Brexit and the coronavirus, they are if anything in a stronger position than in the last election, possibly because the major opposition party threw out the most effective opposition leader ever in favor of somebody who seems to basically agree with the Tories on everything. This is totally normal and de facto (according to what you have implied) a sign of a functioning electoral system. Patel’s party has consistently acted to destroy the UK’s healthcare system for decades, but have never gotten any pushback from their voters on it, and are transparently getting ready to privatize even more of it (they refused to pass a law which would prevent this just a few weeks back). They are attempting to deflect criticism by requiring every single government building everywhere in the country to fly a flag at all times. Totally normal. And, of course, as mentioned above, the attempt to make protest illegal happened days after police beat up and arrested large numbers of people who were — with multiple sources of video available as proof — peacefully leaving flowers at a memorial. The chair of the Gloucestershire Police Federation comes out and says out loud on social media that the police protect the crown, not the public, and that “policing by consent” is a good idea in theory but not actual policy, but it’s those wacky Americans who are doing things wrong and in danger. Seriously, the UK’s government makes Trump look rational and justified — the UK is about one bad month away from outright fascism, or at least some kind of weird far-right totalitarian power grab, and people are in denial about it.

    Meanwhile Poland and Hungary are explicitly trying to turn their judiciaries into partisan tools of the far-right Catholics, and the head covering ban in France explicitly includes Islamic clothing but excludes Catholic head coverings. The same Catholics whose young-ish, new-ish, Very Liberal Pope just announced that gay marriages cannot be blessed because they are a sin (but apparently ordaining pedophiles and abusing children is still okay) — but it’s those wacky Americans who are in thrall to right-wing religion. Of course. Couldn’t possibly be Europeans. Outright literal explicit fascism is making inroads into multiple governments in the EU, one of the larger countries was led by a fascist within the lifetime of many people posting here and most of the current government has an annual day of remembrance for him, but it’s the US we have to watch out for. Sure.

  18. John Morales says

    Vicar:

    By “why is it that even Europe is better than us” I didn’t mean “what makes European government better”, I meant “why are a bunch of assholes like the Europeans able to do beneficial stuff when they’re obviously terrible people?”

    Well, obviously, they can do beneficial stuff you mob can’t because as a society they’re less terrible. Duh.

    No, seriously, I’m impressed — the Democrats did an absolutely amazing job of turning you into a mindless partisan who will overlook their history of failure.

    <snicker>

    I’m Australian, mate. From my outsider’s perspective, I can see which is the shittier side of politics — and it ain’t the Democratic Party, shitty as they may be.

    More to the point, first you claimed it was centrists who stymied change, now you concede they’re the ones who propose progressive change but get stymied.

  19. Vreejack says

    There is a list on Wikipedia of “conservative intellectuals” that serves as a handy reference. It is arranged in order of birth, and has the names of people like George Will and William F. Buckley, but the last couple of names are Dinesh D’Souza, who is a sad ex-con who displays breathtaking bad judgment and specializes in making bad faith arguments, and Ben Shapiro, a very un-serious person who, according to Ben Shapiro, is a very intelligent person… who also invites Dinesh D’Souza onto his show. Until recently Charlie Kirk was on that list, until I suppose someone realized that was very embarrassing. It seems like the well has run dry.

  20. says

    @18 It’s easy to demand the impossible – and convenient, because that way, no one can prove that you haven’t done jack shit about it. It’s also easy to think that everyone thinks the way you do about everything and that it’s only some vast conspiracy keeping your paradise from coming into being. That way, you don’t have to examine your own beliefs or consider how anyone else views them.

    It’s altogether much harder to take an honest view of where the political needle lies in the US and the west. It’s much harder to accept that some battles shouldn’t be fought at all while other battles require different strategies than just imposing your demands on others.

  21. Rob Grigjanis says

    The Vicar @21: You’re responding as if I wrote “Europe good. US bad”, even though I did no such thing. Silly of me to think your reading comprehension might have improved in the last few months.

  22. Craig says

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I had been meaning to write Jeopardy! with my opinion of their choice of Dr. Oz as a guest host.

    I’ve been in the Jeopardy! contestant pool enough times that I’ve lost count, but I never get called up. I suspect it’s because I had known Ken Jennings in real life, although I haven’t communicated with him in about a decade, but I made the mistake of being honest enough to tell the producers so.

    I have unsubscribed from the Jeopardy! e-mail list.

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