Monday, April 13, 2009
Of course, McBride looks like Karl Rove - balding, overweight, piggy eyes, raw pork fat skin texture etc.. And, like Rove, he seems to be regarded as very intelligent. Over the years I've met quite a few people who look roughly like this and who are also regarded as 'formidably' - the preferred mot - intelligent. Since, until at least my thirties, I regarded an excessive interest in politics as a sure sign of stupidity, I was sceptical. Nevertheless, I listened carefully to these loquacious uglies. Sure enough, they were talking crap. Moreover, they were talking crap about extraordinarily trivial things - basically personality clashes, not politics at all in my view. Yet, if they spoke quickly and with a certain supercilious grandeur, all around fell silent and nodded admiringly. I have a tentative theory. Out of excessive regard for IQ tests, people have adopted a simple-minded value-free view of intelligence. So McBride or Rove could spend their lives in low trickery and be called intelligent. In fact, to anybody of any worth at all, such preoccupations are plainly very stupid, evidence of an inability to grasp life in its higher aspects. But, if the metric of IQ is accepted as decisive, then how intelligence is applied is irrelevant. Or, to put it another way, study the story of Marilyn vos Savant - an IQ of 228 deployed in writing a glorified agony column. Or, to put it one more way, Gordon Brown is routinely described as 'formidably intelligent'. Thick as two short planks I'd say.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:40 am