By Leo Corman
It’s become a familiar refrain at the beginning of every semester: “If you have any confusion, please don’t hesitate to ask. There are no stupid questions.” Professors assure students that they are exceedingly approachable and will gladly answer any inquiry they have, no matter how big or small. Of course, as nearly all students and professors recognize, this is bullshit—stupid questions absolutely do exist, and such questions should be suppressed inside the stupid heads in which they originate.
Unfortunately, according to multiple reports and eyewitness accounts, freshman Kayla Roberts truly believes any question is worth asking. She feels free to blurt out whatever idiotic thing comes into her mind, without first stopping to consider, “Hey, maybe I should keep my mouth shut.”
Kayla’s economics professor says Kayla “is a solid student,” but “she really doesn’t seem to understand that when I say, ‘There are no stupid questions,’ that’s only because the school requires me to do so. What I actually mean is, ‘I’m happy to provide clarification or go into more detail on a topic, but I’d rather not address inane and imbecilic questions, like hers.’” Kayla’s questions this semester have included, “What’s the other one besides demand?” “How do you spell equilibrium?” and “Why won’t the Wi-Fi in here work?”
“I had a few questions of my own for [Kayla],” says her economics professor. “‘Are you a moron?’ ‘How are you in college?’ ‘How can you possibly be passing this class?’ ‘Do you really think I have nothing better to do with my time in lecture than spell out “equilibrium” for you?’ You’re on your phone all class anyways, just look it up, for fuck’s sake!” After catching his breath, he added, “Of course, I didn’t say any of that. I just smiled politely and answered dumb question after dumb question.”
Generally, professors convey that a stupid question has been asked through several cues: a deep, resigned sigh, a subtle roll of the eyes, and/or development of an extremely patronizing tone in which the professor punctuates each sentence with, “Okay?” However, Kayla appears not to perceive these signals, instead continuing to fire her stupid questions at will.
Several of Kayla’s classmates have complained about Kayla’s persistent questions as a source of distraction in class. Confided an anonymous student who shares two classes with Kayla, “That bitch needs to be quiet. I’m trying to concentrate on watching porn in the back of the classroom, and she keeps breaking my focus. It’s really annoying.”
Finally, for those who ask, “Doesn’t this article express kind of an elitist asshole sentiment by making people feel bad for having trouble with classroom material?” the answer is, “That’s a stupid question. Of course it does.”