I talked to a local elected official Monday night who told me that interest in the primary election today in Alabama is so low that they’re expecting only about 15 percent turnout among Democrats and 45 percent turnout among Republicans. I don’t sense any enthusiasm from voters about any race around here, from presidential on down to family court judge or constable or whatever. I mostly sense apathy.
Up until Monday, I hadn’t even seen a single sign for a presidential candidate around here other than the one Ron Paul sign at the other end of the street where I live. And you know how well Paul is going to do in a state with such a strong social conservative streak. (A poll released on primary day shows this for Alabama: Romney 28 percent, Gingrich 27 percent, Santorum 22 percent and Paul just 4 percent.)
I’ll be a guest Tuesday on a live radio show called “Independent Thinking with Steve Gelder.” Click the link and then click on “Listen live” to join us at noon central time — 10 a.m. on the west coast and 1 p.m. on the east coast. (If you’re in the rest of the world, you’re on your own with the time conversion.)
Steve is a bright and funny guy who’s a Los Angeles-based comedian, actor and filmmaker. We come from completely different places politically, but he’s smart, fair and genuinely interested in other points of view, so it ought to be a lot of fun. I’ve been fighting a cold for nearly a week, so the biggest fun for the audience might be counting the number of times I cough or snort before I can mute myself. If you miss the live show, you can hear it later when the episode is archived.
If a German government proposal is implemented, the Germans might come looking for me to pay someone each time I link to an article somewhere. The German government is trying to figure out ways to get online giants such as Google to pay money to help out with the European financial crisis, but the list of priorities also includes trying to get money from sites that aggregate news links. If this thing passes, I have news for them. The monkeys aren’t paying. All they have in life are their bananas — and the Germans are just going to have to find their own.
All my life, I’ve heard the expression, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” but I didn’t know where it came from and I had no idea of the context. (I also had no idea that the commonly used version isn’t quite correct.) When I was listening to this week’s EconTalk podcast Monday — which you should listen to each week if you don’t already — host Russ Roberts quoted the line from Alexander Pope in its context — and it took on new meaning for me:
A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain;
And drinking largely sobers us again.
How many times have you known someone who’s learned just a little bit about something, but just enough to make him assume he’s an expert? Pope is saying that learning just a little bit about something makes us feel as though we’re brilliant, but if we dig a little deeper, we’ll realize just how little we understand.
Most people today are painfully shallow in their intellectual pursuits. I have to confess that I’ve been guilty at times of learning just enough to talk about something, but not enough to really question the glib insights that I’ve casually picked up. Haven’t all of us done that? I just found myself thinking that when I study something new, if I immediately think I’ve mastered the subject, I probably haven’t gone deep enough to figure out how little I know.
There are times when men get unfairly characterized as being jerks who just want to use women, but there are some guys for whom the stereotype truly applies. A female friend of mine recently met a guy who acted very interested in her and pursued as though he was crazy about her. They had dinner for the first time and that went well. A week later, they had dinner at her house. Afterwards, he was all hands and lips. There was quite a bit of kissing and everything seemed to be going well.
All of a sudden, though, he realized that she didn’t have any intention of sleeping with him. He suddenly looked at the clock and said that it was late and he needed to go. That was days ago and she still hasn’t heard from him. Is there any question about what he was after?
Fella, it’s people like you who give all of us a bad name.