I’m an information snob.
By that, I mean I hate it when my friends try to tell me they’re “informed.” Usually what they mean by that is they watch “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report” and listen to NPR every so often. They think that by being on Facebook and following @CNN on Twitter means they know what’s going on in the world.
This drives me fucking crazy.
Granted, I work in news, so my standard of “being informed” skews kind of high. I work with highly informed individuals on a daily basis, and a lot of my daily interaction comes from people who work in government. It’s my job to be as informed as humanly possible. I guess it’s why I’m a snob when it comes to “being informed.”
Case in point: before SCOTUS handed down its ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, a friend on Facebook had posted a status about how gay people should allowed to get married because love is love. Then he said he was in favor of Prop 8.
In case you didn’t know, the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2008, but a ballot measure known as Proposition 8 passed that fall, which made gay marriage illegal again. So my friend was basically saying he was in favor of gay people getting married, BUT NOT REALLY.
And you know what I ESPECIALLY hate? I hate it when people try to one-up me when it comes to being informed. Old college friends try to do that a lot. They try to tell me, “Oh, I stay so well-informed. I know what’s going on in the world. I understand current events. I think the government shut down was total bullshit. I think the health care roll out is a disaster.”
Yeah, OK. Good for you. You took a cursory glance at CNN’s homepage. Have a cookie.
But here’s a little test I’ve devised to see how truly informed an individual is. When someone comes up to me bragging about how informed they are, you should ask them this series of questions in this exact order:
- Who’s the president of the United States?
- Who are the U.S. senators for your state?
- Who’s your U.S. representative?
- Who’s the governor of your state?
- Who’s your state senator?
- Who’s your state representative?
- Who’s your mayor?
- Who’s your city council person?
Chances are they’ll know the answer to Nos. 1, 2 and 4. The rest, they’ll be screwed.
Look, everyone and their mother can stay informed of national politics. In this day and age of information and technology, you’d literally have to be living under a rock not to know who the president is. But if you want to impress me by how informed you are, then keep up with LOCAL current events because that is where the majority of shit gets done. The ordinances and state laws that happen practically in your backyard is what affects your life the most. It isn’t Obamacare, it isn’t the government shut down. It’s the municipal government, the county government and yes, your state government.
So when you’re able to answer all of those questions, then I’ll be impressed. But until then, don’t try to one up me in informed-ness, because you’re going to lose every goddamn time.