For a generation or more, Chris Matthews of MSNBC has been regaling his few fans with his declarations of intelligence or stupidity whenever a guest or a pundit comments on a particular issue. Luckily for Chrissie, if someone agrees with his opinions, they are smart. If they have the misfortune to disagree with his opinions, then, he makes it clear that they are stupid. Well, last night, we learned into which of the above categories Matthews belongs. He appeared on one of those special edition shows that Jeopardy provides, this week, the theme of the shows is ‘Power Players’. His fellow game-players were Robert Gibbs, who used to be Obama’s Press Secretary, and Lizzie O’Leary of CNN.
Let me just make this clear. It isn’t the point that Chrissie doesn’t know some arcane factoids that happened to pop up on the program. That’s a test of intelligence that I assume few of us would want to take. Instead, he made a point of projecting the same aura of arrogance that he exposes to viewers nightly on his MSNBC program. Consider the following sequence:
A question on the show was: “Full name of the U2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960.”
Matthews: “Who is Gary Powers?”
Trebek: “We need the full name.”
Matthews (again): “Who is Gary Powers?”
Yeah, that’s right. Chris assumed that his answer was correct and that the judge was wrong; so he had no need to adjust his response. Like I said, it isn’t important that he knew that the guy’s first name was Francis. But when anyone automatically figures that the other person must be wrong and that there is no need to update your own beliefs, then, that person is stupid.
Don’t get me wrong. Chris gave a number of silly answers as well. In the category ‘6-Letter World Capitals’, his answer was ‘What is Istanbul?’ In the category, ‘Law and Order’, the question was ‘A USDC is one of these, charged with the jurisdiction of a specific region.’ His answer was ‘What is a US attorney?’
I’d probably be less likely to mock Matthews’ responses if he were less judgmental himself on who has intelligence and who lacks it. He famously has repeatedly criticized Sarah Palin for ‘looking like an imbecile’ or ‘does she know anything?’ or ‘do you think cute will beat brains?’
I confess that I rarely watch Hardball anymore; it’s just too tiresome to hear his endless monologues and his lack of comity with guests who don’t have his seal of approval. See the video of his appearance below: