It pays to be ignorant

By Bill Taylor - Contributing columnist

It seems to me that these dreary, dismal, overcast days must somehow stimulate my memory box to dredge up recollections I hadn’t thought were even stored there. Furthermore, the stimulation of these almost-forgotten reflections apparently come from rather oblique, off-the-wall sources – you know that “now where did that come from?” kinda question that makes a body wonder which end of the anatomy to scratch. Well, that happened again recently and I thought I’d share.

What bubbled up from the nostalgia of many years ago was a radio show called, “It pays to be ignorant” that ran for about ten years on several different networks.

At about the same time several quiz shows, such as “The Quiz Kids” and “Dr IQ” featured experts who demonstrated their knowledge in all kinds of areas. To the contrary, “It pays to be ignorant” was a parody, a takeoff, of those sedate demonstrations of intellect.

The panelists, Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell, and George Shelton demonstrated their ignorance in a rowdy, silly format that had both studio and home audiences roaring with laughter. (After all these years, I can still recall the raucous voice of Lulu McConnell – which I would recognize if I heard it today.) Anyway, the quizmaster would ask questions such as, Who was buried in King Tut’s tomb?, For which president is the Washington Monument named?, or In what city was the Boston Tea Party held?

The panelists would never come up with the correct answer, instead responding with ridiculously funny replies that would lead to even more uproariously explanations for their positions that, in turn, led to offshoot topics, insults, and running gags. One such – I think it was by George Shelton – who, in each show, proclaimed, “I used to work in that town.”

Before going on I figure a couple of definitions might be in order. There is a great difference between “ignorance” and “stupidity.” According to Wickipedia,“The intrinsic difference is that ignorance simply implies lack of awareness about something, while stupidity denotes the inability of a person to understand something due to insufficient intelligence.” Thus, ignorance may be countered by the acquisition of knowledge, but there is no known remedy for stupidity. Okay, moving on.

I recently came across a very enlightening story in the Wall Street Journal from February 10. The headline read, “Cryptocurrency Scams Took In $4 Billion in 2019” – “Bitcoin-based frauds raised more money in 2019 than in 2017 and 2018 combined”. This very well written article by Paul Vigna and Eun-Young Jeong described how fraudulent bitcoin schemes “… reach into the mainstream, victimizing naive investors … .” The article recounts how some casualties of these rackets have lost tens of thousands of dollars by investing in bitcoins.

The reason this report kinda grabbed my attention was that the subject of bitcoins and cryptocurrency is one I admit to being ignorant about – that is, having alack of awareness on the subject. You see, the only bitcoins I’m familiar with are the quarter dollar coins long known for some reason as two bitsand the half dollar coins known as four bits. (We rarely see those fifty cent four bit coins these days but they used to be quite common.)

Thus my ignorance may well have saved me from being victimized by scams, ransomware, and other sinister schemes perpetrated by fraudsters preying on the unwary victims who have sufficient knowledge to participate in bitcoin/cryptocurrency activities but apparently insufficient knowledge or perception to realize they were being bamboozled. However, in my case this type of investment didn’t even appear within my knowledge base so I wasn’t tempted.

In retrospect, I kinda figure my subconscious reaction to this account was apparently sometimes it pays to be ignorant because all of a sudden my memory popped up with that old time radio show. Sounds kinda weird, but when a body has over four score years of memories stored up, it’s hard to tell what might emerge next or what might stimulate them. I’m not sure if that is a curse or blessing of being a member of the geriatric generation. At least that’s how it seems to me.

By Bill Taylor

Contributing columnist

Bill Taylor is a regular contributing columnist for AIM Media Midwest.

Bill Taylor is a regular contributing columnist for AIM Media Midwest.