Malicious Ignorance

Discussing the Basic College Girl’s “stupidity” with contrariandutchman (in the comments on the previous post), I agreed that “stupid” is the wrong word to describe someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez… but there’s not really a right one.  I eventually settled on “malicious ignorance,” and since that’s the main reason I retired — because yes, they’re ALL like that — I owe it to y’all to at least try to explain what this means.

It’s a combination of narcissism, subservience, and borderline sociopathy.  Ever been around someone with a chronic, debilitating, but non-terminal illness?  Not something like a particularly tenacious flu, which, though it feels like it lasts forever, we all know is temporary.  Nor something as serious as cancer, which forces one to confront one’s own mortality.  I mean the equivalent of “bedridden” (a word I’m surprised WordPress’s spell checker even recognizes).  Something like a major heart attack or a minor stroke, where everything you do must now be examined through the lens of your condition.  No activity, no decision, is so minor that you don’t first have to think about your illness.

With me?  No one handles that kind of thing well.  Even the most stoic person tends to get querulous; even the toughest break down if it goes on long enough.  Indeed, that’s one of the worst things about such an illness from the family’s point of view — the person who was once a pillar of strength is now a whiny old wreck who tears up if their oatmeal gets cold.

But that’s not the worst thing.  The worst is discovering that there’s a kind of person who actually kinda enjoys being sick.  They seem to take a sadistic pleasure in making you hop, but when you actually try to help them — get them out of bed, for example, rather than just fetching their tissues or picking up the remote they “dropped” — they give you an utterly convincing “poor me!” act.  You feel like the world’s champion asshole for not doing whatever they want, even though five minutes ago your own lying eyes convinced you they were a lot healthier than they let on…

If you’ve ever experienced that, you’ve more or less experienced the Basic College Girl.  She wants what she wants, and she deserves to get it, right NOW, and you’re the world’s champion asshole if you don’t give it to her.  She’ll issue her list of demands — that’s the narcissism — but if you tell her no, she’ll switch immediately to cringing subservience, and if that doesn’t work, she’ll do anything — increasingly literally — to get it.

Let me illustrate.  A few years back, I “taught” one of the most Basic College Girls I’ve ever encountered.  No BCG really groks what “extracurricular” means, but this chick took it to the next level.  She was majoring in Sorority, with a minor in Activism.  Her email auto-signature (yes, they all have those) was longer than my entire resume: President of This, Co-Chair of That, Secretary of The Other Thing.  Naturally this kid had no plans to actually attend class, let alone do any of the work.  So she simply informed me that, since the first exam was due on the Friday right before some big out-of-town event, she’d be turning it in a few days late.

When I replied that this was unacceptable, I got an email of such pathos that, as Oscar Wilde said of the death of Little Nell, you’d need a heart of stone not to laugh: She’s been working SO hard, and she just loves my class (in which she’s learning SO much), but this is SO important to her future career that she just can’t possibly….

No problem, I replied.  The due date is Friday, but nothing says you can’ turn it in early.  Thursday would be fine.  Heck, make it Wednesday!  Just give it to the department secretary — she’ll log it in, and drop it in my mailbox.

You know what happened next: Nothing.  Wednesday passed, then Thursday, then Friday.  No paper.  Snowflake wasn’t in class on Monday, of course, and just before noon the inevitable Dead Grandma Email popped into my inbox.  Fortunately for her, though, they must’ve held Grandma’s funeral at the same posh hotel in the same city as the big sorority bash, because ten seconds on social media revealed umpteen pictures of Snowflake having a ball with 5,000 of her closest girlfriends…

Bad as that is, though, that’s not the truly sociopathic part.  The truly sociopathic part was that after she got busted, she tried to complain to the Dean.  You see, I was the asshole who set the due date.  I caused her great emotional trauma by not letting her just turn the paper in whenever, which I compounded by not believing her Dead Grandma Story.  And here’s the kicker: She wasn’t petitioning the Dean for a makeup exam, or to force me to accept her paper late.  She’d never even written the damn thing.  All she was trying to do was get me in trouble with the administration.

