I’m not that bright. I read a lot, write more, I think (too much) about things. But I’m not, and never have been a cleverclogs, an academically inclined kind of person. I’m a twatty blogger. That’s me, right there, titting about on twitter, laughing inappropriately at stupid jokes and being healthily cynical. I don’t have a lot of time for wankiness.
How do I define wankiness? I should have a snappy answer to that, seeing as I bang on about it enough. Being a thicko, however, I don’t. It’s just a kind of thing. Being pretentious. Intellectual snobbery. Elevating yourself above the commoners like me. Showing off with every interaction that you’re a bit clever, you are. Artisan bakeries. Buying handmade stuff that looks handmade so everyone knows it’s handmade. Being precious. Wankiness.
The world of clever people is closed to me. I didn’t even go to university. Yeah, you heard me right. I was supposed to. I had my Forensic Psychology & Criminology course all set up and ready to go. \but I met Alistair, I feel into a very well paid job and… I didn’t. Sometimes I wish I had. But then I wouldn’t have met Alistair, I wouldn’t have had The Blondies, I wouldn’t have this life, whatever it is. Anyway, however you look at it, my formal education ended at 18 (aside from the extra A Levels in my early 20s, but they were home study and therefore, Don’t Count).
But I still want to learn. As a history obsessed moo, I love reading about the past, about people, their lives, their passions. And I know how lucky I am that I’ve ended up living in a city where history isn’t an abstract concept, but all around me. It’s in the cobblestones I tramp, the walls I touch, the building I visit. I still get the same fizz of excitement when I see the Guildhall, or a read a green plaque on the wall, or spot something old I’d previously overlooked. And because of this history all around Norfolk, there are bloody LOADS of people and groups and talks and events celebrating this heritage. I’m still amazed by it.
But of course, there is a flipside to this. And unfortunately, it’s the people who know this stuff best. The Clever People. I don’t think I know any of them. I certainly don’t interact with any of them. It’s not that I hate them or anything like that. I don’t even dislike them. They just make me do an exaggerated eyeroll and think ‘Wow. You really don’t like sharing, do you?’
‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ Albert Einstein said that, just to prove I can be as wanky as the rest of them. I’d add something more to that. ‘Or perhaps you don’t want people to understand something it took you a long time to comprehend. So you’ll bind ideas to jargon, and in-jokes, and references that the casual reader, the great uneducated won’t understand. To exclude. To infer intellectual inferiority. To create a divide.
It makes me sad. Actually, it annoys me. In fact, it FUCKS ME ROYALLY OFF. Knowledge, history, heritage, aren’t the preserve of those with a doctorate in snobbery, specialising in wankiness. It belongs to us, to all of us, and to see things that are fascinating, enlightening, and help us to understand human history, obscured by intellectual wankiness and mutual academic masturbation should be a bloody crime.
‘singular features in landscapes entrain our awareness in orbits of attention and interaction. Each individual’s orbit, following broadly the same law of cognitive gravity, will ultimately coincide with those of others, overprinting paths of attention and thus amplification of the significance of the feature.’
Yeah, go ahead, google it, you’ll see where I got it from. What is really frustrating is that he has a really good point, but it’s hidden behind some impenetrable prose that anyone who isn’t full of utter wankiness would have their eyes glaze over within the first paragraph.
Is it fear, do we think? That if a twatty blogger like me can grasp a concept they write about, then maybe - clutch your pearls, ivory tower dwellers – they’re not being clever enough? If someone like me, with no real education can read, understand and appreciate an academic paper, then perhaps… they’re not as clever as they want others to believe they are That perhaps (whisper this bit) the stuff they know… it isn’t so hard to understand?
And it transfers into other things I see. It’s not enough to prove how clever they are. They have to belittle others. Maybe by ignoring a twatty blogger replying to them. Sneering at someone for being enthusiastic about something they consider non-academic. Not engaging with anyone outside of their special circle, because what could we, the average person, know or understand? Playing a deadly serious game of who can be the most ‘above all that’. I don’t like it. It’s snobbery, pure and simple.
But maybe I’m equally guilty of reverse snobbery. Perhaps I have a massive chip on my shoulder about not going to university, being a twatty blogger, having to read up on things before I can immediately understand a reference. Perhaps I’m jealous that other people get to live a life defined by their thoughts and interpretations, where they’re admired for their ideas. Where is they venture, just a little into the outside world, they’re seen as unique and special. Perhaps I resent being reminded that I’m nothing much, nothing special, have nothing to offer. Maybe.
But equally, I have nothing to prove either. I’m just a twatty blogger.