Almost everything we know was told to us by someone else. If you don't know this simple truth, then you are ignorant. Now don't get your bunions all in a bunch. I don't mean ignorant as in stupid. I mean it in its non-derogatory sense, which is that you simply did not know something. And because nobody knows everything, we are all, by definition, “ignorant.” I see this as a fatal problem with the word. I got to thinking about this when, on a slow Tuesday afternoon drinking beer and yapping with the bartender— let's call him Sir Mix-a-Lot (of-Drinks)—he used the I-word on me. And the reason was because I didn't know the meaning of “ineffable.”
Of course, I have heard that word before. But it occurred to me, when he said it, that I didn't know what it meant. So I asked Sir Mix-o-Logist and he reacted as if I had asked what goes in a gin and tonic.
“You don't know what it means?” he blubbered. “The writer? The journalist? The guy who makes his living with words doesn't even know the meaning of ‘ineffable'?” “Now hold on a second!” I replied. “Just because I'm a writer doesn't mean I should know every word in the language, just as bartenders do not know every drink recipe. I mean, do you know how to make a Purple Alaskan Thunderfuck? No? Well I do.”
Admittedly, the reason I know how to make a Purple Alaskan Thunderfuck is because, while Sir Snob-a-Lot was ranting about my ignorance, I Googled “obscure cocktails” to underscore his.
Everything we know, we know because someone told us.
Whether by our peers, teachers, preachers, books, TV or Google—there's very little information we have formulated on our own. What this means is, for the most part, what we know is nothing to be proud of. I mean, sure, many folk seek knowledge, and to Stir-and-Mix-a-Lot's credit, he does study his thesaurus. However he forgets that other people study other things.
And that's what's irritating. People like Mixxy—Knowledge Snobs let's call them—act all high-and-mighty about all the crap they know, as if what they know should be known by everyone and anyone who doesn't know what they know must be an idiot. Conversely, all the knowledge the Knowledge Snobs don't know that other people do know is—stay with me now—considered to be less important knowledge than the knowledge that is known by the Knowledge Snobs. The Mother and I often argue about people who have bad grammar and/or writing skills. She's a retired English teacher and often associates it with intelligence. I do not. Sure, I know how to spel good, and how to use: punctuation correctly, and how important, crucial, essential—nay imperative—it is to avoid redundancies, and naturally I do whatever possible—even if it means hacking out entire passages of this manuscript with a machete—to avoid run on sentences. But, Mom, just because the auto mechanic down the street uses the word “irregardless” doesn't make him stupid. Dude knows how to rebuild an engine while you are still trying to figure out how to work the trip odometer.
Neither of them is stupid. They both just know some things and don't know other things. This is why I am proposing a tweak in the dictionary. I want to defang the meaning of “ignorant” so that it only means “not knowing” in the benign sense, such as, Mary was ignorant of the fact that her cleavage was causing car accidents. Then I want to add ignant, which is currently not in the dictionary, to be officially defined as someone who is, you know, hopelessly, utterly—ineffably—ignant. What's that you say? Never use the word to be defined within the definition? Fine. How's this then? “Ignant: [ig-nant] Adjective. Someone who displays high levels of fatuousness—a buffoon, a twit, a nincompoop, ignoramus, muttonhead, brick-brain—a dumbshit, assfaced, turd clown; a dog breathed, worm-brained, half-boob—a dumbass is what we're saying; a person who remains ignorant even after learning the contradicting facts.” That's the difference right there! Ignorant is not knowing because you haven't been told yet. Ignant is continuing to not know even after you've been told.
For example, ignant means still believing the Earth is only 6,000 years old after reading about the fossilized skeletal remains of Lucy, a 3 million-year-old hominin.
Ignant is pinching your secretary's ass and calling her “hot cakes” even after you sat through five hours of Harassment Prevention training. Ignant is continuing to deny climate change even after learning that the Earth's surface temperatures are increasing, sea levels are rising and Eskimos no longer live in igloos; they live in puddle-gloos.
Ignant is spouting that “Merika is the best country in the world,” even after learning how poorly Merika ranks in education, income equality, unemployment, life expectancy and the number of game shows on which people eat bugs for money.
Ignant is having an affair with a married person then being surprised when he or she cheats on you as well.
Ignant is believing in white supremacy even though you know Sarah Palin is Caucasian.
And ignant is believing that President Barrack Hussein Obama is a Muslim, terrorist, anti-Semitic, despotic, gay, racist, communist puppet of George Soros who is trying to destroy America from within when everybody knows that Obama is an ineffable Muslim, terrorist, anti-Semitic, despotic, gay, racist, communist puppet of George Soros who is trying to destroy America from within—dumbass!