That’s what I mean by “malicious ignorance.”  From her perspective, I was the unreasonable one.  Hell, I started as the unreasonable one, by making her take an exam in the first place.  After all, my class wasn’t in her major — it was one of those required classes universities use to fool the rubes into thinking they still teach stuff — and so there was no point in her being there anyway.  It was just a hoop for her to jump through.  My job was simply to mark the A in the gradebook, and since there’s no possible point to “class” other than getting the A marked in the gradebook, I was seventeen kinds of jerk for not just marking it down and letting her get on with the important stuff, like sorority formals.  And since I was being such a jerk, she had to try to ruin me — that’s what one does with “h8rz,” after all.

This was a few years ago, and an extreme case.  But do you think it has gotten better or worse since then?

And that, comrades, is why I’m terrified of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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20 thoughts on “Malicious Ignorance

  1. MBlanc46

    Somehow, this put me in mind of a jingle about Benjamin Jowett, translator of Plato and Master of Balliol College, Oxford.

    This is Balliol, I am Jowett
    What there is to know, I know it
    If I don’t, it isn’t knowledge
    For I am Master of this College

    Jowett certainly wasn’t ignorant, and he probably wasn’t malicious. But someone who was ignorant (and was ignorant of his/her* ignorance) and malicious would fit the attitude suggested in the jingle to a T.

    * I added the “his” because, although you restrict your discussion to the BCG, I imagine that the description also applies to the SJW or hipster male, although without the dose of female privilege. As for the normal young adult males who find themselves in such an environment, they must feel as if they’ve found themselves on Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6th.

    1. Severian Post author

      It absolutely applies to college guys, too. But since undergraduate enrollment these days is 60% female by sex, and pretty much 100% by gender….

      I love Jowett, if only because he was the classic Victorian prig, so pretty much everything about him is oh so triggering. He liked the Empire, too. And those sideburns! Enough to send any strong, confident wymyn to their fainting couches.

      Not really related, but speaking of great Victorian jingles, Curzon got one of the best:

      My name is George Nathaniel Curzon,
      I am a most superior person.
      My cheeks are pink, my hair is sleek,
      I dine at Blenheim once a week.

      Poor Curzon! He went from “good government liberal” to “grunting troglodyte” in his lifetime, without ever changing his views. Of course, modern people are used to today’s gospel being tomorrow’s heresy, but back then it must’ve been a real shocker….

  2. Pickle Rick

    There’s more than a few adjectives, but the arrogant sense of entitlement seems to make up a large part of the BCG as well. Eventually, it curdles into the behavior of Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren as they age. AOC is slightly different in that she knows she’s pretty, which Hillary wasn’t.

    1. Severian Post author

      She isn’t actually pretty, though — she’s just young. No offense, as it’s easy to conflate them. Unless you’re around late-teens girls all the time, one tends to mistake things like “sub-30 BMI” and “not being a total ballcutter” for “hot.”

      I know I was blown away when I first went to grad school — every single girl on campus was a knockout!! But then I got to watch the freshman girls put on the freshman 15, then taking a bunch of Angry Studies classes, and come back as chunky, bitchy seniors, and I realized: Most of the girls I’d thought were hot were just normal teenage girls. AOC’s like that — compared to your run-of-the-mill political battleaxe, she’s a knockout, but really she’s just a not-obese girl in her 20s (which admittedly is rare in a lot of fields, not just politics). Nice yabos, though.

      [Side note: Perhaps the biggest regret I have about my time in the ivory tower is that before I retired, I should’ve addressed every single coed I could find with the following advice: “You’re not hot enough to carry that attitude.” Because that was the other thing that made the freshmen girls seem so hot back umpteen years ago — they were nice, normal girls, with decent attitudes. They didn’t have a huge chip surgically implanted on their shoulders. They didn’t come on like the JV Thought Police, always on the lookout to yell “rape culture!” They appreciated male attention, and were not above using their wiles to get some. In other words, they didn’t hate and fear males. Today’s college girl lives in a schizo, paranoid universe, and because she’s afraid all the time, she almost always comes off as a rampaging bitch. Add to that universal entitlement culture, and the fact that she can get 10,000 “likes” from goofy thirsty game-less hornballs just by posting a cleavage shot on Instagram, and you’ve got every maybe-a-six-in-low-light-after-a-few-beers carrying on like she’s Helen of goddamn Troy. It’s not gonna go well for her in the real world, and I should’ve said so on my way out the door].

