Our fellow Americans...

Watch it. Weep. Repeat.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Eric A. Stillwell (unverified)
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    And we want to encourage more people to vote, why?

  • Education (unverified)
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    And who says we need to improve our education system..... I can't wait for someone to post a quote from Tocqueville about how educated the average american is.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    Not necessarily on point, but the following was in the NY Times this morning: Rankings for the top 15 programs on cable networks as compiled by Nielsen Media Research for the week of Feb. 26-March 4. Day and start time (EST) are in parentheses.

    1. World Wrestling Entertainment Raw'' (Monday, 10 p.m.), USA, 3.99 million homes, 6.19 million viewers.

    2. World Wrestling Entertainment Raw'' (Monday, 9 p.m.), USA, 3.92 million homes, 6.06 million viewers.

    It appears that perhaps professional wrestling has edged out NASCAR in the hearts and minds of the voters.

    Bring up Pink Floyd background music . . . We don't need no education We dont need no thought control No dark sarcasm in the classroom Teachers leave them kids alone Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

  • LarryN (unverified)
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    Well, if we could just get the Muslims out of Israel and mount a 4-direction landing on North Korea... and wipe out MIssissippi and New York from the "axis of evil" ....THEN we'd get someplace.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Are these the Americans our troops are risking their lives to protect?

  • Charlie Foxtrot (unverified)
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    Bill forgot Texas and Florida. Frankly, I'd like to do a 1 for one exchange: one of these (or similarly ignorant "citizens") for each illegal coming across the border. I don't think this was the posterity Lincoln had in mind.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    Other possibilities:

    --the videographer cherrying picked for the most ignorant.

    --the whole thing was staged.

    The thing was just too "cute".

  • Col. Pickering (unverified)
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    (begin sarcasm) Oh no! A limey video clip that was edited to show how stupid America is shows that several Americans wouldn't be able to hold their own in an international game of Trivial Pursuit! Drat and curses! I suppose we'll have to re-integrate into the United Kingdom, with their superior culture of inbred heads of state, world-renowned dentistry, and a famous culinary array of boiled meats. (end sarcasm)

    I'm willing to bet that in any country you go to, you'll find at LEAST a dozen people who just simply aren't good at "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire."

    As if England is populated entirely by Cambridge dons and effite linguistics professors.

  • Marshall Yager (unverified)
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    The camera crews and editors obviously only use the stupidest respondents. Admittedly they are stupid and ignorant, but you could easily do the same thing on the streets of London by interviewing some chavs.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    American ignorance about world geography, history, politics, and culture is well documented. That doesn't mean we're stupid, just ignorant. Blame little support for education, vacuous media, and a culture of anti-intellectualism.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Obviously the doubters have never done this.

    It's not ignorance, it's a kind of fraud. It's macho to get by without learning anything and still function. If it were ignorance people would say, "I don't know". Of course they don't, but I'm more struck with these kind of samples at how people act like they have to sell their wrong answer. There's the real intelligence. They realize that in the contemporary English speaking world closing the deal is all that matters, not being right. If they can sell their answer they get the points. Not external validity. Like the girl that said, "we were in Vietnam, right", and acted as if hearing that we were made her correct. She didn't actually think it made her correct- doesn't even know what that means- she just knew that the case for her sell job was solid.

    Which is why, to the administration, the policy in Iraq is not a failure. They have sold the behaviour required to get what they wanted and they got it. Those pointing out their factual errors are like the folks at home watching a replay of an obviously bad football call. Yeah, it was wrong. No consequence. The umpires' decisions are final.

    As if knowlege predicted behaviour. If you want to understand why people act why they do, research primates. This is my point about most of our behaviour being hard-wired primate values that I'm always belaboring. Those people didn't have a clue about the Middle East. Does that mean they don't care about our policy? Many would go on eloquently about how it's America's destiny as a purveyor of good, etc. Where's that coming from? Reflexive socialization, not reflective thought.

    Individual humans have not changed in the least since 500 B.C. Socrates would be as bright today as he was then. The people from that clip would have come across the same way at his Lyceum as they do today. You go back 2500 B.C., and there's a real difference in conceptualization. The last 2500 years is jockeying for social position without advancing the assumptions. Sure technology has evolved, but that's just an unpacking of concepts that were implicit at the dawn of Western philosophy.

    With Kant you actually have some fresh assumptions, but, unfortunately, the history of ideas since Kant has been heavily dominated by thinkers that either outrightly reject his advances, or use his positions as a starting point to go backward (apologies to the Nietzsche and Heidegger devotees, but you're badly outnumbered). If humans are going to evolve further, they have to consciously take up their biology as their ownmost possibility and will a new creation. For the moment, the species can't even consistently define species. Now that's ignorance. All law is based on a concept with no definition.

    We've all become like pop psychologists who are always warning us what we have to do different. The implicit assumption in showing the clip is, "Isn't this horrible, we have a big problem". Behaviour is very expensive. People are lazy. Ergo, I generally assume that behaviour works. When you see something that makes no sense- like how people with no factual knowlege can function in the 21st century- there's something about their lives and environment that you don't understand; the process has not been adequately described. If you want to change behaviour, I think you always need to first assess how the "offensive" behavior is currently working, and make sure that your solution does as well, before asking anything.

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    Nooo! The Australians have assimilated "Jaywalking" from the Tonight Show! Whatever shall we do? Can we ship them Leno as punishment?

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    1) A lot of the questions were of the "Whose buried in Grant's tomb?" variety.

    2) People seemed to understand the object of their answerss was to entertain, not inform. It didn't matter at all if they were correct.

    It was entertainment. Laugh. And stop worrying about it. And remember, Yugoslavia does start with "yu".

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    It would be absurd to take the examples in this video as typical Americans, but the sad truth is that they are representative of a large segment of the people in this nation. Similar examples are in the media on a regular basis, like a percentage of high school students who can't locate Canada on a map. The fact that almost half of eligible voters don't vote also suggests a lack of knowledge. I was collecting signatures for an initiative two or three years ago and came across people who didn't even know there was an election coming up. Some people can't even name the vice president, their state senators or their local mayor. Then, perhaps more serious, are voters who pay attention to the news but just cherry pick the facts that suit their political biases which renders them as dumb as but more dangerous than the people in the clip. The dubious consolation is that we are probably no worse than other Western nations.

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    BEST QUOTE EVER,

    "We'll make a big f*cking glass crater out of the middle east."

    Member's of the US senate I give you GWBUSH's next Sec of State.

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    Redneck Axis of Evil:

    New York-Duh California-Hollywood Florida-They think that's where Hurricanes come from Mississippi-too many "S"s??????

  • Dan (unverified)
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    My 11 year-old son correctly answered most of those questions! So, maybe the future isn't as bad as you might think!

  • Phil Jones (unverified)
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    It just goes to show no matter how much money you throw into the public school system, the end result is a generation of citizens who are dumbed down, but politically correct.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    the end result is a generation of citizens who are dumbed down, but politically correct.

    And the folks in the "documentary" were politically correct how exactly?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    It just goes to show no matter how much money you throw into the public school system, the end result is a generation of citizens who are dumbed down, but politically correct.

    The public schools aren't the problem. The real culprits are the corporations out to make massive profits any way they can and have been more successful at converting people from childhood to become consumers instead of citizens. The Pied Pipers of Madison Avenue will have won if we don't turn people around. Students in school get a little education during the day and most of it is replaced in a few hours by seductive drivel on television.

  • Rick T (unverified)
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    All the respondents in the video are well educated....in "ironic entertainment performance." As a teacher, this is the attitude I battle every hour; being and proud smug.. "entitled to rule baby on board" while affecting disconcern and condescension is the mode of getting ahead. America's problem is not intellegence or the public school system. Our problem is that we beleive our own images, and millions have self images reflected by a sitcom or cartoon character. This is MUCH harder to solve than teaching facts about the world. Our best minds should start working on it.

  • zman (unverified)
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    I'm sure they interviewed hundreds of people who answered the questions correctly, and edited them all out. So what is left is the 1% or so who are ingnorant dumbasses. Makes for a funny video but isn't exactly a representative sample of anything.

    And the map they were asking people to post pins into to identify different countries - they had all the wrong names on the countries. They had Austrailia marked as Iran, or France, or North Korea. So that is why those people picked Australia. Of course they should still know better, but it's not like they couldn't even read. They were reading the map instead of just knowing where the countries are by their location and shape.

    But yeah, we're doomed. Unfortunately most of the dumb people shown are probably Democrats.

  • gtmama (unverified)
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    Yeah, why do you think they vote Democrat?????

  • GT (unverified)
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    These morons, no doubt, are all products of our great public education system. Liberal people are such simpletons.

  • Jason (unverified)
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    Col Pickering: The producers of this bit are Australian, not English. For the record, Krouts are Germans, Frogs are French, and Limies are English. I suppose Australians are like the Irish without the work ethic, i.e. a bunch of lazy drunks.

    FYI

  • j_luhergoober (unverified)
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    <these morons,="" no="" doubt,="" are="" all="" products="" of="" our="" great="" public="" education="" system.="" liberal="" people="" are="" such="" simpletons.=""> So GT, did you play stick-ball with Junior at Andover between lesson on the Classics or are you just another legacy admitted Ivy League know-it-all? At least the folks on the video provided one answer to one question, unlike our leader, who suffering from pre-senile dementia spews rejoinders like "the one answer to that question is..." and proceeds to babble-off four or five unrelated answers...
  • Col. Pickering (unverified)
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    ...spelled "Krauts" and "Limeys," of course.

    I guess it was the absurd accent and smug sense of unwarranted self-satisfaction that threw me off. :)

    And GT... I get it: you're kind of a self-superior ass, huh?

  • TG (unverified)
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    "So GT, did you play stick-ball with Junior at Andover between lesson on the Classics or are you just another legacy admitted Ivy League know-it-all? At least the folks on the video provided one answer to one question, unlike our leader, who suffering from pre-senile dementia spews rejoinders like "the one answer to that question is..." and proceeds to babble-off four or five unrelated answers..."

    "And GT... I get it: you're kind of a self-superior ass, huh?"

    1. No I didn't go to an "Ivy League" college. Last I checked there are none in Oregon. I went to a private University in Oregon.

    2. No, I am not "self-superior" I am just tired of utterly stupid liberal people who think they can run everyone's lives. I am tired of living under their tyrrany and being their slave. No longer am I going to do that! I am going to work for myself from now on, take as many deductions as I legally can, pay for my OWN health insurance and relocate to another area in our great state that isn't as oppressive and business unfriendly and where there aren't so many California-implanted liberal idiots.

    3. While you're on the topic of ignorance, how about Wyden's geographic knowledge? I heard he can't even locate Iran on a map, making his equally as stupid as President Bush.

  • Col. Pickering (unverified)
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    Yup.

  • Mike (unverified)
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    Wait, were some of those answers wrong?

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