I was happily meandering around the office the other day, and it suddenly struck me, ‘This song is stupid, not ironic.’ I was, of course, listening to Alanis Morissette’s supposedly ‘Ironic’ song, but this got me thinking…does Insightfulness mean Intelligence? And vice versa.
The Jagged Little Pill album, especially with the benefit of hindsight, is still a tremendously insightful and exciting album to list to. The pain and emotion still makes it one of the favourite albums in my collection. However, the albums before did nothing for anyone, really, and the albums since have been more and more laughably happy-clappy-hippie. The key here is that Alanis clearly does not have any great intellect, this album came out of emotion, a messed up childhood and a chance meeting with the eventual producer of the album.
On the other hand, intelligence alone does not make anyone dramatically insightful, this has been shown by hundreds upon thousands of clearly very intelligent people who have created an ounce of insight to speak of.
The two qualities are not mutually exclusive. There are some fantastically intelligent and insightful people doing great things across the world. The web has made these people accessible to the world and the world to them. The best example I’ve found recently is Boing Boing co-editor, sci-fi writer, web commentator, and generally interesting chap Cory Doctorow. These people are now becoming visible in a way that never existed before and this excites me a great deal.