The Monday Morning Teaser

In some of the social-network conversations sparked by last week’s post on Trump voters, particularly the less-educated Trump voters, one of my least-favorite terms came up: dumb down. Educated people are afraid that if they have to talk to less-educated people, they’ll have to say stupid things, because those are the only sentences people without masters degrees can understand.

This always sets me off for two reasons: (1) I grew up in the working class, so I know first-hand that people who were happy to escape high school with a diploma (or maybe even without) are not stupid. (2) In all my various careers — mathematics, computer software, and now writing about politics and religion — I’ve been a popularizer. So when something complicated needs to be communicated or explained, I see that as a challenge, not a reason to start ranting about how stupid people are. If I can’t explain something to someone, I need to take responsibility for my role in that failure, not just blame it all on them.

So that led to this week’s featured post “Instead of Dumbing Down”. It should be out around 9 EDT.

The weekly summary covers the travesty of the Commander-in-Chief Forum, where Matt Lauer grilled Hillary on her emails and cut short her comments on ISIS, then tossed softball questions to Trump and didn’t follow up when he repeated his predictable lie about opposing the Iraq War. Hillary’s health became a genuine issue rather than a manufactured one, now that she’s been diagnosed with pneumonia. The Kaepernick protest spread. The Dakota Access Pipeline is on hold. And I’m still trying to decide whether I want the cute closing or the NSFW one. That should be out around noon.

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  • Roger Green  On September 12, 2016 at 7:48 am

    I vote NSFW – it’s been a NSFW year. We can have LOL kittens later

  • Egan Varley  On September 12, 2016 at 7:52 am

    >>>So when something complicated needs to be communicated or explained, I see that as a challenge

    OK but don’t you think some subjects are inherently complicated and difficult to explain? It must be a REAL challenge to explain motivic cohomology or scheme theory.

    • JJ  On September 12, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      Technical writers do this sort of thing all the time. They take complex topics and figure out how to explain them.

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