Meet the smart, ignorant journalist

By Bikram Vohra

Published: Thu 23 Jul 2020, 7:31 PM

Last updated: Fri 31 Jul 2020, 11:09 AM

I love quizzes. I seldom know the answers but since I make up for ignorance with loping enthusiasm, I have been able to give the impression that I am a whiz at the quiz. I reckon it has something to do with being a writer and folks presuming that if you write you must be an egghead and far be it from me to disillusion them of this belief.
Very often, I get into this position where I am in a group and someone says you are a journalist, what is your take on the H1B visa, like what is the solution. Contrary to popular opinion, you know only what you read in your own paper and since you finished college 50 years ago, you haven't really studied the issue in depth, but there are these eager pairs of eyes waiting for your incandescent genius to pour forth and sail forth and enlighten them.
Most writers and journalists have long perfected the art of intellectual pretence in which they project great thought and insight by saying nothing. Saying nothing while making verbal sounds requires a certain amount of dexterity and experience. You grow into it.
First, when confronted in a group, you have to be fiendishly secretive. Like, people, don't crowd me, this is not something to be spoken of lightly.
This impresses them because everyone likes to feel they are heavy hitters. Now you fling in confusion confounded. You say there is no easy answer. They will nod wisely because what can be more riveting than difficult answers, that is why they are here.
Seeing that you have softened them up and they are now being joined by others, you go deep into pointless waffle. We have to weigh the pros and cons and see it from all angles because if we leave out some of the factors, we could come up with a dangerous and totally inaccurate assessment. Wow, they all nod solemnly, like yes, you have a point.
Now you become a thinker, hello Rodin, watch this. You know, it is amazing but I have been giving this issue a lot of thought (just the right gravitas) and I am sure you'll agree that it requires a deeper insight and more inputs before we come to any conclusion, we cannot be premature in making an informed judgement. After all, you don't want it to rebound on you.
That last line is a beauty. You just corner them with that drivel because no one will take you up on it and say, hey, you haven't said one valid sentence.
The best part of this attitude is that it does not matter what the subject is, so far as you are ignorant of it, then it is all good. Where you get into trouble is if you have a smattering of know-how and you share it. Someone will say your facts are not correct and you will be caught. It only works with a rampant absence of knowledge. Go on then, try it.
bikram@khaleejtimes.com




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