03 September 2016

Have you ever said anything monumentally stupid in public?

Sometimes I truly despair about the educational standards in our schools. Not regarding obscure PhD theses on particle physics; rather I mean ordinary primary school, high school and undergraduate education.

Years ago I ran a competition for the Most Stupid Comment Ever Made On IRC (internet relay chatting channels). People from all over the world cut and pasted their entries, and emailed them to me in Melbourne. I gave dozens of these comments to a group of three reasonably bright colleagues at my campus, academics who had never heard of IRC. And here are the proud award winners!!!

Olympic Games, Melbourne 
19563,314 athletes in 17 sports
Plus 158 equestrian athletes from 29 countries whose events were held in Stockholm 

because of Australia's quarantine laws

10th place getter: Islam is the only ancient religion. Christianity came thousands of years later and Judaism is a newly arrived religion (American woman).

9th place getter: "I don't believe Australia was ever at war against Vietnam and certainly not during the 1962-72 era. Nor were 3,000 Australian soldiers dead or wounded. I am Australian and I have never heard of the Vietnam War" (Australian woman).

8th place getter: “I don't like Celsius, it's a very crude scale; Fahrenheit is more precise” (American woman)

7th place getter: “The Nazis were true socialists. Their party was the Nationalist Socialist Party.. that proves it” (American man)

6th place getter: “Papua New Guinea is nowhere near Australia! How stupid Australians are." (German man).

5th place getter: "Melbourne never had the 1956 Olympic Games. Sydney's 2000 Games were the first time the Olympics had been in the Southern Hemisphere" (Australian man).

4th place getter: "I hope Western Australia is no more than 2 hours flight from Seattle. I am going to visit friends in Perth and I never travel more than 2 hours in a plane" (American woman)

Australia, Papua New Guinea and West Papua 
seem to have once been part of the same land mass.

And now the true champions............... drum roll!

Bronze medal:  "I am going to exercise my thighs throughout pregnancy, so there won't be any pain in labour" (Swedish woman)

Silver medal:
A man asked the question: "Which was the worst natural disaster in the world in the 20th century?"
One member of the channel gave a possible answer "China's earth quake of 1975 when 30,000 people died".
The original discussant disagreed, saying the Alaskan earthquake was the worst in the world, because China was not in the USA (American man)

Gold medalist and All Time Champion Stupid Comment: "The Bible was originally written in English because English was the language that Jesus spoke with Mary and Joseph (American woman).


Have you seen monumentally stupid lines in IRC or in the bloggy world,  although please exclude social media since they are always filled with errors in spelling, grammar and facts. We can always add more prize winners!


Andrew said...

I can see where number 8 is coming from but could she tell the difference between 60F and 64F?

What is the saying? People may think you are a fool but why confirm it by opening your mouth.

Anonymous said...

The reason most early Americans lived in or near New York was because Christopher Columbus discovered the area and explored it thoroughly (high school student).

No! Christopher Columbus never even sailed as far north as Florida. The furthest north he got was Cuba and the Bahamas.

High school teacher

Parnassus said...

Hello Hels, What makes these comments so appalling is not simply that the originator is misinformed. Rather it is their insistence upon correctness combined with the underlying attitude that nothing is important that is not part of their little world.

We all have lots of holes in our educations--nothing embarrassing there; the key is to take advantage of learning opportunities when new information comes our way.

Be that as it may, thanks for the laugh!

Hels said...


many people make spelling, grammatical or factual mistakes on line, either because they are typing too fast and don't have time to check, or because we are raising a new generation of poor writers. But even then, people understand hurried typos.

What I don't understand, and forgive less readily, are incorrect statements that come out of stubborn ignorance.
eg1 "When David Cameron was no longer PM of the UK, I was very upset. We lost a great leader". Compare this to
eg2 "When David Cameron got voted out of the PM's position, it was an illegal bloodless coup that ended democracy in the UK".

Hels said...

High school teacher

If you said "Christopher Columbus never even sailed as far north as Florida" on any of his trips, and the student still wanted to look it up, I would encourage his further reading. If the student went into a typical teenage hissy fit about moronic teachers, I would be tempted to set him an extra essay to read over night.

No one minds differences of opinions or errors; but they better be offered up with politeness.

Hels said...


you got it right - it is 1] their insistence upon correctness combined with 2] the underlying attitude that nothing is important that is not part of their little world.

There was a debate on-line about the best eateries, based on the findings published by "The World's Best Restaurants". Whether we agree with the findings or not, 6 of the top 30 were in Spain. One woman said the Spanish judges must have cheated because everyone knows their food is rubbish. And no, she had never been to Spain in her life!

You have to laugh... sigh

bazza said...

You wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry at some of these comments. When I first went to the US many years ago, I was amazed at their apparent ignorance. "You're from England? Where is that - in France?". Honestly!
However, I did come to realise that they live in such a large country and often information from the 'outside' world just doesn't get through. It's a myth that they have a very low percentage of passport holders but they don't travel out of country as much as other nations.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

PBScott said...

Geeze there are some pretty silly things said from time to time by people. I have a friend who is most of the time very intelligent that thinks and says things every now and then are so dumb, he seems he is joking, but upon further questioning he is not...I guess some parts of his mind must be all mushy and not working so well.

Hels said...


I don't mind people making mistakes in the first place; it can easily happen. But repeating the mistake over and over, when everyone is telling him he is speaking b.s., that is very irritating.

I got into an argument about Red Cross which I KNOW was started in Geneva in the 1860s. Some dipstick decided he was going to fight the issue, saying Red Cross was invented in the Americas during the first world war. I wouldn't have minded had he said "expanded", but I was not impressed with the word "invented".

Hels said...


Without using the dreaded word "dementia", I do think think that otherwise intelligent people start to forget bits and pieces as part of the normal ageing process.

But it can be so humiliating :( I was giving a lecture on The Bauhaus, a Weimar institution I know very well, and totally forgot the name of the architect-founder. At least I am aware enough to ask the students in question form, rather than making a dill of myself.

Mandy Southgate said...

I think the silver medalist takes the cake actually. That one is awful! The worst I heard was in the early days of Livejournal c.2001: "Don't you hate it when you ask somebody to be Pacific and they don't know what you're talking about?"

Hels said...


Pacific? hehe

The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honouring those who accidentally remove themselves from it. Perhaps we can start a Darwin Award for those who ever said anything monumentally stupid in public.