ZYTARUK: Stupid and smart come seldom apart

I’m thinking about that fluid condition we call intelligence. Fluid, I say, because sometimes smart people do stupid things

Exploring the mysteries of police and media...

So let it be written…

I’m thinking about that fluid condition we call intelligence. Fluid, I say, because sometimes smart people do stupid things, like invent nuclear weapons.

I’m almost certain stupid people sometimes do smart things, although I can’t think of any examples at the moment.

We Canadians tend to think, smugly so, that we’re much smarter than our neighbours south of the border. That’s probably why, when the popular television trivia game show “Jeopardy!” recently barred Canadian contestants from playing, that so many of us jumped to the conclusion that this was done in envious, grudging obeisance to our much bigger northern brains.

Alas, not so. It’s not our smarts that was our undoing, but rather our stupid government bureaucratic red tape. Something to do with Canada’s online privacy act and anti-spam legislation blocking Canadians from taking an online entry test consisting of 50 questions, in order to qualify for the show.


So the U.S. contestants can relax.

The host of “Jeopardy!” Alex Trebek, a Canadian, must be rolling his eyes.

American contestants, considering their general lack of prowess in geographical matters, would probably have a hard time with a category like Smart Cities while most Canadians would no doubt be able to slam-dunk it.

“I’ll take Smart Cities for $1,000, Alex.”

The answer: “A city much smarter than Vancouver.”

“What is Surrey, Alex.”

“That’s it!”

Despite frequently being mocked by self-satisfied Vancouverites, Surrey has for the second consecutive year been named one of the world’s top seven intelligent communities by the Intelligent Community Forum, a think-tank based out of New York.

Hsinchu County, Taiwan, New Tapei City, Taiwan, Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany, Whanganui, New Zealand, as well as fellow Canadian cities Winnipeg and Montreal, also made the list for 2016.

According to the judges, intelligent communities make best use of broadband technology, are innovative, have a knowledgeable workforce, work to improve living standards and embrace change to the benefit of their residents.

Vancouver did not make the cut — heh heh.

Don’t get me wrong, It’s not my intention to pick on Vancouver here. I’m just saying what’s what. Same goes for geography-challenged Americans. Doubters may consider Miss South Carolina’s breathtaking response to a question that was posed to her during the Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant.

The question: “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?”

Her answer: “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our children.”


Now, I’m an optimist, so I’m kinda hoping she was just nervous.


“I’ll take ‘What the heck?’ for $1,000, Alex.”

The answer: “A faint hope.”

“What does Zytaruk have, Alex.”

“That’s it!”

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now. Email him at tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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