How about "I don't know" instead of "I personally believe"

by Volker Weber


ARGH! Pet peeve. Along with “at the end of the day” or “that’s quite unique”.

In the UK, the police are very good at this: whenever a senior police officer appears on the telly, s/he will always use 30 words where 6 would do. Of course, one could argue that those individuals aren’t quite as vacuous as the one in the link above ;)

Ben Poole, 2007-08-26

The reason is simple. Some people cannot stand the silence while they are thinking. So they just start talking.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-26

They should have asked Ms. South Carolina if she could find the USA on a map! Her answer made no sense.

Ken Porter, 2007-08-27

7300 comments on YouTube? Wow, how many times do people have to write lol before it gets old?

Oh, almost forgot: lol!

Rob McDonagh, 2007-08-27

She's the State champion? I wonder what the losers personally believe.

There was a poll done recently that said that only 1 in 4 Americans read a book last year. I wonder if they've finished colouring them yet.

Shari Segal, 2007-08-27

Um, Shari, you read the poll upside down (or you believed what somebody else said about it, which is much more likely - it's been misreported a few times). It said that 25% of Americans *didn't* read a book last year. Still not exactly impressive. But we aren't quite *that* bad.

I was more upset that the average number of books read was only 7. How do you go a whole year and read 7 books? Heck, Duffbert reads that many on a long plane flight!

Rob McDonagh, 2007-08-27

Doctor says: Duffbert should chew before he swallows. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2007-08-27

What Duffbert *should* do and what Duffbert actually *does* are often two different things. :)

Thomas "Duffbert" Duff, 2007-08-27

Rob, I admit I probably fall into that 7 or less books in a year. Unless you count computer manuals, lots of blogs and news sites.

Carl Tyler, 2007-08-27

Ever since I started studying at the university, I hardly read "books" anymore either - unless they are professionally related. My reading mostly consists of scientific journals, blogs, and good newspapers. Seven or less books in a year? Yeah, that's me.

Philipp Sury, 2007-08-27

Carl & Philipp: Reading books on different topics helps you see things from a different perspective. Have you ever been to a library without directly turning to the computer section? Detours are well worth the effort. :)

Thilo Hamberger, 2007-08-27

I got the impression that in the tube you see more Americans reading books or journals then you see in Germany.

And may be they have less of those small bookshops than we have in Europe but every shopping center has it's Barn's and Noble's and the offering there is quite outstanding.

Tim Toron, 2007-08-27

For the record, I only live in South Carolina. :-p That was one of the most nonsensical things I've ever heard anyone babble.

@Rob - I get all the news I need from the weather report.

Charles Robinson, 2007-08-27

In the US, most "voracious readers" of books, Duffbert excepted I'm sure, mostly read crap. I would not be surprised if there is a positive correlation between inability to find the US on a map and the number of books read -- for certain types of extremely popular books.

I read very few books, and I am not ashamed to say so. I have averaged barely more than one a year since college -- if you exclude computer-related books, and also if you exclude the many, many books that I own but only "browse" rather than actually read cover-to-cover.

I still read quite a lot -- probably far more than most people (but definitely not Duffbert). I just don't read full books.

Like Phillip, I read magazines, journals, newspapers, webzines, blogs, and I read portions of books. And I'm absolutely sure that I gain more access to relevant information, and that I have just as great (if not greater, sometimes) ability to "see things from a different perspective" than most people who choose to read lots of books.

Richard Schwartz, 2007-08-27

Maybe I should clarify something. When I wondered how someone could read only 7 books a year, I didn't mean they are all idiots for not reading more. I meant that I am *surprised* they don't read more often. I love reading, and so does everyone in my family and my close circle of friends. I'm always surprised to meet someone who doesn't.

To Richard's point, though, very little of my reading has significant literary merit. That's deliberate. I read to relax. The idea that a frequent reader would be more or less likely to be good at geography is questionable, though. I suspect you'd find a much better correlation based on IQ, and an even better one based on frequency and range of travel.

The real reason Americans are so bad at geography is that the subject is mostly ignored in our school system. Although, in her case, I'm not sure it would have helped...

