Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Keeping Calm

John Lang thinks we have a problem. Almost a third of American adults ages 18 to 24 couldn't manage to spit in an ocean ... as long as you expected the ocean to be the Pacific. That's because they couldn't find it ... an entire ocean ... big thing full of water ... only 5 of them ... bleedin' 'ard to miss!

Okay, so most Americans couldn't find our staunchest ally and former proprietor, Great Britain, on the map but:

Five years and 4,000-some American deaths into a war ... only 17 percent could locate Afghanistan and fewer than 15 percent could find Iraq.

But perhaps strangest of all:

Stephen Prothero, chairman of the department of religion at Boston University, is lamenting that the U.S. is one of the most religious countries on Earth, but Americans know almost nothing about religion.

At the Pew Forum's biannual conference on religion, politics and public life, Mr. Prothero said he has to explain to his students that Matthew was an apostle, not a cast member of Friends. Recent surveys show, he added, that most Americans don't know Genesis is the first book of the Bible; one in 10 think Joan of Arc was Noah's wife; and a sizable minority believe Sodom and Gomorrah were a happily married biblical couple.

But that's all right. After all, as our President has said, "I think we agree, the past is over."

Nothing can get by us Americans.

I typically get a lot of flak for telling people that I think, in general, people (not just Americans, but all people) are stupid in the overall grand scheme of things. Apparently, I'm not being cynical; I'm being realistic.
I keep hoping it's merely ignorance. Ignorance is curable but stupid is forever.

But when does staying ignorant tip over into being stupid?
Possible response to the talking bush: "So is the present." (I must admire him for condensing a whole lot of history into one subclause, though.)
I love the idea of Joan of Arc as Noah's wife. I had to laugh out loud.

But seriously, 1 in 10 think that? This smacks of some 1st day of class multiple choice quiz where the instructor tests the knowledgebase. I think 1 in 10 students are messing with the prof here.

Not to suggest that people are uneducated, but I just don't buy that 1 in 10 think this particular item. I will however repeat it because it is so funny.
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