Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I have an extremely liberal friend who adamantly despises George W. Bush. The only problem is, he doesn't actually know much about politics. He'll go on and on about it, but it becomes clear rather quickly that he doesn't know enough to have a solid foundation for his vitriol.

Which makes me wonder, what's worse? Having an opinion about something you don't know shit about or having no opinion at all?

By the way, where the hell does the term "peanut gallery" come from?



Anonymous erin said...

In my opinion, it's worse to have none at all. If you just don't care, then you're boring. If you have a largely unsubstantiated and un-researched opinion, at least it's amusing for everyone else.

I think "peanut gallery" came from Shakespeare's day, according to my high school Lit. teacher. The peanut gallery was where the unwashed masses would sit, heckling the actors, right under the stage, on the ground. The peanut gallery masses were stereotypically uneduated, thus, their opinion of the play was largely unimportant, unless you didn't want rotten fruit thrown at you.

That's the most uses of the word "opinion" in one comment that I've ever gotten, I think.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Erin, I guess you're quite true to your comments.... better to have any opinion than an informed one.

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-pea1.htm and wikipedia agree that it dates back about 100 years in American theaters, but the "modern" usage comes from the Howdy Doody in the 50's. The audience members with the cheapest Shakespeare tickets in his time were called groundlings or pennystinkers. Their opinion of the play WAS important, because there were many of them, and Shakespeare included (genuinely funny) physical comedy and innuendo which didn't require understanding of the plot, specifically to please them.

So - IMO, I think it's better to care than not care, to know the limitations of one's own knowledge, and to be well informed, in that order. Lack of information is no sin, one just has to be open to new information. Ignorance of one's own limitations is arrogance. Is apathy bad? I don't care about football. I wouldn't expect you to care about my hobbies. But for some issues, we have to realize that we're social animals. We don't live in caves, hunting and gathering, because we cooperate and trust. People who don't care enough to participate will probably lose out.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous -L said...

That's the problem though. He's blindly committed to his opinion. Even as a hardcore liberal, I can see where some conservative ideals are true and I'm open to hearing the argument for conservative thought. My friend, on the other hand, just says, "whatever whatever" and waves any other opinions away despite being grossly misinformed.

I should have clarified that I meant the two extremes. Complete apathy vs. dogged commitment

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Peanut Gallery" is what Cowboy Bob called the group of kids sitting in bleachers to be an on camera audience on the 1950's tv Howdy Doody Show.

1:23 PM  

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