Every time I hear that phrase, I think “yes, it is”.
All over the internet (if you Google it) are sites and messages from well meaning, angry people attempting to point out a fact or a situation that is “hidden in plain view”.
Can’t you see it? Can’t you see it? Why can’t you see it?
Why do I say ‘hidden’? Well, it must be. Why else would someone ask a patently obvious question? (aside from the rhetorical. Obviously) They don’t see the answer though it is right before them. It’s not a mark of stupidity, more a problem with perception.
I looked up ‘obvious’ on several dictionary sites in an attempt to confirm the nuances of meaning that I see in the word. None of them seem to see the obvious differences between obvious and similar words like apparent and evident. Appearances can be illusory. Evidence reveals the evident answer.
You can be blind to the obvious, because it is ‘in the way’ (as the Latin states) a can’t see the forest for the trees type of situation. So look carefully before asking that next ‘obvious’ question, or be prepared to literally stumble over the answer when it is pointed out to you.