I think we want to appear smart, Darius, so we’ll be liked. Likability and intelligence seem to go hand-in-hand, although the people I truly hate tend to be intelligent (or they’ve convinced people they are). Perhaps this has to do with the media and how quickly they talk these days, giving the impression they’re smart. What got me off that notion was realizing how many old thoughts and platitudes and “knee jerk” responses fill every newsroom. One discussion on PBS was about sex allegations and where it will lead. One woman said, “We’re so wrapped up with Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose, we forget the damage done to the women involved.” This suddenly became the theme, with three women deciding all news coverage should give women the benefit of the doubt, and the courts shouldn’t force them to go into court when they make sex allegations against men. It’s so easy to appear smart these days in the right environment. It’s only when you play back these clips days or weeks later that you realize how “simplified” we all get, as long as nobody makes a sudden turn into uncomfortable territory (like balanced reporting). In comfortable territory, we can all appear smart—and likeable—because we know the words and phrases. Thanks for the post.

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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