Anyone who’s read message boards, usegroups, blogs, etc., for any amount of time, has seen an incredible number of truly idiotic and wrong claims. But is there one that sticks out at you as the absolute pinnacle of idiocy?
For me, it’s one from VAXNotes at Haverford College back around 1993 or so. VAXNotes was similar to Usenet, but it was local to just Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College. Bryn Mawr, of course, is a women’s college, so discussions of women’s issues and feminism were always common.
So, the conversation went like this (paraphrased):
Some Bryn Mawr Student: Hey, I just read this quote from Margaret Atwood that I really liked… “Man fits women like a hook and eye… a fishhook and a human eye”.
Me: Heh. That kind of reminds me of “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”.
SBMS: Huh? How are they at all similar?
Me: Well, the first one, you think she’s talking about a “hook and eye” fastener, so you think she’s saying that they DO fit, much like in the second one, you’re expecting to hear “a fish out of water”.
SBMS: I’ve never heard of a “hook and eye” fastener, I don’t think that has anything to do with it
Me: Well, clearly that’s what Margaret Atwood had in mind. What would be the point of it otherwise? It wouldn’t be even remotely clever or meaningful if she was just proposing a gory image and making a pithy statement about it.
SBMS: I don’t see how you can claim you know what Margaret Atwood was thinking when she wrote that.
The absolute stubborn ignorance there has caused it to stick in my head clearly, 15 years later.