Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Name the Seven Dwarfs

Can you name the Seven Dwarfs?

Ok. Can you name the current Supreme Court Justices?

If you got more of the dwarfs than Justices, you are in good company. Well, maybe not "good" -- Americans, according to a Zogby poll of pop culture, are three times as likely to be able to name two of the dwarfs as they are two of the justices. 75% of people could name at least two dwarfs, while only 25% could name two current justices.

More people could identify Harry Potter than Tony Blair. Three times as many people could name Bart Simpson than knew the names of the Odyssey and Iliad. 60% can name Superman's home planet, but only 37% knew Mercury is closest to the sun. Twice as many (23%) can name the last winner of American Idol than can name the last SC Justice (11%). Yikes!

And even scarier:
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.
Do these people not pay any attention to the world around them? Do they not care? I actually blame the media for this one -- look at the news any given day and the top stores are entertainment or fluff or carefully screened political news...the Supreme Court pops up rarely, and discussion of the basic facts of government or the working of the legislature get buried in the hue and cry over the latest issue -- everything is dumbed-down to soundbites and spiffy graphics.

I shouldn't be surprised, though. Most people can't even point New York on a map---- and 2/3 can't find Iraq on a map despite all the news coverage, more -- 88% -- can't find Afghanistan.
  • Thirty-three percent of respondents couldn't pinpoint Louisiana on a map.
  • Fewer than three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news and just 14 percent believe speaking another language is a necessary skill.
  • Two-thirds didn't know that the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in October 2005 occurred in Pakistan.
  • Six in 10 could not find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
  • Forty-seven percent could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.
  • Seventy-five percent were unable to locate Israel on a map of the Middle East.
  • Nearly three-quarters incorrectly named English as the most widely spoken native language.
  • Six in 10 did not know the border between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world.
  • Thirty percent thought the most heavily fortified border was between the United States and Mexico.
Pathetic. Only about a quarter of people even think it's important to know where things are. No wonder Americans are thought of as stupid or ignorant or naive. It's embarassing. I was quite pleased to note that I could name almost all the dwarfs and an equal number of justices, and I could point to all those things on a map.

BTW, Keeping track of all seven dwarfs is actually quite simple: two S’s, two D’s, and three emotions. Two S’s: Sleepy and Sneezy; two D’s: Dopey and Doc; and three emotions: Happy, Bashful, and Grumpy.

The justices are Breyer, Thomas, Ginsberg, Alito, Kennedy, Stevens, Roberts, Scalia, Souter.

1 comment:

Buffalo said...

With ignorance is bliss. Life became materially more simple and enjoyable once I erased television and the news from my world.