I'm one of those people who puts a lot of stock in my idols. Perhaps I'm just impressionable, but I look for people to look up to in a lot of places. I've blogged recently about my disappointment with Tina Fey (or, rather, the writers of 30 Rock) and Ben Roethlisberger and now I have another to add to my list: 74-time Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings.
I am secretly 70, so Jeopardy! is one of my favorite shows on television. Ken Jennings' record-setting appearance was one of my favorite things about 2004. I admired his seeming lack of ego, his quirkiness, and the myriad ways he wrote his name for the Jeopardy! display.
Then yesterday, Ken Jennings answered questions on the site reddit for IAmA, a series of posts where people let reddit users ask them whatever strikes their collective fancy. I should have been skeptical from the get-go, being as that his username on reddit was WatsonsBitch (a reference to Watson, the IBM Jeopardy!-playing computer that beat him in two games last month.)
He said some amusing things at first, but my faith in him began to exponentially decrease after a user asked him "How did it feel to beat Brad?" (Brad Rutter, the man who holds the record for winning the greatest amount of money on Jeopardy!) and Jennings replied "I felt like the buzzer gods were not smiling on me last time Brad kicked my butt. This would have been sweet, sweet revenge, if a supercomputer hadn't been raping me the entire time."
Wait, what? Ken Jennings, you kicked ass on Jeopardy! for 74 damn games, knowing all the trivia in the world and you still use the word "rape" like it's nothing? All that intensive studying of words and that one makes your cut in acceptable joking? Really? You didn't realize that words change meaning over time sometimes, and by using the word "rape" to not actually mean "rape," you're just contributing to the decline of the word actually meaning something? Ken Jennings, with all the things you know, you should have known better than that.
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