Monday, February 04, 2008

Idiocracy is spreading

[Link to UKTV Gold article] [Link from Raw Story] Well, Americans are known for being dreadfully ignorant of history, geography, politics, math, science, pretty much you name it... unless the question has something to do with the Simpsons or American Idol or the Dukes of Hazzard. Now, 3,000 Brits surveyed by UKTV Gold television has produced some amazing results:

Most thought Sherlock Holmes was real, while 23% thought Winston Churchill and Florence Nightingale were fictional. 47% thought King Richard the Lionheart was a myth. Others popularly thought to be fictional were Mahatma Gandhi and the Duke of Wellington. Even Charles Dickens was thought to be made up by 3% of those surveyed.

What could be causing this dumbing down in a place where we thought they were above it? Too much watching of shows like "Ow, My Balls"? If you haven't seen Idiocracy, I recommend it... and not just because it was filmed in Austin by local creative Mike Judge (Office Space, Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill). I just think it's pretty darned funny, partly because all this dumbing-down is so unfunny.


seybernetx said...

I can't speak for all, but if I was walking down the street and some goof flagged me down and started asking me if Sherlock Holmes and Winston Churchill were real or not, I would probably have a little fun. How sure are you that wasn't what happened here?

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I loved Idiocracy but I hate the idiocracy we have here in the USA.

Blueberry said...

Can't be sure what people's motivations are when they submit to a poll. If you've purposefully given the wrong answer to make the pollster think you're ignorant, maybe it's fun for some people. I would be skeptical that people would have done that with such high percentages, but there's no way to know for sure.

Also, if people in mass quantities are purposefully trying to create an impression that they are ignorant of history, when they are in fact NOT, then that trait alone gives me the impression that they must be a bunch of bozos. What's the point?

Just my opinion.

seybernetx said...

What's the point?

Do you watch Jay Leno? Jay Walking? Who gets on TV there?

Jessica Simpson does the same routine, near as I can tell, and it seems to work well for her, too.

I suspect you could find your own examples if you thought a minute or two.

Want another reason? Check out the Sherlock Holmes Society.

There are a lot of reasons to b*llsh*t a pollster.

PS: Have you ever found the actual poll? All I've found are articles quoting shock numbers from it.

Blueberry said...

sey: I did go and find the article from UKTV Gold and put the link at the beginning of the post. They don't say who actually conducted it but they are ones who commissioned it.

The bimbo thing does work (Jessica Simpson and a list a mile long), I'll agree with that, but you have to be (young and) attractive to carry it off. Dumb and beautiful is a working combo. Dumb and ugly, on the other hand, is NOT.

As for Jay Walking, do you think that those people fake being dumb to get on TV and get to be famous for a minute? It's possible that some are. My opinion is that most are not being intentionally dumb but maybe some are. Did anyone get a minute of fame through their answers on this survey? I don't know.

All I am saying is this: If you are having your knowledge tested on a survey/quiz whatever, and you get the answers wrong, you will appear to be ignorant and uninformed whether it's true or not.

They are either ignorant or trying to appear that way. The result looks the same in either case. It does to me, anyway.

(please note: I am not saying that people don't lie on surveys and cheat on tests.)