Monday, September 23, 2013

Dumb dumbness about dumbity

According to this amusing chart, every state is known for something terrible. It's not as stereotype-driven as you might expect, so it has its share of surprises.

The worst thing about Ohio was nerdiness? Cleveland is there!
Most surprising of all — to me, at least — is that Maine earned "dumbest state." Really? In a country where nearly half of registered voters supported Sarah Palin, many specifically because she was anti-intellectual, people are dumbest in Maine? A blue state with a lot of rich people?

Hell no. Aaannnnh! (Is that how you spell a buzzer?)

This is where you probably expect me to rag on the South, with its weak education statistics, rampant poverty, self-destructive politics and proud adherence to traditional cultural norms like manners and racism. But I'm not going to do that, because the truth is that ignorance can be found everywhere, just as intelligent and caring people can be found even in the least likely places. Sure, such detritus is probably more concentrated in the Deep South, but not enough to where I'm willing to tar any particular state with the "dumbest" label. I'd get no satisfaction from doing that even if the criteria for such wasn't completely arbitrary.

Now, about that criteria — according to Policymic, Maine is the dimmest state based on average SAT score.

Watch this for a couple of seconds before proceeding.



OK? OK.

Gauging education (and lack thereof) is dicey no matter what metric you use, as No Child Left Behind should make clear to all of us. 

But, really, the SAT? All that really proves is that prospective college students in Vacationland aren't filling in the blanks and circles as well as states where that's more emphasized.

Hell, I've never even taken the SAT. (REVELATION THUNDER) 

Why not? Because, in 1998 at least, most Louisiana universities required only an ACT score for consideration. And because tests like the ACT and the SAT (and the GRE, and LSAT, and I presume the PRAXIS and everything else) cost exorbitant amounts of money, there's no reason to take what isn't required of you. Like with way too many other things in the U.S., it's not about brains, but about the Benjamins.

So by the metric of the map, I'm dumb. As are entire states (no jokes, please; see above).

I'm not dumb, just to be clear. I'm goofy. There's a difference.

Of course, this is also wrong in a broader context, which is that American intelligence shouldn't be judged by the test results of teenagers who are probably hung over and who are definitely into twerking. Though a general sample of the adult population would worry me too. 

Hmmm...

When it comes to who's dumbest, perhaps ignorance is bliss. 

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