I was thinking back and realized I hadn’t written about this, but recently referring to a TED talk brought this to mind.

Not too long after Brexit passed, someone I knew was opining on a TED talk they’d seen. This is entirely hearsay on its contents as I haven’t bothered to dig it up – the talk is not the point, what was understood from it was.

The upshot of it was that some urban Londoner was going on about how they were utterly shocked by the results of the vote, and decided to look at the stats. They quickly figured out that support for Brexit was greater in the countries than the cities. So, of course, the problem was that people from the cities, “educated” people, hadn’t been talking to people from the country.

At this point, anyone familiar with the urban/rural divide is going “duh”, but he, as I understand it second hand, wasn’t going down that path.

Nope. You see, if people like him had a chance to talk to these rural folk, many of whom never really left the areas they lived in, they’d be able to demonstrate how wonderful and awesome the rest of the world was, and how much it could bring them.

Yeah, even second hand, the condescension was sweating off of that like an ice-filled pitcher on a muggy day.

So I asked if maybe he’d overlooked anything? Oh, but what did I mean? Well, polling shocked everyone, as a win for brexit wasn’t expected, but the variance wasn’t evenly distributed. One particular area that had a much larger spike of pro-brexit votes was an area around a town called Rotherham. Was he arguing that the people there weren’t familiar with what bringing in the outside world brought with it?

I got an empty look. What?

Rotherham, where over 1400 girls were repeatedly raped over the last decade and the police allowed it to happen because htey were afraid of being called “racist.”

All of a sudden I was an ignorant fool and the person giving the TED talk had all the stats and did I? And did I think I was smarter than a person delivering a TED talk?

I looked them in the eyes and said “I don’t need all the stats, all I need to know is that his explanation is blown apart by a verifiable facts that don’t fit his model to know it’s bullshit. And generally, yes. Most are smarter than average but nowhere near as smart as they think they are, and don’t unpack their assumptions.”

Apparently I’m an arrogant asshole. Oh well. The rest of the dinner was quiet from that quarter.