      1. MBlanc46

        Just can’t get past her horse teeth. Always makes me think of Mr Ed. Maybe she’s nicely endowed in the bosoms, but I can never get below the mouth. Have to look away.

        1. ryan

          I had the displeasure of hearing her talk this weekend (I am bit proud of having avoided it for so long). She sounds exactly like the stereotypical valley girl from my 90’s youth. I think if I didn’t read this blog it wouldn’t have been so unsettling.

    2. MBlanc46

      One almost feels sorry for Hillary. All that brain power, but a face like a chipmunk. I can see how that could ruin a female’s life.

  3. Pickle Rick

    Oh, I know the difference between pretty and hot. AOC is pretty, until the minute she starts talking. Then she’s just tiresome. I spent a lot of time in SoCal when I was a young Marine in the best shape of my life, and an attitude that matched the best any BCG, Early 2000s Edition, could give…

    1. Severian Post author

      Cheerfully withdrawn! I spent some time out there with a buddy stationed at North Island… truly top-tier talent on the beaches of San Diego.

      1. Pickle Rick

        And that’s just America. I cut a swath through Australia, Singapore, Hawaii and Baja California as well, in between stints in various parts of scummy Arab shitholes with rifle in hand, where there were no women not dressed like ninjas…

        American women lost quite a bit of luster compared to the exotic girls in foreign locales.

        1. Severian Post author

          I seriously would not wish American girls on my worst enemy. There are still a few sane ones, but not too damn many. Honestly, that would be my #1 argument for any guy thinking about going to college: You’ll be surrounded by college girls. That is NOT a good thing. They’re irritable, over-caffeinated, narcissistic shrikes who can destroy your entire life with a word if you look at them funny. They all think they’re Helen of Troy, while acting like Hera with PMS. Learn a trade, go overseas, or best of all, learn a trade and then go overseas.

          1. Pickle Rick

            And that’s the great paradox of my time overseas. I realize now that American interventionism doesn’t bring “freedom”. I simply infects traditional culture with LGBT activism, feminism, consumerism and familial breakdown. We’re actively destroying thousands of years of culture with Globohomo.

  4. Maus

    Well, Sev, your BCG anecdote is way better than mine. I’d entered this gal’s final grade in the system incorrectly, improving it from a C- to a C+. Caught the error and backed it out less than five minutes later. A visit to office hours soon thereafter. Why the grade change? I explained my error. Ah, but with C+ her overall GPA exceeds 2.0 and she graduates in May. With C-, sadly she must return in Fall and take more courses seeking higher grade. First there was the coquettish cozening with outhrust chest (she was a match for AOC in that department); then the tears and how she already had a job in a distant city lined up yada yada; finally, in the face of my adamant refusal, the hate. I was pure evil. Her absence from 9 of 24 class sessions was an irrelevant fact. Ditto that she’d missed the cut for a C, let alone a C+, by several points more than other classmates who also received that same grade. Her picture belonged next to the definition of narcissism in the dictionary.
    I finally admitted to myself that I oughtn’t be a teacher because I loved the subject matter but hated the vast majority of the students. Apparently the Dean saw matters in a similar light and, mercifully, my brief academic career ended.

    1. Severian Post author

      That’s why I instituted a draconian attendance policy, despite the fact that everyone in the room was (chronologically) an adult. Why did you get a __? Well, Snowflake, it probably has something to do with missing 45% of the classes.

      It took me a lot longer to bail out, though. I’ve never been the swiftest learner….

  5. contrariandutchman

    In the case of AOC I see malicious but not ignorance.

    Here she is discussing inflation and unemployment ith fed chair Powell. She must have paid attention at BU since she has a solid grip on textbook macro, much better then the typical congresscritter.

    But proposing a “Green New Deal”, “abolish ice” and “medicare for all” has been brilliant politics and I dont buy she doesnt understand what is to be expected if any of that were actually done. Its just all instrumental to the acquisition of power, almost certainly even the disaster that would result from implementation of such proposals.

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