Being Smart Vs. Acting Smart
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Being Smart Vs. Acting Smart

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Being Smart Vs. Acting Smart
Warner Bros. Television

I think we can all agree that people who openly treat others like their intellectual inferiors are among the most obnoxious and narcissistic people on the planet. The only thing that makes it worse is when they're actually complete idiots. Being condescended to be a physics PhD, Nobel prize winner is infuriating, but at least it's not entirely undeserved; having a classmate ridicule you for not knowing the twelfth largest moon orbiting Saturn (it's Prometheus by the way) is grounds for murder. I've found that most truly intelligent people neither disparage those trying to learn, nor flaunt their knowledge in a way that serves only to fuel their ego. Look at college professors, for example. They are certainly some of the smartest, most well informed people in their respective fields. The professors people enjoy having are not the ones who are purposefully esoteric; they are the ones who foster an environment of learning with their wealth of knowledge at the helm.

One of the best examples I can think of to epitomize the difference between these two states of being is in the juxtaposition of the television shows "South Park" and "The Big Bang Theory." Which do you think would be the smarter show? The one featuring the amoral escapades of a group of foul-mouthed elementary school boys, or the one about three doctorate-wielding physicists and an engineer, and their comical attempts at interacting with anybody with an IQ under 150. I would argue that despite frequent vulgar jokes, "South Park" is clearly a more intelligent show.

"The Big Bang Theory" is a show that merely acts smart, a show that puts on the facade of being written by the very PhD's it features. A prime example of this is the way in which the episodes are named: "The Barbarian Sublimation," "The Vartabedian Conondrum," or "The Terminator Decoupling": Using idiosyncratic, technical jargon in order to give off the illusion of intelligence. This illusion is only furthered by using the stereotypical "nerds" as the main characters, and having them act so unbelievably and stereotypically nerdy, it can only be enjoyed as parody. Sure, the show has enhanced my vocabulary and taught me some interesting fun facts, but behind all the verbiage and obscure fact-dropping, is a rather banal sit-com with nothing new to say about people, relationships, or even nerds.

Now to look at the show with such titles as: "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", "The Biggest Douche in the Universe", and "Jewpacabra". "South Park" inarguably comes from a rather immature perspective with the elementary school setting, relying heavily upon toilet humor, and the blatant disregard of any semblance of decency. The first several seasons gained infamy because of there on pure shock factor and obscene comedy. Though they still utilize that same method of comedy, the show has evolved into one of the more poignant, nuanced, and brilliant contemporary critiques on society and humanity. They have torn apart everything from PC culture to Donald Trump, and even more impressively, the show has managed to say so very much about the nature of people, our flaws, and more importantly, our virtues. Granted you have to wade through Cartman saying "Jew" a lot, but behind the obscene humor and ridiculous plots, it is a show that deliberately caricatures to the way we understand ourselves.

In summization, what I'm trying to say is this: if you're the kind of person who goes around at parties quizzing strangers on the phenomenon of quantum tunneling, please know that everybody hates you more than Clarkson. Okay maybe slightly less than that, but it's damned close.


Somebody who knows what quantum tunneling is but has the decency to realize that's only because I took a course on modern physics.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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