THE BLOG
10/30/2013 04:55 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Is Bill O'Reilly Just a Complete Imbecile? Or: the Sociology of Intelligence

What's ridiculous is when people define 'intelligence' based on where you went to college. "George W. Bush is intelligent because he went to Yale." (Logically, then, this reasoning should also work in reverse. "Yale is a dumb school because George W. Bush went there.")

You go to school to become smart, not the other way around. You don't win a gold medal for starting a marathon.

Not only do you begin college at just 18 years old, but your qualifications to get into college begin when you're a freshman in high school. Do you really believe intelligence should be based on your thought-process at the age of 14? One time when I was a freshman in high school, I fell asleep during a math quiz. It's comical for society to rate your intelligence based on an age where you spent most of class time thinking, "God I hope my erection goes away before the bell rings."

There are lots of smart people. But they're not in college. The students at Harvard have something in common with the students at Bumpwells Community College for Strippers- they're young. And young people aren't that smart. They're attractive and athletic and they don't have lower back pain. But they're not that smart. I'm much smarter now than when I was in my early twenties. I don't just mean that I'm wiser or that I have more knowledge. I mean I'm literally smarter; my brain functions differently than it once did. It's easier for me, now, to comprehend information and to process it. If I took the SAT test now, my score would be much higher. Coincidentally, if I took the SAT test now, I'd be less high.

Technically, 'intelligence' is based on IQ. I've never taken a real IQ test. I've taken IQ tests on-line, but that's not really official... especially since I'm usually alternating between taking the test and checking out the latest Britney Spears gossip on TMZ... which unfairly lowers my IQ.

For me, "smartness" is based on a combination of your aptitude to learn information, how much information you know, your capacity to process that information, and how good you look in a bathing suit. (Thomas Jefferson, for example, achieved high scores in all four categories)

Sarah Palin attended, but did not graduate from, among other schools, Hawaii Pacific University, North Idaho College, and Matanuska-Susitna College. And I don't judge her intelligence based on the indecisions of her youth. Rather, she's not smart because she doesn't know anything. (note: But let's be honest; we all know Matanuska-Susitna is just a party school, anyway.)

People who don't test well defend themselves by saying they're "street smart." I'm not sure what that means. If they take the SAT exam in the middle of the street, I suspect their score would still be pretty low. Millions of Americans get through each day without getting financially scammed or falling into an open sewer. If that qualifies as "street smart," then we're setting the bar pretty low. I mean, tomorrow I'm flying to Nigeria to pick up my seven-million-dollar check, as payment for helping a wealthy businessman transfer his money out of the country, but I have the street smarts enough to know to bring sunscreen.

When people talk about street smarts, I think they really mean "survival" smarts, as in their ability to survive. But whether or not you can survive on your own, this ability is generally still dependent on the technology and equipment and know-how given to us by others. I have the intellectual ability to write an essay and the street smarts to draw a map... but I still have no idea how they make the pencil I need to do these things. I wouldn't even know where to start. What- do you, like, whittle the wood first and then glue in the graphite part?

Last September, Will Smith's 15-year-old son Jaden tweeted his anti-education views about 'intelligence.' He wrote, "If Newborn Babies Could Speak They Would Be The Most Intelligent Beings on Planet Earth." Yeah, that's probably not true. If babies could speak, they'd probably just say "goo goo" and "ga ga" a lot. Either that or they'd say, "After Earth sucked."

That precocious Jaden also wrote, "If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society... Everybody Get Off Your Phones And Go Do What You Actually Wanna Do."

1. With the exception of Stephen Hawking, all of Jaden's Twitter followers are teenage fans. Hence, "get off your phones and... do what you actually wanna do" is an oxymoron. The only thing teenagers want to do is to be on their phones.

2. You'll find a direct correlation between societies without schooling and societies without working toilets. So I'm not sure about the "if everybody dropped out of school" thing. I bet Jaden likes his indoor plumbing.

3. Yes, Jaden is a moron. But give the kid a break. He's young. He'll grow out of it. It's not fair to judge someone's intelligence based on what they say and think when they're not even old enough to drive. One day, Jaden will be an adult. And he'll be much smarter. One time, when I was 15, I licked a battery to see what would happen. I was once a moron, too. Who am I to judge?

4. The media covered Jaden's comments as a serious "thing." Television pundits were actually analyzing his tweets as if they were newsworthy. A teenager tweets silly opinions. And this is "news." We don't live in a smart society. On The View, the women discussed the merits of Jaden's comments. I mean, they were actually pontificating not just on the fact that he wrote what he wrote, but on what he wrote. As I've said many times -- if the ladies on The View could speak, they would be the most intelligent beings on Planet Neptune.

Here's more about intelligence...

When you're attracted to someone because of their good looks, society says it's shallow and superficial. When you're attracted to someone because of their intelligence, society says that's "deep." But why is "intelligence" a more profound trait than physical beauty? Osama bin Laden was smart and ugly. I'd rather spend the evening with Carmen Electra.

Personally, I'd argue that "physical appearance" and "intelligence" both pale in comparison to simply being a nice person.

People don't always claim to be smart... but they always claim to be smarter than the people who disagree with them. Some of the most intelligent people are called "idiots" by those with differing opinions. If every person who was ever called an "idiot" by someone else actually was an idiot, we'd be a nation of idiots. But we're not a nation of idiots. We might not be a smart society overall, but there are very intelligent individuals here and there. We are a nation of porn addicts, though.

Okay. But about Bill O'Reilly...

A study from Fairleigh Dickinson University found that Fox News viewers were less informed than people who don't watch any news at all... which would mean that Fox News is actually making people dumber.

The O'Reilly Factor is the Fox News flagship. I watch the show sometimes. I find it both entertaining and frustrating. I'm probably a little dumber, although that might also be from watching the Transformers movies. I also know people who watch Bill O'Reilly religiously and without irony. These people are not geniuses.

But is Bill O'Reilly himself an imbecile?

O'Reilly spends 59 minutes each night offering his biased, hypocritical opinions, which he calls the "No-Spin Zone." Then he spends the final minute of the show shilling his merchandise. I call that time the "Go-Spend Zone."

Bill O'Reilly was once a high school teacher, a job for which I have much admiration. He writes books with substance. He's a good debater. He has a point-of-view. He has a general knowledge of current events. As an on-air broadcaster, he has a talent for what he does; he's articulate, quick, and likeable. These are smart traits.

On the other hand, he is convinced that there is a "war" on Christmas. And even though the vast majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, O'Reilly is convinced that department stores are replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" as part of a liberal conspiracy to take down Christianity. Apparently, the pious are upset that we're taking the "Christ" out of Walmart's sale on hair dryers. This is not smart.

There is a website, www.oreilly-sucks.com, which monitors all of O'Reilly's stupid -- and hypocritical and partisan and sometimes ignorant -- views. There is a lot of stupidity there. I think the "sucks" part is a bit harsh, though.

Bill O'Reilly's thought-process exists within a world of his own delusional, self-constructed, self-involved reality of information. And within that world, he is very intelligent. He has the mental aptitude to learn his ridiculous information, he knows his ludicrous information, and he processes his misguided information constructively. It's an impressive combination.

I'll leave it up to you do decide if that makes him an imbecile.

But Sean Hannity is just a complete goofball.