According to You: Average Americans Are Dumb

55% of America’s dummies believe they are the smartest Americans…

Make room for genius__Where Excuses Go to DieBut 55% of us know we’re smarter than they are. YouGov is a British polling firm that dangles the alternate currency digital carrot of redeemable points and “cool rewards” to survey takers, then sells its gathered intelligence to clients around the world. America is a country that loves free movie tickets, raffle prizes, and gift cards, all of which can be earned by participating in YouGov’s data harvesting efforts. According to YouGov, some of this data says that 55% of Americans believe the “average” American is dumb, or more accurately, that they themselves are smarter than their compatriots.

WHERE WHAT THE WORLD THINKS GOES TO DIE_What’s funny is that this global marketing outfit, YouGov, probably pays next to nothing for results like this, which it markets and sells to the world at what we can only surmise is a tidy profit. Surely their acquisitions people lock in gift cards and movie tickets for pennies on the dollar before offering them up. Then they trade mere eligibility for those products and services for our most valuable natural resource: personal time. What do I mean? Well, keep in mind that “reward points” are only as good as their ease of redeem-ability. By the time you find out how many hoops you have to jump through in order to cash in, access to your opinions and whatever other data can be mined from them will probably have been sold the world over many times.

DUMB FACE CHAMPION OF AMERICAGranted, most of us spend way too much time on the Internet anyway, so why not profit a bit? Yet the very act of pursuing these baubles requires little more than a willingness to be dumbed down even further. The irony comes with the realization that YouGov is apparently so secure in its operations it can afford to release a study that basically calls its subjects, participants, prizewinners, and “members” dumb to their faces.

I let a rat crawl in my mouth for humanity_Photo © Richard BanksAnd considering 55% of this research came from people genius enough to devalue of their own time for the promise of balloons and cake, it’s downright hilarious that they did so while presuming they’re smarter than everyone else. It’s like a snake wearing a birthday hat and trying to swallow its tail. This might even rank up there with a 2010 study that found knowing divorced people can be bad for your marriage — in other words, divorce is contagious.

Its PLAY Hard not Make Play Hard_Where Excuses Go to DieI guess what I really don’t like about this YouGov study is what it says about me. I certainly don’t count myself among the 45% of stupids, but who am I to think I’m smarter than everyone else? The last time I tried that, I wound up eating prison food. But to be honest, I don’t need an excuse to put myself above average Americans. On the other hand, with your average American being as big as a buffalo these days, you really don’t want to piss one off…

Wiley_My all-time favorite newspaper cartoon artistBut who designates themselves as one of the 34% of Americans who claim they’re “about as smart” as their national peer group? And think of the few, the proud, the 4% who admit they’re less intelligent than your average American bear. But not you, right? According to you, Americans are dumb.

PEOPLE WHO PROTEST ARE DUMBSLook, I know I’m smarter than a lot of people, but that’s not saying much because “smart” and “dumb” are both relative and subjective. I pride myself more on not being a chump. I picture myself living long enough to turn a senior citizen phone scam around on the numb-nuts who dials my number. In the olden times I’d go to the mall and see a brand-new Mercedes being raffled off by the “Prize Dispersal Corporation” and laugh at the idiots filling out raffle cards, unaware they’re signing up for smart missiles of junk mail. Data harvesting, the beta years.

Wolf Of Wall Street_Paramount PicturesAnd here’s a question we may never get the answer to: Since a YouGov client must have requested this study, who was that client? Was it some hideous group of Wall Street overlords playing with people’s sense of inferiority, like so many sandbox toys? Were they curious to know who among us thinks we’re big shots down here, with our bad minimum wage earning, credit card debt having, rent paying selves?

Yours truly – shit-faced with plastic bag on my head. I am an Average American.
Yours truly – with plastic bag on my head. I am an Average American.

Or is YouGov having fun with this one? Are we looking at a database vendor with a sense of humor? Their website is designed to attract folks in a friendly manner and provide examples of what the company’s mathematical algorithms can do with the information we give it. It’s also meant to get people talking, especially the overlords. Some of us stick around for the balloons and cake and some don’t, but at the end of the day, this is high priority business intelligence sold to the highest bidder. I won’t dismiss the usefulness of some of their data gathering, but I think I’ll come back when YouGov releases a study a little more relevant to me, such as what percentage of us posses a propensity for cynicism.

55% of America’s dummies believe they’re smarter than everyone else.

100% of chumps don’t consider the source.