Friday, February 08, 2008

Do not ask for whom the buzzer gongs....

George Carlin said, "If you think the average guy is stupid, then realize that 50 percent are even stupider than he is."

We needn't be mathemagicians to figure out where Carlin belongs in that equation. I think the following pieces on the general knowledge of the general population of the Western world might shed some light on "the ignorant armies who crash at night," as the English poet-laureate Benedict Arnold once recited to Queen Victoria.

In the first part of this post we see Al-Reuters laughing at the plebes, and rightly so; but we must wonder why they laugh at the common ignorance of the common man, because, dear reader, Al-Reuters in the same day's edition refers to CAIR's Ahmed Rehab as an American civil rights activist. Now either you know or you don't know who is Ahmed Rehab and what is or isn't CAIR. If you are a supposedly serious journalist and you don't know of Rehab and CAIR, then my laughter isn't amused at all. But the following first installment is some fun, especially for those of us who are "semantic and anachronistic."

The dumbest ever quiz answers Thu Jan 31, 2008
By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Question: What was Gandhi's first name? Contestant's answer: Goosey Goosey.

Warning to all those know-alls who shout at the television screen when contestants offer dumb answers to blindingly obvious questions -- one day that could be you.

From regional radio shows to "Who Wants To be a Millionaire?" and "University Challenge," people make fools of themselves -- as internet site found in collating some of the worst howlers.

Here are leading contenders for the "Dumb Down" gold medal:

Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22,1963?

Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then

Presenter: Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?

Contestant: Forrest Gump

Presenter: In which country is Mount Everest?

Contestant: Er, it's not in Scotland is it?

Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the

name of a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci

Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Presenter: In which European city was the first opera house

opened in 1637?

Contestant: Sydney

Presenter: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and

Israel last?

Contestant: (after long pause) Fourteen days

Presenter: Where did the D-Day landings take place?

Contestant: (after pause) Pearl Harbor?

Presenter: What is the currency in India

Contestant: Ramadan

Presenter: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which

jungle-swinging character clad only in a loin cloth did he


Contestant: Jesus

Behind door number two we have this marvelous prize of answers to common questions:

Quarter of Brits think Churchill was myth: poll

Sun Feb 3, 7:12 PM ET

Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority reckon Sherlock Holmes was real.

The survey found that 47 percent thought the 12th century English king Richard the Lionheart was a myth.

And 23 percent thought World War II prime minister Churchill was made up. The same percentage thought Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale did not actually exist.

Three percent thought Charles Dickens, one of Britain's most famous writers, is a work of fiction himself.

Indian political leader Mahatma Gandhi and Battle of Waterloo victor the Duke of Wellington also appeared in the top 10 of people thought to be myths.

Meanwhile, 58 percent thought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective Holmes actually existed; 33 percent thought the same of W. E. Johns' fictional pilot and adventurer Biggles.

UKTV Gold television surveyed 3,000 people.

And now that we've all, or at least many of us, had a good laugh at the ignorant rabble, let's ask Mr. George Carlin how smart is the average smart person, say, oh, maybe a school teacher?

Charles Henry at Covenant Zone picks up that question in "Not-So-Great Britain"

A group of British educators refuse to forgive their predecessors for their bad choices. In order to punish their ancestors, they are going to take out their hatred on the next generation of young brits:

"Don't teach children patriotism"

Patriotism should be avoided in school lessons because British history is "morally ambiguous", a leading educational body recommends.
Teachers should not instill pride in what they consider great moments of British history, as more shameful episodes could be downplayed or excluded.
Three quarters of teachers felt obliged to tell students about the danger of patriotism. The survey suggested neither pupils nor teachers wanted patriotism endorsed by schools.
The institute - part of the University of London – asked nearly 300 pupils aged 13 to 14, and 47 teachers, in 20 London schools, how patriotism should be handled. About 94 per cent of teachers and 77 per cent of teenagers said that schools should give a balanced presentation of opposing views. Fewer than 10 per cent felt patriotism should be actively promoted.

More at:

Read 'em and weep.

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