I watched Mastermind tonight. If you’re not familiar with the premise of the show, four contestants take it in turns to endure two minutes of interrogation on a subject of their choice, followed by another two minutes on general knowledge in reverse order of their previous performance. The person with the most correct answers (and the least passes) wins.
Mastermind contestants tend to opt for specialist subjects such as ‘Final Destinations of Maiden Voyages Made by Ships Built in the 1800s’ and ‘Malfunctions of the Pulmonary Arteries of the general populace circa 1902’. As such, I consider it an occasion of high-spirited merriment if I manage to answer one question correctly. It is a demanding quiz format, and protocol rightly dictates that the contestants applaud each other after each round with heartiness and aplomb in implicit declaration of mutual respect. They are, after all, in it together.
It was with this in mind that I noticed one of the contestants (specialist subject – The Life of King Richard II) markedly failing to applaud one of his opponents. His arms and legs were crossed, and he was shaking his head ever so slightly from left to right. I suspect he was affronted by the apparent illegitimacy of the woman in question. The ‘Full-Time Mum’ from Liverpool (accent and everything!) had scored an impressive 14 points with her specialist subject, ‘The Television Series The Sopranos’.
Suddenly, it made sense. This snobbish, arrogant wanker did not consider this woman his equal. Sitting at home all day, watching DVDs (which he thinks he paid for with his tax money) is not quite in the same league as his intellectual vigour, his academic achievements and his learned fortitude in the serious application of the mind in matters historical.
All of a sudden, I was rooting for this woman to win. Anxious about her prospects on the general knowledge round, I stood in front of the TV shouting encouragement as if I was watching a closely contested horse race upon which I had risked a colon-contracting amount of money.
And she won it! She fucking won it, and to make it even better, Mr No-Clap came last. Mwah ha ha ha. Ill-mannered people falsely estimate their own worth. They value people based on wealth, occupation, accent and intelligence, with their own ‘intelligence’ conveniently being the barometer – ‘You don’t know something I only found out last week? You idiot!’
Suck it up, mate.