July 2, 2012

"I don't think I've ever called anybody a genius, except sarcastically."

I just said, to Meade, after he misread the title of the last post as something I'd written, when it was a quote from a Wall Street Journal editorial. (Not that the Wall Street Journal was calling anybody a genius. It was characterizing what other people were saying about John Roberts, and, in my view overstating it.)

I decided to check my impulsive assertion. Have I ever called anybody a "genius" (without sarcasm)?

On February 15, 2008, I called Jane Fonda "some kind of media genius... a media genius — a media whore." And I called Eve Ensler "genius" for thinking up a play — "The Vagina Monogues" — that's so completely easy to produce and perform — "3 women sit on stools and get to read their lines off index cards."

On June 28, 2001, Howard Kurtz had called Mitt Romney a "boring genius," and I restated that as "a genius at being boring."

On March 14, 2012, I called Rush Limbaugh a "media genius," but not "enough of a genius" to have deliberately set off the Sandra Fluke flap for publicity purposes.

On December 30, 2011, I said "The guy's a genius!" about James Franco, but that was complete sarcasm.

October 14, 2011, I say this about Steve Jobs: "Here we are, mourning our loss of a genius, and the genius (apparently) fell for the monumental stupidity of 'alternative' medicine." I'm only referring to his reputation as a genius, and I'm calling him stupid.

June 14, 2011: I say "The idiot is a genius!" about Sarah Palin.

January 24, 2008: I refer to Dolly Parton as a "pop culture genius."

I see I need to amend my original quote: I don't think I've ever called anybody a genius, except sarcastically or in the specific category of genius: media genius.

ADDED: Contemplate the possibility that John Roberts is a genius — a media genius.

52 comments:

Chip S. said...

Perhaps that's b/c there's no genius involved in law. Just ingenuity.

Quaestor said...

Genius is an over-used word, don't you think. Are we not prone to hail those we agree with as a genius more as a sobriquet and less a categorical?

What is a "media genius" anyway? Is that someone who's outstandingly successful, or someone who has invented or pioneered a new medium? Certainly Rush deserves kudos for taking a moribund form of radio programming and converting it to a powerhouse of influence, but does that rank him with Marconi?

Quaestor said...

Oops, bad subject/verb. Make that read "those we agree with as genius" please.

Bob Ellison said...

Quaestor, I subscribe to the notion that there are many forms of intelligence and genius. Lady Gaga and Madonna before her are geniuses; so is Greg Louganis, and so was Annie Oakley.

Scott said...

When we're talking about genius, are we talking merely high IQ?

If a person is a qualified genius (such as a "media genius") does that mean they're not necessarily a genius at everything else? (Rush Limbaugh certainly isn't a marriage genius.)

Is being a genius the same as being a savant?

Can one be rightly declared a genius from one incident, or do they have to demostrate their genius-ness a number of times to prove it?

Meade said...

I don't know if he is a genius or not, but commenter tim in vermont was pretty darn insightful on 6/24/12 when he said...
Obama suffers ADHD. If you have this, and a fairly high IQ, you can do a pretty good imitation of a genius in short spurts. Making connections that others just don't see. But then, when it comes to doing the real work of implementing these ideas.... Understanding the individual ramifications, getting down to the nitty gritty, well, somebody else better do it, and the "brilliant" insights may not hold up in light of *all* of the facts.

Chip S. said...

Making connections that others just don't see.

Got any examples of this from Obama's life?

Making shit up doesn't count, btw.

Quaestor said...

Before Rush AM radio was in the doldrums. Some stations had tried the news/public affairs format, but except for the 5-minute network feed at the top and bottom of the hour they were at a loss for programming. They were trying to emulate NPR without the benefit of taxpayer-guaranteed income. Then along came Limbaugh and suddenly the format became not merely viable, but lucrative. Is that genius? Or is that opportune coupling of an opinionated voice with the zeitgeist? Or is that the essence of genius?

Quayle said...

He's more of a genius than Anthony Kennedy, which is, I think, the point Roberts was trying to make, in taking back the court from him.

The Drill SGT said...

On February 15, 2008, I called Jan Fonda "some kind of media genius... a media genius — a media whore."

Jan, I might like. Hanoi Jane? not so much...

deborah said...

He's more of a genius than Anthony Kennedy, which is, I think, the point Roberts was trying to make, in taking back the court from him.

Interesting thought.

edutcher said...

I don't know how you could call Roberts a media genius - Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes are, Breitbart was, and, yeah, Rush is.