Rob McDonagh, 2007-08-27

"... because some people out there in our nation don't have maps"

Julian Woodward, 2007-08-27

Rob, I stand corrected. To be perfectly frank, of the 7 or so books I read last year, most were Harry Potter.

Shari Segal, 2007-08-27

Thilo - Yes I have been to the library plenty of times, I totally understand the Dewey decimal system, I know what a library card is. I have never even used a computer in a library or used their video rental.

My favourite section in the library is the reference section, I use the library as a resource, I go in find what I need. I can spend hours reading old Scientific Americas or old news papers in there.

Yes I know where the USA is on a map and many other places.

Carl Tyler, 2007-08-27

Do I have to state the obvious? All you smartasses would not stand a chance to win the pageant. :-)

Volker Weber, 2007-08-27

LOL. Volker is right. I read about 50-75 books a year, of all sorts, but I have never had a chance in a beauty pageant.

Ben Langhinrichs, 2007-08-27

I went through a period of reading technical manuals for several years - and deliberately made an effort to read fiction/novels. Things could get a little dull otherwise.

john wylie, 2007-08-27

I was going to comment that these women are teenagers, and they aren't chosen primarily for their intellect. I don't mean that in a misogynistic way, there are some very bright women who participate in pageants (Vanessa Williams comes to mind). Overall, though, everyone needs to remember it is a beauty pageant and not a debate among Nobel laureates. :-)

Charles Robinson, 2007-08-27

@Charles - Have you noticed that some political bloggers (John Cole, for one) have nominated her to replace outgoing (finally) Attorney General Gonzales? Now that's comedy. But it's *mean* comedy. Like the poor kid doesn't have enough trouble, now she's being compared to a man who may be remembered as one of the worst Attorneys General in US history...

Cole, to his credit, did point out that it was a really stupid question to ask at a beauty pageant, and said that "I don't know" is how he'd have answered.

Rob McDonagh, 2007-08-27

Hey folks, this is not about how many books one reads, or knowledge about geography, or anything alike. It's about common sense and general knowledge.

This bimbo truly has never had any education about thinking for herself, but only abut regurgitating killer/buzz phrases that are hip nowadays. "I personally believe" sounds more like religious indoctrination than anything else.

To her credit, she didn't fall into this "yanno, I feel like there should be, like more personal engagement of people, like yanno to take care of things like that, yanno... " ::add mindless drivel that makes no sense either::. :)

And that is a great improvement to what we are used to hear from beauty contest pageants, IMO.

Patrick Montavon, 2007-08-28

I personally cannot believe how much ridicule this girl has had to endure all over the net. Does a single, albeit disastrously botched answer in a beauty contest really justify all the contempt? Stage fright, inexperience and a really stupid question do not have to be taken into account?

Yes, the video was funny. No, she does not deserve many of the more personal attacks against her.

Volker Goeke, 2007-08-28

Volker G is right. She does not deserve ridicule. She has learnt from President Bush how to answer questions and could go on to become the frst female ruler of the free world :-)

Carl Tyler, 2007-08-28

A really stupid question? Come on. This question is a very easy one to answer:

Because they are stupid.

You can attach blame, if you like:

Because they never even cared to know.

Or, attach blame to others:

Because nobody told them.

And as stated in the headline, you can always say:

I don't know.

If you are a high-ranking official, you can also say:

I don't recall that.

Carl, this qualification seems to be universal. We have a person leading Bavaria for quite some time now who would also qualify. A few years ago he also ran for Chancellor. Luckily he did not win, otherwise our troops might be in Iraq as well.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-28

She appeared on a live talk show broadcast this morning, and she did much better. The clip is posted here:

Richard Schwartz, 2007-08-28

Sorry, you'll have to understand German for this, but may be read the last paragraph of this comment in Der Spiegel:

Schön, blond, blöd: Alles nur ein großes Miss-Verständnis

Armin Grewe, 2007-08-29

A great saying :

War is God's way of teaching Americans Geography.
--Ambrose Bierce

It was true then, and even truer now.

Bryan McDade, 2007-08-29

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