If you’ve ever happened upon a particularly mind-numbingly stupid edition of a Fox News show — be it the time Eric Bolling mocked a female fighter pilot by asking if she could be considered “boobs on the ground” or when Sean Hannity claimed Halloween was a liberal holiday because it teaches children to “ask for handouts” — and asked yourself “How is this level of stupidity possible?” Actor and Monty Python alum John Cleese has a simple, yet startlingly accurate assessment: Fox News hosts are so dumb, that they aren’t even smart enough to recognize how dumb they are.
In a video circulating the web, Cleese is asked about stupidity in the world. Here’s the video:John Cleese on Stupidity
He says the problem with stupidity is that it breeds further stupidity.
“If you’re very, very stupid,” he explains, “How can you possibly realize that you’re very very stupid? You’d have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you are.”
He then backed up this claim with some actual scientific data by a researcher named David Dunning at Cornell (if Sean Hannity is reading this, “scientific data” are those number-y things that make you angry). According to Dunning, knowing how good you are at something “requires exactly the same skills” as it would to actually be good at that thing. To put it another way, you could call it the “it takes one to know one” effect.
Interestingly, the philosopher Socrates made this very same point in ancient Greece, when he discovered to his dismay that he was the smartest person in Athens merely because he, and he alone, recognized how ignorant he was.
For Cleese, this finding is extremely powerful. It poses a serious problem for those who want to enlighten others about their ignorance, because that same ignorance is preventing them from realizing that they don’t know anything.
“And this explains not just Hollywood,” Cleese concludes, “But almost the entirety of Fox News.”
So the next time — probably today — you see that Fox News has someone spouting utter idiocy into the cameras, pity them. They know not what they do — they’re simply too stupid.