As for true genius, I think they see beyond the capabilities of most.

Think Copernicus, Newton, Galileo.

Also Christ.

Those who can turn an extremely talented hand to many disparate tasks, such as DaVinci, also qualify.

Quaestor said...

Genius is much less a matter if IQ and much more a matter of determination, of being able to devote an extraordinary level of attention to a very narrow yet undefined domain of work. Certainly there are examples of polymaths like Franklin who seem to effortlessly produce in any field they choose to explore, but in most cases genius works feverishly in one domain at the expense of all others.

ndspinelli said...

We can title this post: How a Narcissist Confesses.

Tim said...

"Contemplate the possibility that John Roberts is a genius — a media genius."

No.

The Chief Legislator was going to get ample media coverage no matter what he wrote. Drawing extra attention to oneself by willfully exceeding the authority of the office to re-legislate law is inordinately self-serving, in an Obama-like way. That's not a winning strategy, especially in the long run.

The Chief Legislator has a very big hill to climb to rehabilitate his reputation, and the Court's. In the meantime, he should go live with David Souter.

ndspinelli said...

ChipS, Great point about law.

Tim said...

"Think Copernicus, Newton, Galileo.

Also Christ."


Christ had an advantage the others didn't.

Besides which, your list is incomplete.

You left out Bill Walsh.

Charlie Martin said...

Who's Jan Fonda?

t-man said...

He's such a media genius that I've seen people referring to the "Roberts Tax", rather than the "Obamacare Tax".

If you are a genious in one field (law) for example, don't assume you can play in a different (media) field.

Lucien said...

We'd probably be better off saying that people have a genius for something, or are a genius at something, than in calling the person a genius.

dreams said...

I think Roberts is a Justice overly concerned with what the liberal media think of him and so unfortunately for our country, he will continue to "evolve" as have other Republican Justice Appointees.

t-man said...

Frankly, given how few people really understand how our government works, I wouldn't count out the Obama re-election campaign going after the Supreme Court for raising taxes:

Who is John Roberts? He's the Bush appointed Justice who raised your taxes by $xxx billion. During the next four years, it is likely that one or more Supreme Court justices will retire. We need to keep President Obama in office so that Mitt Romney can't appoint other republican tax-raisers to the Supreme Court.

edutcher said...

Still Barry's tax.

MadisonMan said...

I agree that Limbaugh is a media genius. Anyone who can use their talent to amass a fortune is in the genius category IMO.

So I agree with Lucien at 935.

Quaestor said...

Christ as genius.

Mmmm... If you take Christ as Lord and God, i.e. the Christian confession, the applying the term genius to Him is both inadequate and somewhat blasphemous. However, if you approach him as a figure* in history then one must confront the same problem posed by Socrates. Is Socrates the genius philosopher, or is it Plato? Is Jesus the genius polemicist, or is it Paul?

*Notice I say figure rather than person. Though it is possible Jesus never existed, the figure of Christ as the center of the religion that replaced paganism in the Roman Empire and laid the cultural foundations of the West is of undeniable historicity.

t-man said...

edutcher -

It's not a tax, and it doesn't matter what you think. It only matters what a large number of franchised individuals can be led to believe.

edutcher said...

No, we do know he lived.

Roman records.

t-man said...

That should be "enfranchised."

John M Auston said...

Via Schopenhauer:

Skill hits targets others can't hit.

Genuis hits targets others can't see.

edutcher said...

t-man said...

edutcher -

It's not a tax, and it doesn't matter what you think. It only matters what a large number of franchised individuals can be led to believe.


SCOTUS says it is and their word has the weight of law.

MadisonMan said...

Applying man-like superlatives to Christ is jarring.

Is calling Him a genius an affront to God?

Quaestor said...

Lucien wrote:
We'd probably be better off saying that people have a genius for something.

That is also much more in keeping with the origin of the term. Roman religion had two simultaneous aspects, the State cults -- Janus, Jove, Juno, Mars, etc. -- whose priests were magistrates and whose celebrations were a matter of civil policy, and the animistic household gods and spirits whose rites were family matters and whose clergy was the pater familias. In the household pantheon were minor gods of good fortune to be propitiated and befriended and lesser devils to be expunged or repelled, both classes attached directly to the persons of the household. But there were also spirits dwelling in the local terrain itself -- in the meadows, in the soil, in the springs and streams -- that could be great friends or implacable foes depending on the actions or inaction of the people who plowed the soil or drew the water. These were the genii. If someone was an exceptionally good farmer that person was said to have a genius, i.e. a soil-dwelling spirit for an ally.

