Friday, October 13, 2017

About Austin Rogers and knowing

A successful contestant on the game show Jeopardy is apparently getting attention because of his on-camera gurning but he also says something that rather chimes with my own thoughts about knowing stuff:
I like reading and consuming knowledge; it’s almost irrelevant to my education. If I don’t know something, it visibly perturbs me and I have to find out. Back in the day, that meant dropping everything and finding a newspaper to find out exactly what I was looking for. But now, we have supercomputers in our pockets, which confuses me when people don’t know something and they go, “Well, I guess I’ll never know!” I’m like, “You have a supercomputer in your pocket, you can know right now.” You have all of mankind’s knowledge in your pocket. If you don’t know something, why not find it out immediately and close that chapter? I don’t know, people are weird. They’re not curious.
PS: Vaguely connected: Quentin Letts (the theatre critic for the Daily Mail) has been annoying again, which is as good a reason as any to resuscitate the moment he referred to “the death of Banquo’s children” in Macbeth; and Will Gompertz (the arts editor for the BBC) announced on a recent episode of Pointless Celebrities that Vivaldi wrote La Traviata. Now, it’s always a bit awkward bringing up solecisms such as these in polite society because there’s no fixed cultural canon any more and you have no idea whether someone else may or may not see anything wrong. (For the record, it was Macduff’s children who were murdered; and Verdi wrote La Traviata.) But even if you don’t know (or care), surely you’d expect the theatre critic of a high-profile newspaper or the arts editor the national broadcasting organisation to be better informed. Wouldn’t you?

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