Thursday, May 1, 2008

Beer and Ignorance

One of my favorite places to enjoy a beer on a sunny afternoon in Boulder is the Pearl St. Pub. It is the last place in Boulder you can just grab a beer and head out to the patio and take a seat. And, it is one of the last places on the Pearl St. Mall that hasn't been completely gentrified. There are a lot of weird characters to be found there.

Tuesday I was there enjoying a Sawtooth, reading The Economist, watching the traffic on the Mall, and overhearing the conversation at the table next to me (Can I multi-task or what!). An older foreign couple, origin unknown, was sitting with a local man who had the popular bald-guy-with-big-beard look. As I sat down I heard Bald Beard say that the US Government was going broke because of illegal aliens, and getting nods of agreement from his table-mates. “Just another moron”, I thought.

A few minutes later, Bald Beard, who I guess is an expert on everything, pronounced to his audience, with great authority, that banks like to give mortgages to people who can't make their payments, because they make more money. How, you might ask, if you're not a complete idiot? Well, it appears that they repossess the house, sell it for a profit, then write another loan that won't be paid and keep repeating the cycle. This, he said, is how Fannie May is set up to operate.

At that point I restrained myself from yelling “THAT IS THE MOST IGNORANT THING I'VE EVER HEARD!!!”. Didn't say anything, in fact, which isn't easy for me. Maybe it was because Bald Beard looked like killing me wouldn't be his first crime.

What is sad about this is that we live in an age where almost any information is easily accessible. We should be the best informed, most knowledgeable people who ever lived. Yet, it seems that our access to information is just making us dumber. The internet should cause us better informed. Instead, it is a tool for idiots like Bald Beard to find and spread this kind of nonsense. And, of course, if it is written on the internet, it must be true! It seems people love to believe a crazy story, and are just too lazy to bother to find out if it's true (remember the emails about the Bud truck driver who pulled his beer out of an Arab-run convenience store after 9/11?).

No comments: