Saturday, February 16, 2008

Knowledge-Schmowledge: Proud anti-intellectualism on television

Alright. Get your barf-bags ready again. There is a new inductee in the Sherri Shepherd hall of ignorance (in case you don't remember, Sherri Shepherd is unclear about the shape of the Earth, and believes that history started with Christianity and was surprised to hear about the Romans). This is a clip from Are you smarter than a 5th grader?:

Yikes!!! (and sexist jokes are just part of the gravy)

This clip was the starting point of New York Times article, Are Americans hostile to knowledge? It talks about a number of new books on the topic but focuses on The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby:

But now, Ms. Jacoby said, something different is happening: anti-intellectualism (the attitude that “too much learning can be a dangerous thing”) and anti-rationalism (“the idea that there is no such things as evidence or fact, just opinion”) have fused in a particularly insidious way.

Not only are citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don’t think it matters.

She pointed to a 2006 National Geographic poll that found nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds don’t think it is necessary or important to know where countries in the news are located. So more than three years into the Iraq war, only 23 percent of those with some college could locate Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel on a map.

Ok...then. We are all set for the future. Read the full article here.


Matthew said...

I think Foghorn Leghorn said it best: "Nice girl, but about as sharp as a sack of wet mice."

(I was torn between finding that horrifying or hysterical, and I opted for hysterical because I needed a good laugh today.)

John Dupuis said...

There are days that I'm very glad to be a Canadian. (Although, conveniently, there isn't a equivalent Canadian show where we can show off our own ignorance.)

Salman Hameed said...

Don't worry, Canada doesn't want to be left far behing. Doesn't Canada's ex-defense minister, Paul Hellyer, believe that UFOs are real and that the US government is hiding the wreckage of Roswell UFO crash?

(ok, so the US still looses as three of the Presidential candidates this year do not believe in evolution... and one may have seen a UFO)

Matthew said...

There's nothing wrong with seeing UFOs, as long as you don't jump to the conclusion they're aliens.

*You've* even seen a UFO. Do you remember the time you called me in the office on your way to class asking me what that "thing" was to the northeast of campus? I asked if you were drunk.

It turned out to be a balloon, but still, it *was* unidentified for a little while....

And also, Canada certainly has their share of winners. Like Stockwell Day for example....

John Dupuis said...

Ok, ok, so the Canadian equivalent is the various Dominion Institute polls showing general ignorance of Canadian history.

Salman Hameed said...

Finally...we managed to get a state secret out of John. Who says torture doesn't work? :)

And Matt - yes they let you believe that it was a "weather balloon". I'm sure you also believe that "NASA really sent astronauts to the Moon"...

Matthew said...

The "Moon" is a Ridiculous Liberal Myth.

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