1. theorangutanlibrarian
    February 22 @ 6:38 am

    This is a really interesting post! I definitely agree with you that it is lazy thinking just to condemn something you don’t know anything about- or something you don’t understand. That said, I think there are other forms of lazy thinkers- people that go away and read things but do not actually absorb them or think about them critically. You mention the Straw Man fallacy, and that is an excellent example, but more often than not, I find lazy thinkers tend to use the appeal to authority fallacy. So often people just cite things they’ve read- like you said- and fail to actually think about what it means or analyse the “facts” they’ve been given- which is very similar to what you said about the Kardashians. A lot of what you said about being negative can, unfortunately, be applied to people being too accepting or too willing to be positive about something, without actually examining it’s merit. Like your example with Twilight- I’ve heard people argue that it’s good because it was popular- which is not a good reason to say something is objectively good- because popularity does not denote literary merit- so this is one of the *laziest* reasons to praise a book. Like you said, it’s fine to like whatever you want, (and people can like Twilight for the simple reason of it making them feel a certain way) but people are required to actually think about their reasons for something- and not just resort to a lazy excuses. (that’s not actually a particularly good example- I’m just trying to not get too political here!) Sorry for rambling on- this is just a really thought provoking piece!


    • Jessica Manuel
      February 22 @ 6:49 am

      I don’t think you’re getting too political. The examples I brought in are easy targets for critical thinkers because there are good reasons to be critical about these, BUT -and the big but that fuels this post- is that I find people are getting lazy and have no idea why they are critiquing these things. They think they know, but they haven’t thought about any of it for themselves, haven’t read the words or done the hard work for themselves. The same goes for blindly praising things like you say, but in my circles, this is less frequent. And I totally agree that people are lazy in all kinds of ways. Maybe this should be a series? 🙂


      • theorangutanlibrarian
        February 22 @ 6:58 am

        Good- I avoided all political examples for a reason :p That’s exactly the way I feel- people just say X is good, or Y is bad- without ever thinking of WHY. I also think that it’s not enough to just read things and parrot opinions. You mentioned Freud- well I’ve met enough people that read that then find Freudian analyses everywhere- but the second they get told by someone else in authority (like a professor) that it’s outdated they roll their eyes and dismiss any Freudian arguments. That’s what I meant by people being too ready to appeal to authority. It’s not enough just to read something- if you’re not going to process any of it, then it’s a complete waste of time. It’s not critical thinking to just parrot other people’s ideas without actually coming to certain conclusions yourself. I think with regards to blindly praising things, I think my examples would be far too political- as I said Twilight was not a good example :/ It definitely should! It was a really good post!


  2. ASBIV
    February 22 @ 7:00 am

    Well articulated; I share your frustration and appreciate your thoughtful response to intellectual laziness.


  3. Peter Kenny
    February 22 @ 8:26 am

    Wow. You had a fire in your belly when you wrote that! An excellent post. I agree with you, but with a caveat. If you are a creative person, you can’t wait till you’ve read everything before you give yourself permission to start doing your work. When John Keats systematically started to read Shakespeare, you could see his own poetry improving as he did so. I don’t think he should have waited to become a writer till he had read all of Shakespeare, however.

    But I totally feel your pain. I have had a fair amount of poetry published over the years, and it makes my heart sink when people, who have never read a poem in their life, want to inflict their poems on you.


    • Jessica Manuel
      February 22 @ 5:51 pm

      I have not fully formed this thought yet, but I suspect creatives have a different posture when it comes to culture. Creatives aren’t critical for the sake of being critical. I have written a lot about how Murakami, a creative, contributes to psychoanalytic conversations and essentially writes theory. I am curious, though, about what you mean when you say people inflict their poems on you.

      And yes, there was a fire in my belly when I wrote that. I had to write it, but I almost didn’t publish it!


  4. Kima
    February 24 @ 7:49 am

    Thank you for visiting my fledgling blog. I taught high school English for ten years and left the classroom eight months ago. Keep thinking, writing, and – above all – reading. You’re doing good work here.


    • Jessica Manuel
      February 25 @ 1:12 pm

      Thank you! Why did you leave if you don’t mind me asking?


      • Kima
        February 25 @ 5:26 pm

        Burnout is my short answer. The long answer requires at least two bottles of wine! And, at some point in the conversation, I would include the topic of lazy thinkers that you’ve addressed here. I have been witness to amazing students, but those just looking to pass and move on far outweighed them. I miss the academic environment and I may return in some capacity, but high school teaching and I have permanently parted ways. These days I do a little technical editing. It pays fine and I don’t work weekends. Or evenings. Or vacations. You get the idea. Enjoy reading your blog. Mine is still very much searching for itself, but I’ll get there. ?


  5. Aby
    March 2 @ 11:23 pm

    This is blunt and right on, sad but very true. Thanks for writing about the criticality of groundwork and critical thinking.


  6. HaleyTheAuthor
    March 4 @ 10:33 am

    Oh my gosh, thank you for this… I have been saying this until I’ve been blue in the face. Meme’s with inaccurate quotes and misrepresented facts are the worst! Great post here!


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