Posted on | July 30, 2014 | 35 Comments
From Beca Grimm (@becagrimm):
— dj crumple chin (@becagrimm) July 30, 2014
Have I ever mentioned my insanely obsessive curiosity?
When something catches my attention, it is my habit to research the topic within an inch of its life, pursuing random footnotes and the biographical details of the authors of the works cited in the bibliography, in order to satisfy my maniacal desire to know.
Do not tell me your opinions. Tell me what you know — give me facts, quotes, something genuinely useful to me as knowledge.
Exactly how I developed this habitual hyper-curiosity is a long story. Remember that the Internet did not become a mass phenomenon until I was in my mid-30s, so that by the time I first logged onto the Web, I’d spent more than three decades seeking knowledge in books, magazines and newspapers. Young people — i.e., anyone under 30 — can scarcely imagine that world, where you couldn’t just Google up anything you wanted to know, where being knowledgeable required one to commit facts to memory, to develop skills and habits of checking indexes and bibliographies and learning how to cross-reference sources. At any rate, the development of my mental habits occurred before there was an Internet, and the advent of the online world provided a sort of turbo-boost to my pre-existing curiosity, and the effect is this: My mind is crammed with facts, and I am unable to break the habit of acquiring new facts, so that there is a somewhat disorganized encyclopedia inside my mind, to which I add new information every day.
The name Inga Muscio rang no bells for me, and because I’ve spent the past six months immersed in a study of radical feminism, the fact that I did not recognize the name of this feminist author led me to do some quick research: Here’s her Wikipedia entry, here’s the “About” page of her blog, here is her personal FAQs. You can take the time to scan those pages, and you will then know as much about Inga Muscio as I do. Why would I ask you to undertake that research?
In college, a friend who didn’t shave her armpits lent me her copy of Inga Muscio’s feminist treatise Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. Paging through it instantly gave me a ton of great ideas, like supporting female-run businesses and LGBT rights and checking out my vagina with a compact mirror. Then there were some I wasn’t immediately sold on, like abortion via reflexology and, more specifically, using menstrual blood as plant fertilizer. . . .
Read the rest of that, if you care.
My insane curiosity kicks in: Who is Beca Grimm? It was easy enough to learn she is a music journalist who was living the dream in Brooklyn, N.Y., but is now moving to Atlanta. What I wanted, however, was the specific context of the phrase, “In college …”
Where did she go to college and when?
The green movement has recently become one of nation-sweeping proportions. Vegetarianism is strongly linked to environmentalism because abstaining from ingesting meat greatly helps our planet. . . .
Of course, one of the most popular reasons people boycott meat is in support of animal rights. Although the meat industry has improved somewhat since the times of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” what with the growing popularity of free-range options, there are still an astounding lack of ethics. . . .
Let’s not be too critical of Beca’s collegiate output, eh? The relevant point is that when she refers to her college days, Beca is a 27-year-old talking about what she did when she was 19 or 20 or 21. One wonders what other books she read in college, or what books she has since read, but somehow this one book gave her “a ton of great ideas” — e.g., gazing at her genitalia with a mirror — and thus Inga Muscio’s Cunt can be described as a formative influence on Beca.
OK, then: Vegetarian environmentalist animal-rights feminist.
Am I the only one who notices how many young people seem to care more about their beliefs and attitudes than about knowledge?
That is to say, despite their intelligence, their sense of themselves is almost entirely about membership in an ideology/identity group — to which they give a cult-like loyalty — and they never pursue knowledge except to reinforce their own beliefs. This is not merely intellectual sloth, but deliberate self-imposed ignorance. They are determined to know nothing outside the confines of their own narcissistic identity bubble, and are therefore so ignorant that they have no concept of how much they don’t know.
It is impossible to educate self-absorbed people who lack curiosity. “Checking out my vagina with a compact mirror” is a perfect metaphor for the lives of this hopelessly ignorant generation.