The Problems With Internet Sensationalism. Sex. Drugs. Late Nights.

It’s a typical day in the land of limitless Internet. The digital trees are bearing lush fruits of news-worthy information, your friends have planted thick fields of baby and engagement photos on Facebook, your crush has a new blog post about the land of plenty, and your college reunion group just posted new information about everyone’s lives. The land of milk and honey may just be the world wide web, at least in terms of information-gathering.

Aside from the sezuire-inducing gifs of Buzzfeed (my personal favorite: MFA Programs), the most physically-reactive part of sifting through Internet news sources is when you stumble upon the inevitable article titled in such a way as to get tirelessly and repetitively reposted across social media larks everywhere. You know the type. The kind of articles that make a bold statement, such as “YOU WILL NEVER SEE SOMETHING LIKE THIS AGAIN.” Or “KEEP LOOKING: YOUR BREAKFAST CEREAL CHOICES TELL YOU HOW GOOD YOU ARE IN BED.”

These articles range from mildly annoying (as in, can be passed over in the chain of news feed drivel) to intensely infuriating (as in, you were intrigued enough to click on and read said news source, only to find yourself pissed off twenty minutes later, not only because you’ve been presented with erroneous and offensive information, but also because you willingly wasted your time on something toxic. Such is the case with Esquire’s recent article, enticing titled “Smarter People Stay Up Later, Do More Drugs, and Have More Sex: It’s Science.” Intrigued, I clicked on the article.

Focusing on investigating the corollary data between sex toys purchased, interviewees who smoked weed, and the schools people went to, the study states: “The correlation probably has something to do with the open-mindedness that comes with intelligence,” says Annalisa Rose, 23, who works at Honey, a high-end sex shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “I think that the ability to engage in an open sex life comes with the abilities of introspection and logical thought, and those require some level of intelligence. If we’re talking about an open sex life that comes from an emotionally healthy place, sexual mores are mostly made up anyway and intelligent people can rationalize past them,” she continued.

Despite the cloudy research methods, it’s an interesting idea. I consider myself a pretty smart person. I can learn how to do almost anything in under a day. I have the vocabulary of an Elizabethan royal. I know more about the history of prostitution in the United States than anyone else in my friends group. I speak two languages with comprehension in two others. And I know how to dress myself on a shoestring budget. I also had my hay day of sowing wild oats in the drug department, regularly stay up past bedtime working, and have been gifted with a generous amount of sex in my lifetime.

But wait. I didn’t go to Oxford. So this study isn’t about me.

According to this article, intelligence isn’t based on street smarts, resourcefulness, emotional prowess, or the ability to be generously spirited in the world. So what is intelligence, if it isn’t the mere fact of surviving a world which is dead set against the art of thriving?

Two words: Ivy League. “Researchers in England have found that students studying at prestigious universities such as Oxford and Cambridge spend more on sex toys than their peers at other universities. Cambridge and Oxford’s sex toy sales on just one website (Lovehoney.co.uk, who funded the research) totaled a staggering $31,461. No word on what products they ordered, nor whether they kept their glasses on while they used them.”

If we were in a game show, this would be where the “WRONG” buzzer would sound. What? Esquire, come on! Ned Hepburn (may I call you Ned Hepburn?), this article is based on the idea that intelligence is standardized (news flash: it’s not), the fact of having extra disposable income with which to spend on double-headed dildos and cocaine makes you a genius, and that only 2% of the world’s population (most of them based out of capitalist, first-world countries) hold the title of Intelligent.

I get it—articles these days are geared towards the miniscule average attention span. In a world of Tweets, articles are mother effing epics the size of Beowulf. So why not sensationalize your headline, make it so that readers don’t need to read past the first few words? But what about us, here at Slixa? We are hardworking folks who diddle in night life and who regularly get gifted sex toys for reviews. Does that bump us up the genius chain, or are we smart by proxy?

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