Friday, November 07, 2008

When IQ Stands For “Idiotic Questions”

For as along as I can remember I’ve been a know-it-all. I’ve always liked knowing things. Facts, figures, nuggets of information - there always seemed to be something comforting about certainty, about the reliability and solidity of the truth.

I am aware that upon hearing talk of “truth” and “facts” the undergraduate-90s-me would immediately baulk, and claim ultimately a “fact” is something someone has subjectively deemed factual, and that in reality, truth is fluid and borne out of individual perspective.

Oh shut up. Bollocks to undegraduate-90s-me, frankly. Get back to your terraced house with the hilariously ironic posters and play Resident Evil instead of writing your essay.

I think it’s important to distinguish between contentious facts which would benefit from being challenged (eg The Vietnam War was a draw), and information which it benefits no one to over-analyse:

For instance, the following are definitely true:

* The UN replaced the League of Nations
* Czechoslovakia was split in two by The Velvet Revolution
* Spongebob Squarepants lives in Bikini Bottom

….and if any doubt remains, I looked them up on Wikipedia. And that really IS the truth.

But although my ability to retain facts, on occasions, impresses people, there’s always a few who apportion less value. In addition to dubbing me Rain Man and asking “how many matches?” at inopportune moments, Eavesie would also rib me by claiming I didn’t appreciate the difference between knowledge and, well, simply knowing things. I was good at trivia, he would declare, whereas he was knowledgeable. Knowledge was useful. Trivia was not. Ironically, I refused to accept that as fact.

But whereas Mark would claim there is only use for knowledge and not for trivia, I would draw his attention to that very British of institutions: The Pub Quiz.

Where else could fellow Smart Alecs demonstrate their skill? The sportsman has his field, the motoring enthusiast has his track, the artist her gallery. The pub quiz, then, is the domain of the Smart Arse.

We Don't Need No Education! Wait, Yes We Do

Now, I’ve been in a few pub quizzes in my time, and I’ve won a few too. But I don’t think I’ve been to any quite so poorly run as The Establishment on Courtenay Place.
Seeing as we’ve set up shop in Wellington for a while, we thought it would be good to have a regular social outing, and so Louise and I set out to find a pub quiz.
A regular team soon came into being, comprising myself, Louise, Katie and Tom (both who we met at Rowena’s) and we settled on The Establishment.

However, it soon came apparent, I think, within the first 8 minutes that, given the two “quizmasters” were seemingly about 12 years old, they should have probably concentrated on mastering reading, before they considered mastering quizzing.

Not only that, but despite my thoughts on the efficacy of the “fact”, I’m sure the undergraduate-90s-me would have been able to use their quiz as Exhibit A in demonstrating his case, for it’s been a while since I’ve seen facts being used in such a cavalier fashion.

We’ve attended a few times for the unintentional entertainment value and, over the weeks, the catalogue of errors has continued to build.

Crimes include, in no particular order:

* Reading out answers to questions not even asked, eliciting a unison chorus of “ Whoa! Eh?”

* Repeating the question, only to change the question second time round. “What’s the largest stone sculpture in the world?” was changed to “What’s the largest stone structure in the world?”.

* Playing music videos on the video wall for the “Name The Song” round, only for the captioned title to appear moments later, causing the gathered throng to throw up their arms in despair.

* Secretly dropping hints to teams at their table and then having to dash back to that table to exclaimed they’ve just realised they hinted at the wrong answer

* A reading age of around 7. “Answer to number 10……the capital of North Carolina is……..oh….erm…… what’s that say?…..‘Relay?’”

* And then this beauty from earlier this week. One of them reads out: “The next round is the Linked Letter round. The first letter of each answer goes to making up a name. I’ll leave it up to you whether to tell the teams that the name is a recently deceased soul star turned actor….ah ….um……don’t think I should have read that last bit out”

….and of course we worked out quite quickly that the star was Isaac Hayes, meaning we now had the first letter to every answer. Nice going boys.

I think the problem is clearly that they are considerably less smart than the teams. Not that Stephen Hawking regularly attends or anything ( I imagine he could cheat by accessing Google from his chair ,anyway), but when you’ve got a room full of people who pride themselves on knowing things, on having the facts at their disposal, I suppose you need to be on your game, These two jokers are just completely out of their depth.

And now word reaches us that, down the road, the Cambridge’s Pub Quiz has a $200 first prize. So maybe we’ll give that a go. Who knows, maybe “trivia” will prove to be useful after all.

1 comment:

Dad said...

Becoming a little pretentious aren`t we?