Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's True. I'm A Snob. You Should Be, Too.

When people's lives are focused primarily on television shows, celebrity antics, pizza delivery, Nascar *, sports, farting, belching, frantic sneaky extra-marital sex, having their own way in everything, leaving work early, going to work late, not going to work at all, gossip, yelling as a way of life, hitting when things don't go their way, and looking after #1, how can they stand themselves and each other? I'm serious. And why would any sentient person even sit by someone like that, let alone marry them and breed with them and be seen in public with them?

I know people who yell a lot and to be perfect honest, and you know I will be on this blog, nothing they have to say is remotely interesting to me. I don't do "yelling." Raise your voice to me and I'm out of there, mentally for sure and physically if at all possible.

I'm a people-watcher, and there are times when I've wondered if some peoples' heads contain anything that doesn't resemble styrofoam peanuts. Is it really possible to sustain and nurture any kind of relationship based on a mutual love of American Idol and Flamin' Hot Cheetos? What kind of children will such people bear, and rear? (Wait, I already know the answer to that one. . . .)

I know I'm a bit of a snob - people have been pointing out that little fact for years now so don't bother - but this kind of life seems really, really, really, really shallow to me. Life without intellect. . . . life without constant intellectual exchange. . . Life without debates and conversations and trivia contests at the dinner table and music and art and knowing how such things are put together and playing 6 Degrees of Separation with all kinds of topics. . .I couldn't live like that. I wouldn't want to, either. I'm not saying, either, that EVERYBODY should know the things I know, but I want to know things others know; shouldn't everybody want to know everything they can possibly absorb in the short time they're on this earth? It seems sometimes that some people work hard so they won't have to learn things, rather than work hard so they can.

Americans know every detail about Britney and Lindsay and Mel and Tom, but how many Americans can name five scientists? Five distinguished politicians - not the overweight pork-bound stupid scandalmongers who drown girlfriends in lakes and get by with it or actually believe blowjobs aren't sex - but five distinguished, scandal-free, honest, kind, decent politicians?

There are Americans who have Dale Earnhardt up on a pedestal and who lay flowers at his grave and practically revere him as a god, but who have no earthly clue who Clara Barton or Father Flannigan or Virgil Grissom were, and if they did, they wouldn't care. Beer! Tailgate! Cars all covered with advertising! This was never meant to be a lifestyle.

There is probably not an American alive today who can't tell you something about Bill Clinton's sexual antics in the White House, but how many people can tell you a single thing about his actual presidential accomplishments?

Kennedy snogged Marilyn Monroe, but what else did he do?

Who's been to the moon? Who conquered polio? Whose fortune funds your public library? What did Alfred Nobel invent that enabled him to set up the Nobel Prize? Can you name five people who have won the Nobel Prize?

There was a movie about Ghandi. Many people don't know he was a real person. What did he do?

What's the address of the White House? Who was the first president to live there? What First Lady instigated the Hot Lunch Program in all American schools?

How many Americans know that George Washington turned down the proposal that he be crowned king, and that it was he who established presidential protocol, ie, we don't bow to the president, etc.?

What is the name of the janitor who cleans your office? Is he married? Does he have kids? I bet he knows YOUR name.

Why does the Pentagon have so many bathrooms? And no, it's NOT for your personal convenience.

When you play Jeopardy, do you know at least half of the answers?

Can you make at least one connection between any famous person and something else that affects your daily life? When you read or study anything, ANYTHING, can you connect it with something you already knew? Is your schema constantly activated? Do you have tons of prior knowledge to lay on the table?

What nation launched the first satellite into space? What was the satellite's name?

For whom were the planets named? Why? Who named them? Do you know each planet's similarity to the entity for which it was named?

The first telescope was about as powerful as a child's binoculars. Who invented that weak little telescope?

Can you think of an invention that was created by accident? Did Columbus really discover America? What are these "microwaves" that heat your oatmeal every morning?

Safety pins are handy little objects. So are zippers. What did people use before they were invented?

Most Americans can recite all kinds of sports stats. Can you recite a poem? Can you name five famous living poets? Five living authors? Five dead authors?