Palladian said...

Oh really, he was a genius, Helen's a genius and Dennis is a genius. You know a lot of geniuses, y'know. You should meet some stupid people once in a while, y'know, you could learn something.

Jake Diamond said...

I decided to check my impulsive assertion. Have I ever called anybody a "genius" (without sarcasm)?

Do you have some magical way to search your entire communication history or is the entirety of your past communication limited to this blog? Either way, you're well into "who cares?" territory.

ricpic said...

John Roberts is a genius in the medium of duplicity.

Meade said...

saac Davis: You honestly think that I tried to run you over?
Connie: You just happened to hit the gas as I walked in front of the car?
Isaac Davis: Did I do it on purpose?
Jill: Well, what would Freud say?
Isaac Davis: Freud would say I really wanted to run her over, that's why he was a genius.

ricpic said...

Anybody who manages to live by his wits is a genius of sorts. Which means that at the heights of Shakespeare but also at the talent to amuse level of Noel Coward, there is genius.

ricpic said...

Nora Ephron was a genius at delivering middle brow dreck that the middle brows ate up.

William said...

I read the Wiki bio of Wittgenstein. He definitely counts as a genius, but it doesn't seem to have given him much of an edge in life. There haven't been that many happy geniuses. Goethe, Franklin, Sheen and maybe a couple of others. The rest seemed to have made hairshirts out of their gifts.

traditionalguy said...

Hint: Laurence Meade is a genius.

t-man said...

If the Supreme Court announced that 2+2=5, of course I would write "2+2=5" in any brief to the Supreme Court.

That doesn't make 2+2=5, and I don't have to repeat the lie outside of dealings with the Supreme Court.

cubanbob said...

Scott said...
When we're talking about genius, are we talking merely high IQ?

If a person is a qualified genius (such as a "media genius") does that mean they're not necessarily a genius at everything else? (Rush Limbaugh certainly isn't a marriage genius.)

Neither was Einstein (a marriage genius). Do you doubt that Einstein was a genius?

Give the democrats kudos for being geniuses in duplicity and chicanery.

edutcher said...

t-man said...

If the Supreme Court announced that 2+2=5, of course I would write "2+2=5" in any brief to the Supreme Court.

That doesn't make 2+2=5, and I don't have to repeat the lie outside of dealings with the Supreme Court.


It would still have the weight of law.

Chip Ahoy said...

It seems all around but that's because I'm thick.

That hummingbird feeder can fit in your hand, easily, if your hand is used to things like basketballs. But the box it came in could have shipped a coffee table. I remarked. A girl nearby chirped, "oh you can never have too much packing material" and my attitude about the box switched like a light, and I thought of that girl, genius!

ricpic said...

You can never have too much packing material
If you want to avoid life's bruises,
Which is why Noah filled the Ark with bubble wrap
When the animals went in two by twoses.

cassandra lite said...

Ha! I think the closest you came to meaning it was Palin.

tim in vermont said...

It doesn't matter why the war started, what matters is that we win in November. Get over it and volunteer.

In the words of Tom Joad character, I guess it was, in The Grapes of Wrath, sort of, and read it in Henry Fonda's voice.

Wherever there is a Republican state legislator who is in a close race, and needs some people driven to the polls, I'll be there to help her.

Wherever there is a Republican Senate candidate that needs someone to contact voters, I'll be there.

Wherever Romney is in a battle in a swing state, I'll be there to talk to voters about what is at stake in this election.

tim in vermont said...

Hey, thanks Meade! I was proud of that comment. I really think there is more there than just snark. Not that there is anything wrong with snark ;)

caplight45 said...

MadisonMan said...
Applying man-like superlatives to Christ is jarring.
Is calling Him a genius an affront to God?
Feels like it since God is omniscient and the whole Trinity thing.

ADHD-Go Tim! As one who wears the ADHD label I could see that. The problem is how he could have gotten so far with a deficit in his ability to follow-through. Which just gives the conspiracy hounds more ammunition.
I just get the impression that Obama just doesn't have the drive or the work ethic.

As to genius, there is no all encompassing quality of genius. It depends on what you are measuring IMO.

Dave said...

Ann "never" called anyone a genius? Not even when she was looking in the mirror?

Meade said...

I can honestly report that if she has, I have never observed it, Dave.

I can, however, tell you that she once recited a poem about a very regretful Mrs. McCave. And her reading of it was spectacular.

As I'm sure you can imagine.

SMSgt Mac said...

Well then, obviously we've never met.