People use these snarky expressions when they want to suggest that something is so totally obvious that ten out of ten people will see it instantly.
In a sane world, a good example would be Whole Word (or Look-say, as it was called when introduced in 1931). This is the famously bad reading method where kids have to memorize words as graphic designs, as shapes, as outlines.
Decade after decade, Whole Word produced dreadful results. It’s the main reason we have 50 million functional illiterates. The presence of this obvious hoax in elementary schools would seem to be prima facie proof of a vast conspiracy. Duh.
So how can this hoax survive if it’s so bad? The answer is that most people, once they become fluent readers, lose empathy for the difficulties that children face. As a result, the schools can get away with murder.
We need an easy way for adults to experience what it’s like to learn reading with Whole Word. Then they’ll care! Here’s a simple experiment that will drop you into an all-too-typical first grade: