Life in the Boomer Lane watched a comedy clip recently, in which a reporter (fake) attended a Trump rally (real). First, he spoke to some of the people in the parking lot, waiting to go into the rally. He asked one young man how Trump was going to defeat ISIS. The answer was “Bomb them.” He then asked the man where, exactly, the bombs would be dropped. After a deer-in-the-headlights moment, the man answered, “They will go to Israel. (Pause) Well, not Israel exactly, but close by. They will go to Israel and drop the bombs close by.” (LBL hopes the Israelis are prepared for this eventuality.)
Since LBL isn’t very optimistic about the state of most American’s knowledge about anything other than TV shows, she was pretty darn impressed that this man even knew the name of a country in the greneral part of the world in which ISIS exists. On the other hand, the Cult of the Dumb in America, like the disappearance of the continental ice shelf, is accelerating.
Americans love not to know stuff. There are some outstanding reasons why. Knowing stuff complicates things. Knowing stuff takes time. Knowing stuff makes you reasses what you already believe or heard on talk radio. And, after you have spent a lot of time to know stuff and have really thought about it, you realize that so what, all that knowledge does is to upset you. It’s way easier not to know stuff. There are several categories of people who don’t know stuff:
People Who Don’t Know Stuff But Think They Do
This category includes the 25% of Americans who think the sun revolves around the earth (NPR), the over-50% of Americans who think that religion is written into the Constitution (USA Today), and the 42% of Americans who believe that God created man in his present form less than 10,000 years ago (Gallup).
People Who Think That What They Don’t Know Isn’t Important to Know Anyway
This category includes the 30% of Americans who don’t believe climate change is real, the 50% of young people who don’t think it’s important to know the locations of countries where news is being made (NatGeo), the 27% of Americans who believe that it isn’t important to read books (Smithsonian).
LBL must now insert something she has been waiting to rant about for years. In her considerable time spent on plains, trains, buses, doctor’s and ER waiting rooms, she is always aware of a large number of people who sit and stare into space. They have no book, no magazine, no distraction. They sit and stare. They seem perfectly happy doing so. LBL, on the other hand, can barely keep her attention on her book. She keeps sneaking peeks at them, waiting for them to take a book or Kindle out of their purses or pockets or start screaming from sensory deprivation. But they never do. They seem perfectly happy to sit for hours, staring straight ahead at nothing. LBL has been seated next to such people on l-o-n-g plane flights, who stare at the back of the seat ahead of them, for five or six or seven hours at a stretch. These people scare LBL a lot. The result is that LBL has now spent almost as much time staring at them as they have spent staring into space.
People Who Don’t Know Stuff and So They Decide to be President
Back in 2007, a National Research Council report found that only 28% of high school science teachers consistently followed the National Research Council guidelines on teaching evolution, and 13% of those teachers explicitly advocated creationism or “intelligent design.” LBL suspects that the first percentage would be far lower today and the second far higher.
So, what’s to be done? If you are a thoughful person who does like to know stuff, you should know that soon, it may be illegal to know anything. People who do know stuff will be forced to meet in secret and talk about all the stuff they know. You will have to operate in public, smiling and nodding as others talk about the earth being flat and cavemen chasing dinosaurs and geography consisting of the world being made up of a bunch of countries with stupid names and people who can’t even speak right.
When you think about it, we will all be a lot happier to not have to clutter our brains up with anything. If God wanted us to know stuff, he would have stuck it in our brains from the get-go, right? LBL is now finished with this post and will devote herself to finalizing her trip to Florida. Florida, for those of you who are geographically challanged, is a place somewhere far away from here where it is warm and there is fun stuff to do and beaches and a lot of water and the people there are smarter than most other people on the planet because they speak English. Except for the ones who came here illegally to wreak havoc and run amok and take everyone’s job away and litter and things like that.