Wahh, wahh, math is hard. I can't do it without my calculator. Why should I EVER have to do it without my calculator? Can you add a column of a hundred big numbers with a piece of paper and a pencil? Teachers used to do that every six weeks, for every student. Can you figure a square root with a pencil?

Can you tell the difference between satire and racism? Do you have any sense of historical context when it comes to studying literature, science, and history? If you don't, you're easily and often offended. If you do, you laugh a lot, shake your head a lot, and understand almost everything you read or hear.

How big is your vocabulary? The more words you know, the better your understanding of the world and the better the world can understand you. (By the way, it's ". . . make ends meet," NOT ". . . make ends meat." Dear Lord. A college graduate actually asked that question.)

I love to observe people talking to one another, in restaurants, airports, waiting rooms, etc. I'm not saying that I sit there and make judgment calls, but I do tend to sit there and make judgment calls.

People whose children are running wild in a public place probably aren't talking about Darwinian theory or comparing a book to its movie adaptation. Men who think bodily noises and odors are hilarious and classy probably don't converse about citizenship and the importance of discipline in our schools. Women who have affairs with married men probably don't converse about proper behavior or philosophical ethics or Plato or morality. Grown men who don't remove their hats inside a house or public building probably don't listen to Bach or read. . . much. Adults who honestly believe they've got a right to sit and rest with friends and have a coffee and a croissant while their toddlers destroy the restaurant and get angry if the owner asks for "inside voices" probably weren't discussing missionaries or tutoring or foreign policy or volunteering. Children raised in homes with Jerry Springer will often enter kindergarten completely illiterate and with no clue about how to hold the scissors except to stab things. Adults who drink too much, use drugs, fool around, curse constantly, and hit, generally breed children who don't know how normal, decent people are supposed to behave, and who either wash out completely in school and life just like their parents, or somehow, miraculously, transcend their parents and become wonderful human beings who love learning and make their own living. I love it when that happens.

Many Americans don't even KNOW anybody who earns their own living. Many of them don't even know how a person would go about earning their own living. Many Americans have permitted themselves - and yes, it's ALWAYS their own fault - to become adults who have no skills whatsoever that might earn them a living.

In any group of a hundred people, 95 of them are like the people on my blogroll and my Google reader: kind, intelligent, considerate, thoughtful, decent, ethical, helpful, hardworking, interested, interesting, and thirsty for knowledge. It's the same in most schools. Most people are good. Most people mean well. Most people try.

What a shame that the majority of the world's attention, money, and interest seems to focus mainly on that 5 percent that are the complete and utter opposite.

A shame, and a travesty, and a disgrace, in fact.

Awards, rewards, badges, certificates, trophies, and self esteem mean nothing unless they're honestly and individually earned by accomplishment and merit and work. Prizes for showing up are a joke. Trophies for trying, ditto. Every kid knows there are no points "given" for missing the basket, no matter how angry your mommy might be that the mean scorekeeper didn't understand how HARD he tried and how MUCH he wanted those points and how UNFAIR it is that the other kids on the team are taller, etc. But I've ranted about this before.

And I'll probably do it again, because our culture is going down the tubes and most of it is due to people insisting on their share of the pot even when they haven't put anything in the pot.

Why yes, I might be a tad opinionated. Why, what's your point?

*No offense meant to Nascar fans who also know how to carry on a conversation about Einsteinian theory and Scrubs, and who can pick out the fine points of a Sondheim counterpoint.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:41 PM | |


I am Mamacita. Accept no substitutes! Hitting the fan like no one else can. . .
I'm Speaking at BlogHer 08 Archives Links

My Classical Blogroll

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Mamacita3855. Make your own badge here.

Credits Powered by Blogger

Designed by Swank Web Style
< <


Honors Blogrolling.com Hot 500


Lijit Search/a> < BlogHer.org Logo


Listed Subscribe with Bloglines

View My Public Stats on MyBlogLog.com

Personal Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Listed on BlogShares


DIARIST.NET Registered!

Technorati Tags:

Technorati search

Free Hit Counter