8.28.2006

You are dumb. You just don't know it. We all are.

One essential question I have been asking my students while we are reading Ishmael is "Who might benefit by keeping you ignorant?" which I stole from my colleague Nancy, who is awesome. This is perfect for my sustainability course, because so much of what is wrong with the environment, particularly global warming, has to do with ignorance on the part of the public on the magnitude of those salient problems. One telling statistic about global warming, from An Inconvenient Truth, states that in a random sampling of 928 global warming related articles from peer-reviewed scientific journals, zero dispute that global warming is real, that it is happening, and that we can do something about it. Zero. Yet 57% of news articles about the same topic mention the "controversy" or "uncertainty" of global warming. Huh? When you think about statistics like these, about information that is truly of the utmost importance to EVERYONE ON EARTH, and consider the fact that the media plays into PR campaigns by Big Oil and Detroit, it's really rather insulting. Do you really think EVERYONE is that stupid. Sure, some people are that stupid. I teach their kids on the daily. They block the aisle with their cart at the grocery store. They take eighteen years to order at restaurants because they have to ask questions about everything. They bother my friends Christine and Joe at Borders (no, despite logical thinking, people who shop at bookstores are not more intelligent than your average shopper. There are actual some huge fucking dumbasses who practically live there.) But not everyone is stupid enough to think global warming is something to take sides on, like abortion, are they? Yes, they are.

So that got me thinking about how fucked up education is in America. And how "No Child Left Behind" is the biggest crock of ironic-smelling shit that ever passed over Bush's desk (and that's saying something). Ask any teacher, they'll tell you the same. And how some adults were left behind many, many times over and they are too busy working a shitload of hours at minimum wage just so they can be broke, and they don't have time to read real news and hear about real shit, not like JonBenet or Brangelina or crazy, crazy TomKat, but real, actual, I-can-completely-explain-what's-up-in-Lebanon real shit. Then I realized that people like Bush, people who have power, and whose friends have power and money, and who like their power and money, and do dumb shit that fuck the rest of us over on the daily, those people don't want the masses to be educated. Because then, the masses would realize how much they get fucked, and how there is no great and powerful Oz behind the curtain, and how if they realized, and weren't so numbed by entertainment, drugs both legal and illegal, sports, sex, and food, they might just raise up and start a revolution and dethrone their motherfucking asses like Britney's sad, sorry fall from grace. These are not my crazy rantings. Chomsky talks about it in Democracy and Education, where he rips PR a new asshole. These are the things I'd like to articulate to my students, but it's difficult to stress to my students without cursing, because it really riles me up. As a teacher, you feel like you are fighting a losing battle when you look at it that way. The truth hurts. You can see for yourself in how news is presented. Major news sources devote much more time to shit that doesn't matter. I could go on but you can just read Chomsky yourself. He's very conversational in tone, despite his brilliance.

Listen to Of Montreal. They are great. Also, the new Pete Yorn rocks and is streaming online at AOL.com. But turn the sound off before you go to AOL.com. The first album streaming is the new Jessica Simpson. And you don't want an earful of her latest single as you are waiting for PY to load. Trust me.

1 comment:

emily huyck said...

Actually, I didn't say this but Emma Goldman did - "The most violent element in society is ignorance."