We all have our pet peeves, blind spots, resentments, and bad traits. One of mine is people who think they're really smart and act like they are. Every time they enter the room they put on airs as being more intelligent than everyone else in there. The scored high on their SATs in high school and that made them who they are today: arrogant and special.
When they speak you can detect a tone of intellectual superiority that says "I'm smarter than you. I can out-think you every day of the week. I'm clever, articulate, and well-educated. I only spend my extremely valuable time speaking with other really smart people. You are not very smart and my precious brain can't be wasted thinking on your low level."
Which brings us to Ohio State president Gordon Gee. By now you probably heard what he said yesterday about the Catholic religion and Notre Dame during a meeting with his university's Athletic Council.
He reportedly characterized Notre Dame's clergy as untrustworthy. "You just can't trust those damn Catholics. He made his comments in the context of discussion about negotiations that fell apart regarding the Notre Dame football program's membership in the Big Ten athletic conference in which Ohio State is a member.
My take is this wicked smart guy wanted to portray himself as cool to his audience. Criticizing Catholics plays well to so many audiences these days. By engaging in this year-round sport, you automatically elevate your likeability, demonstrate your worldliness and understanding of American culture, and win over power people.
He may have been joking or may not have. But humor me with this hypothetical. Insert another religion in place of Catholics in his statement and this morning you might be viewing on TV scenes of protesters burning American flags, hurling objects, and accosting police officers.
This college president wanted to sound clever and hip. He got his audience to laugh; they felt in on the gig. He felt better about himself and how smart he knows he is. He goes to bed at night wondering how he conjured up grand thoughts so effortlessly while so many others just can't.
Building on that brash bravado, he commented about the Southeastern Conference (SEC), suggesting that they need to learn how to "read and write." This further stroked his visceral need to feel more intelligent than others, and his belief in its veracity. No doubt he believes he sports an IQ at least 50 points or higher than the every current or past SEC student. He didn't play sports in college, I assume. Dummies did that. He sharpened his mind, a much more laudable and lofty ambition of sustaining substance and importance. Unlike, say, college football.
As a college president, he exudes high-mindedness. He is a bastion of razor-sharp critical thinking skills. His insights penetrate deeper than those of athletes who play for major college programs such as those in the southern United States. What you say, think and write carries more weight than ordinary, dare you say, unintelligent student athletes cluttering college campuses.
You can say what you want because people gain sustenance from your wisdom, especially athletes. They are the ones, most of all, who need you the most. As always, you are certain.