(Pointless) Knowledge Is (Still) Power


I read an article by CNN’s Tom Foreman in the Metro on my way in today. He says the instant access to information that comes from technology causes us to stop diving deeper into anything anymore. If something isn’t condensed to a 170 character tweet, we don’t absorb it. (For instance, you probably quit reading this post after the words ‘I read an article’). Shame on you.

But seriously… I began to have an internal monologue about this (I think way too much). I wondered if I was conditioned this way, too. Clearly I love me some technology. My iPhone screen cracked this week (I still can’t bring myself to talk about it) and I was an inconsolable wench who looked something like this: In light of all that, I still decided I wield technology better than Tom Foreman claims I do. Thank God.

It’s called Wikipedia. Well it’s mostly called Google. But Google inevitably leads to Wikipedia for me. Let me explain: A large percentage of my time on this earth has been spent debating absolutely pointless topics. For example – Did Henry VIII die of Syphillis or Small Pox? Before my iPhone, I’d have had to wait at least a full hour until I got home to my laptop and Googled. Now I can prove somebody wrong instantly. “Ha! Syphillis, you idiot!”

If it all stopped there, then Foreman would have me properly pegged. But it very much does not. That night while I sat in front of my TV watching Toddlers in Tiaras, I whipped out my iPhone and voraciously began my quest for everything there is to know about King Henry VII, Syphillis, Small Pox and, in the end, archaic diseases as a whole. The Bubonic Plague really was no joke, people. And don’t get me started on Scarlet Fever.

Television doesn’t help my cause any, either. Mad About You reared its delightful little head a couple of weeks ago (judge judge judge away) and yet again it sparked me to Google “Where is Helen Hunt?” But seriously, you guys…. where is she? She won an Oscar and then she vaporized. It took years for me to let her in as a serious actress and when she finally lives up to the expectations I set for her she disappears? Rude. And no matter how many times I Google her, I still don’t really get an answer I feel comfortable with.

Next: Robert Kardashian. Seriously… How the heck are these girls so rich? I mean now all of the money filters in from various magazines and clothing articles – skanky and otherwise. But how did it all come to be? When did we decide we wanted to “Keep Up” with them? It had to have something to do with Robert Kardashian. I guess he charged OJ Simpson one hell of a legal fee. Sidenote: I saw a pic of him and a blonde-haired Khloe. She looked way hotter with highlights. Google it.

Another necessary cyber search revolved around “Croque Monsieur.” I warn you: don’t do it. You will need to eat it immediately. I Googled it last night and I had to force myself to go to bed before I wound up at the 24 hour CVS buying processed ham, plastic cheese and Wonder Bread.

And I’ve recently taken to watching yet another embarrassingly cheesy ABC series – this one titled Pan Am. Pan Am is a period-based television series centered around the airline itself in the early 60’s (kind of a rip-off of Mad Men but with decently hot characters as well, thus making it worth watching). There are various twists and turns in which Pan Am employees working for the CIA deliver secret documents, etc., during their travels. This sparked me to Google every single thing there is to know about the Cold War, the CIA and Stewardesses. Boy we think we have problems now.

I should note: I am by no means insinuating that I’m some kind of genius because I know so much more about the Cold War than the rest of you (although it must be said that I do). In actuality, I should’ve been paying much better attention in High School World History. But I’m catching up.

I guess, at the end of the day, that’s kind of my point. Maybe the part of us that was raised by good parents, good teachers, good books, good morals, good school districts – maybe it all meant diddly squat. Because now we have smart phones. We’re capable of making ourselves smarter. That’s what we have “instant access” to, Tom Foreman, smartness.

I disagree that our entire generation stops reading after 170 characters. I think we’re diving deeper into knowledge than we ever were before. Well—at least I am. Maybe my attention span got longer. Maybe I’m just getting old and understanding why my parents would “waste their time” reading an entire Journal full of news on Sundays (I remember thinking they had legit psychoses for choosing to spend three hours in front of a mass of tiny, useless text). But knowledge really is power. And so long as we’re wielding the power of technology in an awesome way, I say keeps it coming.

And in closing, 4,391 characters later (thank you, word count), if knowledge is power, then consider me…. well, at least consider me some sort of Duke. Duchess? Duchess of Pointlessness. Expert in Archaic Disease, The Tudor Dynasty, The Kardashians, Cold Remedies, Apple Breeds, Helen Hunt, Gwenyth Paltrow’s Diet Habits, The 9-9-9 Flat Tax, Dove Chocolate vs. Dove Soap, The Original Oompa Loompas, Ricki Lake, European Cheeses, Mormonism, Single Living Princes, The Best Ways to Deep Condition Your Hair and, of course, Mark Zuckerburg’s entire life history.

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2 thoughts on “(Pointless) Knowledge Is (Still) Power

  1. socialjerk says:

    Ah yes, the Wikipedia black hole. I just wanted to find out how old Celine Dion is (because if someone said 70, I probably wouldn’t argue,) then I’m reading about the separatist movement in Quebec, the War of 1812, the history of maple syrup…you think you don’t need to know these things, but you DO!

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