I like games: “Ticket to Ride,” Hearts, “Mafia,” Pinochle … and of course, “Jeopardy.” Especially “Jeopardy.” It always brings out the show-off in me. I love to pop off answers before the contestants can. Behold my genius, friends and family! No matter that my confident answers are often wrong — hey, I not wagering actual money.
So I have a grudging admiration for Arthur Chu, even as I get why so many people are pissed at him. By approaching the game as nothing more than math problem, he’s making it less fun for those of us who routinely ignore statistical probability. Even worse, he’s never even slightly apologetic or sportsmanlike about crushing his foes and amassing more than $238,000 in the process. The guy is a pudgy Mr. Spock, and we are exasperated Dr. McCoys: “I’m a doctor, dammit, not a computer!” Except Chu doesn’t even bother to lift an eyebrow.In fairness, Mr. Chu’s critics tend to ignore the fact that he still has to answer the questions correctly. And he still, against all logic, has to pose the answer in the form of a question (which is getting kind of old).
Washington Post writer Caitlin Dewey probably has it right when she posits the real reason we find Mr. Chu so irritating:
Chu’s strategy seems to fit into a larger cultural pattern: Now that everything can be measured, quantified and reduced to statistical probabilities, there’s no space for romance or instinct anymore.”
Yep. We don’t like people who play only to win. I’ll take Smug Jerks for a thousand, Alex.