Kwyjibo first appeared on the Simpsons many years ago in an hilarious scene where the family was playing Scrabble. As I remember the scene, it is Homer’s turn, and we are looking over his shoulder. In his rack he has the word “oxidize.” He does not recognize that word and so plays “do.” Bart’s turn comes around, and he plays “kwyjibo.” It’s not a word and Homer objects. We are looking over Bart’s shoulder now as Homer eats a banana. Bart says “it’s a North American ape with a receding chin, balding head, and short temper.” Homer accepts the definition.
I long wondered about the kwyjibo factor on the blogs, where we debate with the unreachable elements, mostly right wing in origin but not exclusive to any political outlook. Learning is a lifetime experience, never ending, and most smart people I know usually have a book or two going. But there are others who are encased in steel armor, never reading, never exposed to any depth of scholarship, picking up wisdom in the passing clips and paragraphs of a computer screen. It is this armored vehicle that is most frustrating, because it is lack of depth that provides the armor. Nothing penetrates these slow moving creatures as they roll across the landscape. They are the last to know how little they comprehend.
So kwyjibo should be our secret handshake as we deal with these morons, a way of sneaking a private laugh as we connect with each other without unduly insulting the state if stupidity that is incapable of knowing its own state. With due apologies to the writers of the Simpsons who gave us this beautiful word, of course.