Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Are You Smarter Than A Pantload?

Eventually one has to just figure that Goldberg is every bit as transparently un-self-aware as he appears to be:

HUGE NUMBERS of Americans don't know jack about their government or politics. According to a Pew Research Center survey released last week, 31% of Americans don't know who the vice president is, fewer than half are aware that Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House, a mere 29% can identify "Scooter" Libby as the convicted former chief of staff of the vice president, and only 15% can name Harry Reid when asked who is the Senate majority leader.

Also last week, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that two-thirds of Americans believe that Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales' firing of eight U.S. attorneys was "politically motivated."

I imagine that since then, what with Abu G's punch-drunk performance after rehearsing for close to month, those numbers are even higher. Even a slow fifth-grader understands the base premise that when someone sits there and fumbles with every question, answering 70+ times that he can't remember jack shit and the dog ate his e-mails, he's nothing more than a fucking liar. He's covering for his bosses. How complicated do you think it is?

Obviously, I'm certainly not above beating my fella 'merkins for their profound collective ignorance in many important areas. It is, as the French say, my raisin det-ree. But this is positively disingenuous considering that, were it not for ignorant yahooism, everybody in this administration and every buffoon defending it -- and yes, this includes you, Jonah -- would be out looking for honest work.

More to the point, Americans — God bless 'em — are often quite ignorant about the stuff politicians and pundits think matters most. They may know piles about their own professions, hobbies and personal interests, but when it comes to basic civics, they just get their clocks cleaned on Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

Though examples are depressingly unnecessary, here are two of my favorites over the years. In 1987, 45% of adult respondents to one survey answered that the phrase "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" was in the Constitution (in fact, it's a quote from Karl Marx). Then, in 1991, an American Bar Assn. study reported that a third of Americans did not know what the Bill of Rights was.

I agree. It's pathetic. It's inexcusable. And it's of a piece -- Americans, more than any other industrialized country by far, love to proclaim how godly they are, how important their faith is, how much they go to church, blah blah blah.

And yet?

Half the people in the Christian nation cannot name even one of the four Gospels. (And yet, I, a godless heathen atheist sybarite, know all four, and even have some surface knowledge of each. What the hell is up with that?) 10% of Americans (these people must be mentally disabled) think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Then there's that asshole congresstwit from Georgia who pushed his Ten Commandments stunt legislation, but could barely name three himself (he, of course, used that as a reason why the legislation was so vital to the continuation of our free and open society).

In case you're wondering, I got 10 out of 10 on the linked quiz, pretty easily at that. I don't consider myself all that knowledgeable about religion; it's just an easy quiz. (And I note for the record that they misspelled "penance" at the end.) But anyway, I can't help but wonder what all these morally superior souls are doing at church if they're not learning anything. Merely hedging their celestial bets, maybe? I think so, and it makes sense if you view that mindset as a complementary, even symbiotic view with the typical half-witted road-rage politico. They let Rush Limbaugh turn their brains to oatmeal, and maybe a few names stick through osmosis, but that's about it.

And that's what we know as our "values voters", folks. Seriously. Only a completely ignorant, inept thinker would place non-issues such as gay marriage even in the top 100 things this country needs to address politically. It's a very sloppy, incompetent excuse for thought -- the same sort of mouth-breather who doesn't know what the Bill of Rights is. But the people who know about Abu Gonzales' little dog-and-pony show are not the brainless wretches who don't have enough goddamned pride in themselves and their country to learn even the basics of how it operates. Pantload is conflating spurious statistics and he damned well knows it.

Think it's sheer coincidence that the number of people who hadn't a clue about the Bill of Rights is roughly equal to George W. Bush's average approval rating for the last 18 months?

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