Making an "Evil" Genius Look Bad

by WILLIAM R. HAWKINS September 11, 2017

While looking through articles on the latest border confrontation between China and India at Global Times, a media outlet of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, I clicked on a feature posted at the bottom of the GT home page: "The Secret and Surprising List of Famous Celebs IQs Is Revealed." It was imported from a website entitled Like It Viral. There were 102 celebrities listed with IQ's ranging from Leonardo da Vinci at 220 to singer Miley Cyrus at 120. One wonders, of course, how the IQ can be calculated for a man who, while clearly a genius, died in 1519. Not to worry, the other 101 celebs are of the current day. The highest IQ ratings among the living are chess champion Gary Kasparov (190), high-tech innovator Bill Gates (180) and British comedian Rowan Atkinson (174). Most on the list are entertainers, the kind of non-serious use of brain power that Millennials are allegedly hooked on. They generally pull the average own, but not always. Action star Sylvester Stallone (160) is tied with physicist Stephen Hawking. But what are of interest for this column are the political leaders, one in particular.
          Donald Trump comes in 18th on the list with an IQ of 156, clearly genius level. But that's not shocking since one does not expect a multi-billionaire who ran a global business empire before becoming President of the United States to be a dummy. Looking at other political leaders on the list one finds: Bill Clinton (143), Barack Obama (141), Hillary Clinton (140, tied with hate-monger Madonna) and Al Gore (134). Before any suggestions that these numbers are rigged to make Trump look good, lets move to what is shocking about this list.
          Everyone has a photo posted next to their score. Almost all are very flattering poses. These are not hard to find for the Hollywood types, but even the scientists and professionals look dignified, even attractive. This standard even applied to Vladimir Putin (134) who looks stern, but regal. There is one major exception: Donald Trump. His photo was chosen to make him look foolish. Apparently a frame from the tape of one of his speeches, it shows him at a microphone, eyes closed and tongue hanging out. There is no other celebrity photo anything like it. Whoever put this list together couldn't deny the truth of the President's high IQ, but they could try to make this "evil" genius look bad. In contrast, the photo of Hillary Clinton is one of the best I have ever seen; bright-eyed and smiling like she won the election.

          There was another unattractive photo, that of Ivana Trump (124), shown at a podium with an angry, snarling face. The same treatment was tried with the photo of Melania Trump (130), but with less success. It's hard to catch such a beauty off guard, but it does show her frowning. The scene is, however, enlivened by the American flag flying behind her. To be fair, other members of the Trump family; Ivanka (139), Barron (136), Donald Jr. (134), Tiffany (128) and Eric (121) are portrayed properly.

          This rather insignificant web posting (Like It Viral has about 109,000 "likes" on Facebook) does serve as a symbol for a larger problem facing Americans. Singling out President Trump for unfair treatment in such a petty way tells readers quite a bit about the mindset of those who operate Like It Viral. Their interests are hopelessly shallow as shown throughout their website. It is unlikely they have either the experience or knowledge to give their opinions on serious world events any credibility. But they have access to the Internet and social media so feel they must express their opinions---- and try to influence those of their readers, anyway. Americans are bombarded hy such charlatans every day. A steady diet is feed to the public of triviality, decadence and inflated rhetoric; geared more to emotions than to intellect. The task, if our democracy is to survive, is for citizens to look behind the images to discover the facts and make their own decisions accordingly in the context of the real world as they know it. Yet, as culture becomes more visual and fanciful, it threatens to swamp thoughtful reflection and realism. A dismal future is trending.

William R. Hawkins is a consultant specializing in international economic and national security issues. He is a former economics professor and Republican Congressional staff member.

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