Monty Python Alum John Cleese uses science to explain Fox News.
Actor, comedian, and screenwriter John Cleese explained why Fox News viewers are unable to grasp the simple truth – that they are stupid.
Cleese was responding to comments left on clips on the official Monty Python YouTube channel.
When the following comments in the image above were presented, Cleese responded:
“The problem with people like this is that they are so stupid,” explained Cleese, “they have no idea how stupid they are.”
“You see, if you’re very very stupid, how can you possibly realize that you’re very very stupid?” he continued. “You’d have to be relatively intelligent to understand how stupid you are.”
“There’s a wonderful bit of research by a guy named David Dunning, a friend at Cornell I’m proud to say, who’s pointed out that in order to know how good you are at something requires exactly the same skills as it does to be good at that thing in the first place,” Cleese continued, “which means – and this is terribly funny – that if you are absolutely no good at something at all, then you lack exactly the skills you need to know that you are absolutely no good at it.”
Continuing, he connected that concept to Fox News.
“And this explains not just Hollywood, but almost the entirety of Fox News.”
AlleyDog.com, a website catering to psychology students, defines the Dunning-Kruger Effect as follows:
This is a cognitive bias in which incompetent people tend to think they are more competent than they actually are in a situation. It is theorized that this occurs because without much knowledge about a situation or a subject it is difficult to adequately self-analyze competency therefore leading the individual to think they are more competent than they actually are.
The opposite of this is imposter syndrome which is when very competent individuals tend to think they are less competent than others. Common examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect are politicians and celebrities who make bold incorrect claims about scientific matters without fully understanding the subject, like climate change or vaccinations. As Charles Darwin once said “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
PsychologyConcepts.com elaborated, offering the following analogy by Shakespeare, followed by some bullet points detailing the concept.
The first identification of this type of cognitive bias is unknown, but the idea has been known and expressed for a long time. Shakespeare, in “As You Like It,” states “the fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
As per the Dunning-Kruger Effect, incompetent people:
- Overestimate their personal skill level.
- Fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
- Fail to recognize the extent of their incompetence.
- Are able to acknowledge their own lack of skill, if exposed to training in the skill tested.
You can watch Cleese in action, below: