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    • CommentAuthorAlexa_D
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.21)
    And people wonder how I can doubt the historical existence of Jesus.

    Still, I cannot gloat as an American, because I fear that one day we'll find out that a quarter of Americans think Lincoln was a myth. And that Huck Finn was real.

    (Although, Einstein did once say of Gandhi, "Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.")
  1.  (829.22)
    Did any of my fellow Brits see the infamous clip from the first Big Brother, whereing Jade Goody displays her command of 20th Century history in a long, rambling and painful monologue about "Mr Ninestein"?

    Stand outside the right places and you'll find a thousand of her pretty easily.
    •  
      CommentAuthorOwsler
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.23)
    I was so suspicious when I saw that. In fact I'm still waiting for her to reveal that the last 4/5 years of her 'celebrity' life have been an act and that she always knew that Einstein was the guy who directed Battleship Potemkin.
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      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.24)
    Wonder if the survey was the same one that said most people in the US couldn't find the US on a global map.


    To be fair, you are talking about a country where we elected George W Bush not just once, but twice.
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      CommentAuthorLokiZero
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.25)
    Mr Ninestein is now my new band name.
  2.  (829.26)
    Did Jade Goody spend her youth watching Terrahawks?
  3.  (829.27)
    Jane Goody should be shot. it's unfathomable that somebody not just stupid, but ridiculusly unintelligent could make a living by just being big and stupid...
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.28)
    Dammit - you beat me to the Terrahawks gag.
  4.  (829.29)
    Statistics like that about Americans don't shock me. Disgust and annoy me, yes, but don't shock me.

    Oddly, I find them more of a surprise coming from other countries. I just expect the rest of the world to be smarter than the average American.

    When did I get so cynical? Oh, yeah, when I stopped being naive. Well before I started reading Warren Ellis, though I think I've gotten more cynical since. Which probably has more to do with Dubya than Warren, but Warren is infinitely cooler.
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      CommentAuthorTrotsky
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.30)
    It used to be that only the top bracket of the population had an audible voice. Now everyone with an internet connection or a shot on Reality TV
    in the world has a forum with which to express themselves.
    This is both very good, and very bad-- we now have to sort through everything ourselves.

    The landscape hasn't changed much, we're just getting a better look at it.

    I actually broke up with my last boyfriend on the grounds that I had to explain the whole "Reformation of England" thing.
    At one point, about half way through, I paused and said, "hey, didn't you go to school? Oh, In Arkansas, OK...."

    That was pretty much it.
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.31)
    Isn't it comforting that these people are everywhere... :|
    •  
      CommentAuthorwilliac
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.32)
    I lie to pollsters all the time and just assumed it was common practice.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrotsky
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.33)
    Isn't it comforting that these people are everywhere... :|


    wow, a lot of people in Minneapolis seem to be saying very stupid things...
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.34)
    Just about the same everywhere I imagine, its just that someone had the bright idea to gather the local idiocy in one place.
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      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.35)
    Churchill did exist. He is currently hanging out on an island with Jim Morrison, Elvis and Jerry Garcia.

    "hey, didn't you go to school? Oh, In Arkansas, OK...."


    I tend to think this is pandemic. It seems to me that even people that go to school--even ones of higher learning--don't really want to be there to learn anything. They want to keep their heads down and get through it because they feel like they should. Like school is the chore you have to do to have a better life later, as opposed obtaining a real understanding of the world around you. There's a reason why a person should study history, science, philosophy, etc.

    It is in part due to the way educated people are portrayed in media. The stereotype is the nerd. The over-educated know-it-all who is either a complete dick or a whimpering pansy. The permeated idea is that to be "normal", a person has to be complacent about school and education, and that is just horrid. Why bother being interested in politics if you don't have the ability to critically think about them and contextualize them into history? Why bother reading a book if you don't understand its foundation in the history of literature? I don't get it.

    I had a world humanities class last semester where it was freely admitted that more than half the class didn't know that Islam was an Abrahamic religion. The semester before that, I had a history class where the teacher completely ignored the Spanish-American War. Instead we spent a week on Wild Bill's Wild West Show. Fucking retarded. Where are all the smart people, and why aren't they in my education system?
    •  
      CommentAuthorwilliac
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.36)
    I had a world humanities class last semester where it was freely admitted that more than half the class didn't know that Islam was an Abrahamic religion.
    I'd be willing to bet at least half of those didn't know that Christianity and Judaism were either, but then I've been suspicious of the religious ever since seeing a guy get beat up for saying "Jesus was a Jew".
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrotsky
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.37)
    Ted,
    I went to school in New Hampshire, and got the benefit of a really good public school system education. My parents and extended family were also all really intelligent people who read to and yelled at me like crazy.

    The one thing that I'm excruciatingly ignorant of is ignorance, it's as though I intrinsically assume that I am always dealing with individuals who are like me.

    That really sucks, and it makes me an unsuccessful animal a lot of the time.

    And that's not to say that not knowing about the Reformation or even who Samuel Pepys was or why one should know about him makes someone a bad person, it just means that they probably shouldn't be dating me.

    (Five to ten minutes on Wild Bill's Wild West show seems like more than enough. That's the sort of thing that kids should have learned themselves when they were 12. )

    But, when you get right down to it, school is mostly to teach us how to interact with other humans, all the other info could be delivered far better through computers, each student getting a handler assigned along with an academic outline.

    Attendance became mandatory in the first place because gangs of young hooligans were running wild and causing havoc. Put a book in their hands, and keep them off the street until the learn that it's better to create than to destroy, and all that jazz.

    The benefits of a formal education are outlined here, via this Crispin Glover in Happy Days clip:
    very simple
    •  
      CommentAuthorzoem
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.38)
    Heh.

    Polls are really done in deceptive ways, and respondents that don't fit the desired criteria are discarded. Very recently, I was on the receiving end of a political poll. When I wasn't giving the answers they wanted, they stretched the call out longer and longer with more and more questions (each time saying "a few more questions") and a reminder that if I didn't complete the survey, my answers wouldn't count. I eventually gave up, which was the desired result.

    On another note, news agencies seem really fond of "voting" type polls on their website, where people are as likely to pick the absurd answer as to be sincere.

    So while amusing, this sort of thing doesn't really impress me...

    However, Americans finding the US on a global map with no country/border markings? I could see a lot of people having trouble with that.
  5.  (829.39)
    I'm convinced the vast majority of the UK electorate isn't prepared to listen to an argument that consists of more than one clause. If they could, they'd be ready to lynch Gordon Brown for the fraud of PFI, wasting absurd amounts of our money by paying private consultants way over the odds to provide public services which even the dear old inefficient civil service could do for a fraction of that. New Labour's genius has been to line the pockets of their mates, no doubt for a consideration, but in a way that's slightly too complicated for the average voter to be bothered to think about.
    •  
      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
     (829.40)
    Trotsky--

    I agree with your assertion that school exists to teach us to interact with one another, but I feel that the actual educational portion of school is entirely important in that regard as well. I feel the same way as the teacher from Happy Days did--it's harder for me to communicate with people of a separate knowledge set than my own and, while I don't hold that against them, tends to make it more difficult to express my ideas and values as accurately. I am like you, in some ways, when it comes to an ignorance of ignorance. Most people I know and interact with have a knowledge similar or comparable to mine, but when I come across someone who doesn't know what my point of reference, I tend to spend more time explaining myself than actually communicating. I usually assume that the person has some other knowledge or skill set that is different from my own, and it's OK that they don't fully understand me because their value lies in a different spectrum. But I digress.

    The act of communication is far more interesting to me when it comes to intelligent interpretations and reactions to the subject at hand. I hold that as a dear value of mine. If I can't have a conversation with someone where there is some level of critical thinking going on either side, I am not nearly as interested with the matter at hand as I am thinking about something else. This applies to just about everything I enjoy--comics, movies, music, history, sociology, philosophy, etc.

    Oddly enough, this applied to my last girlfriend in a similar way to your ex. My ex couldn't follow the plot of a movie without explanation, and often didn't understand the things I wanted to talk about because she had no thought skill or knowledge. All she knew was drama and minor workings of personal relationships, and not even in an introspective way. Being with her made me stupid, and I've recovered from that now into someone who actively wants to achieve knowledge and understanding. The difference is that you were smart enough to remove yourself from that situation.

    I grew up in California. From an educational standpoint, I believe we're 48th of 50 right now. While I was growing up, that placement went back and forth, but was usually in the bottom three. Despite this, I became incredibly apt to learn and grow my understanding of history and society, and I'm currently working toward a Philosophy bachelors with a minor in Sociology. Hopefully after that, a masters in Phil. I find more and more the people around me are not in school for education or even interaction. More often then not when I talk to my fellow students regarding school, they describe it as "shitty and pointless," and I always think to myself then why the fuck are you even here?

    Somewhat off topic. This would actually make a good thread...

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