Is Cecil Adams a savant? :confused:

Why would you think that?

No, he does the research.

A Savant would just know.

Definitions of savant:

Ed Zotti, the current writer of Cecil’s column, may or may not be a savant under those definitions. Probably not.

Are you thinking of (now pejorative) idiot savant?

He’s not that either. He’s merely a reporter who selects subjects to research. You make yourself look much smarter by carefully choosing which questions you try to answer and which you ignore. I’ve practiced that here for many years. :slight_smile:

But even a savant needs to get his information somewhere. “Just knowing” isn’t “knowing.”

He probably just took the same class I took in college, one of the most useful, a 1/4 credit class in how to use the library. He is a good researcher, nothing more.

Some things, Cecil directs his research staff. Most things, Cecil just knows. However, the READER editors (Ed and others) have to get the research done to back him up and be sure that every detail is correct.

Cecil may or may not even be a real person…

Huh? You think a robot spews out the column?

Maybe you mean that “Cecil Adams” is not the name on the driver’s license of the person who writes the column. If that’s what you mean, I have some bad news for you, sunshine. Hardly anybody on the SDMB is a “real person,” and, um, you might want to check your own I.D. “YogSosoth,” cuz I’m guessing you don’t meet your own standard, either.

oh come on people… he’s a columnist. he’s no more a savant than any of us. Ken Jennings is more likely a savant. Even Marilyn Vos Savant has a better case.

All I know is when I asked on this board a few months ago whether or not Cecil was a real person, I got a bunch of answers and a lot of arguments. I came away from that question more confused than ever.

Somebody writes this column, but whether or not that somebody is a real person named Cecil Adams, a pseudonym, or refers to a fictional character staffed by many writers over the years is unclear to me.

So, who were some of the past writers?

YogSosoth, It is not confusing. The columns are written by Ed Zotti and have been for years. He has help from people but few columnists of any stature don’t have some help from assistants.

Ok. Gotta weigh in. Nothin more? Cecil has been and continues to be a very fine writer. He’s witty, stylish, and cogent. He has the ability to take a topic – sometimes quite arcane and difficult - and reduce it to essentials, all the while maintaining an entertainingly cocky and supercillious attitude that both respects and tweaks the questioner. You try doing that. It’s not as easy as it looks. “nothing more.” Pulleeaze.

At http://www.straightdope.com/pages/faq/cecil , it says -


It sounds to me like he just knows.

Unless the FAQ is wrong, of course. But that’s just crazy talk.

Pre-Ed, Cecil was Mike Lenehan and then Dave Kehr.

If the person we call Cecil Adams isn’t really Cecil Adams, but a mere employee paid to write this column, who then is the owner of this column who employed this person?

My hunch is that this position is something like the position of Dalai Lama. It is held by the reincarnation of the eternal entity we refer to as Cecil Adams. This entity gives the person who currently holds the post of the Mighty Cecil the immeasurable knowledge they need to write such worldly columns and grant us mere mortals these nuggets of his infinite wisdom.

And, it is this spiritual all knowing entity that collects the bulk of the royalties that this column generates.

Huh. So when it says they’ve been “Fighting Ignorance since 1973,” does that date represent Ed Zotti’s beginning? And and did those others go by “Cecil,” too?

No, Ken Jennings is fast on the buzzer. Other contestants knew as many answers as he did, but he was consistently the first to buzz in. And that was due to hours and hours of practice.

No, Cecil is not a savant.

Cecil is the savant.

The rest of us have to strive for knowledge and wisdom. But knowledge and wisdom strive for Cecil.

Knowledge is to Cecil as the scent is to the rose. It is just part of his being, his essence, his experience… one cannot separate the two.

Nothing can cut Cecil but if you could cut him, out would come knowledge in its purest form.

We cannot comprehend Cecil, but we can understand that we cannot comprehend him.

Cecil is both the product and the fruit of knowledge, but also the source. It is a mystery. Our small minds cannot accommodate the mystery, but we can contemplate it and achieve a state of rapture, through which comes enlightenment.

If you meet the Cecil on the road, kill him.

We may know of Cecil, but we cannot directly know Cecil. We may bathe in the light, even though our minds cannot directly know the source of the light just as our eyes cannot look directly at the sun.

Think on these mysteries and these lessons, and in the quiet of contemplation and reverie, amidst the quiet garden of the soul, you will see the Cecil.