Monday, August 14, 2006

Is There a Problem?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Show White's seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices, according to a poll on pop culture released on Monday.
Just over 60 percent of respondents were able to name Bart as Homer's son on the television show "The Simpsons," while only 20.5 percent were able to name one of the ancient Greek poet Homer's epic poems, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey."
Asked what planet Superman was from, 60 percent named the fictional planet Krypton, while only 37 percent knew that Mercury is the planet closest to the sun.
Respondents were far more familiar with the Three Stooges -- Larry, Curly and Moe -- than the three branches of the U.S. government -- judicial, executive and legislative. Seventy-four percent identified the former, 42 percent the latter.
I really don't see what the issue is here.
Are we supposed to be appalled that people don't know history and literature, and are instead knowledgeable about things to which they are exposed on a daily basis? They are paying attention to things to which they are constantly exposed. When is the last time "The Iliad" was released to a thousand movie theaters, or a Supreme Court justice appeared on television?
I guess I'm supposed to weep for the intelligence of the general public, but instead I think that people are aware of their surroundings. Popular TV, movies and modern culture are important to people. Isn't that what we are sold on a daily basis?
If you want us to know about the inner workings of our government, make it interesting and convince us that it matters - otherwise, move out of the way, "The Simpson's" is on three times a day.


Kate Michele said...

AMEN!! It would also help to have it more readily taught in school. I'm not even going to get started on the poor teachings of history in the school systems!!

Anthony said...

Ooooogh ... I just posted this one on Daniel Rubin's "Blinq" blog. Waiting for the angry responses.

It gives me a reason to get up in the morning.