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« Dismaying | Main | On The Radio »

Don't Know Much About History

You know, I'd be embarrassed to ask a question like this:

Daniel Schorr is used to producers popping into his Washington, D.C., office at National Public Radio to ask, on deadline: Which war came first, Korea or Vietnam?

Particularly given the resource of the Internet. But I guess some people wear their ignorance with pride.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 26, 2006 05:20 PM
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Gives a whole new meaning to the word "pathetic," doesn't it?

Posted by Barbara Skolaut at July 26, 2006 08:21 PM

We can only hope that no one asked, "Which came first, World War I or World War II?"

Posted by Jim C. at July 26, 2006 08:29 PM

Just be glad they work at NPR. They could be teaching history!

Posted by Steve at July 26, 2006 08:36 PM

But if you asked those same people, I'm positive they would tell you that Bush is a moron and they're part of the intellectual elite.

Posted by Larry J at July 27, 2006 06:32 AM

Hey! Stop with the hating!

I myself, used to get mixed up whether the end of the Korean war was brought about by the Treaty of Versailles or the Magna Carta.

As GW would say.."It's Hard..."

Posted by W. Ian Blanton at July 27, 2006 07:03 AM

Rand, I think you hit it more with your last paragraph. It's not just ignorance. That's tolerable. It is laziness to self-educate oneself and find the answer. Instead, the producer asks someone they know will always have the answer. They remember it as long as they need to, and then forget the knowledge, except for whom to go to get it back.

I'm seeing the same thing with younger engineering talent.

Posted by Leland at July 27, 2006 07:26 AM

Exactly. Everyone is born ignorant (of everything), what matters is whether we care about and are willing to put effort into alleviating that condition.

Posted by Robin Goodfellow at July 27, 2006 09:52 AM

I loved Archie Bunker's "National Pinko Radio", but now I think NPR means "National Pinhead Radio".

A belief system that is not interested in truth based on objective facts will lead to that smug pride.

Posted by Orville at July 27, 2006 09:52 AM

Wow, had those NPR folks ever hear of these rectangular items made of processed tree material called books? Especially such rectangles of the subtypes labelled history or even encyclopedia?

If that's too old-fashioned for them they can certainly go to google or wiki.

What was it about never openening your mouth and removing all doubt about being a fool?

Posted by ak47pundit at July 28, 2006 07:14 AM

The Viet Minh went to war against the French shortly after the end of World War II (Wikipedia claims 1947). Does that count? I suggest this because the idea that adults are unaware of such recent history, especially adults who are hired to report "news" is just too ridiculous to take seriously. I mean, My God....they have the vote!

Posted by Craig at July 28, 2006 10:22 PM

"They remember it as long as they need to, and then forget the knowledge, except for whom to go to get it back.

I'm seeing the same thing with younger engineering talent."

I live by the philosophy that it isn't want you know but rather where you know to look it up. Since I work at a call center I have that mindset just to keep what little peice of mind I have left. I get calls fielding a variety of subjects all with the assumption that I have complete and immediate breadth of knowledge. Hence, I've become adept at pretending like I know what I'm talking about and multitasking to read all the same help documentation on the fly that is provided to the end user and just interpreting it for them.

Having said that this article is absurd since you'd think a group of people so willing to label anything and everything as being like Vietnam that they'd perhaps be a little more intimately aware of the circumstance. Actually, the fact that they don't explains a lot.

Posted by Josh Reiter at July 30, 2006 12:16 AM

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Posted by wzjmq pwfs at November 11, 2006 01:50 AM

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