Mechanical

Time to irritate more friends and readers

Ran one and a quarter miles today, walked a bit and then ran some more. It was nice to run in the rain. I found myself thinking about The Amityville Horror. Even though one of the creators of the story fessed up about it being a hoax long ago, many still seem to believe it's true and even the rereleased movie's poorly done Web site still claims that it's "based on a true story."

Why do people believe this crap? Why are people so credulous as to believe extraordinary things with little or no evidence? Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with escapism from time to time, but can we please be a little discerning, folks? There's nothing wrong with watching that movie for entertainment, but when you start believing this twaddle, what does this say about you? What's worse: why have we done such a poor job educating people that one in twenty are sceptical enough to believe the moon landing was a hoax but many more are so credulous as to believe in homeopathy?

It's a failure of education. People don't understand the danger of a flat tax because we don't learn about economics. People don't understand other cultures because history and social studies are taught as trivia to memorize. People can't appreciate a good book because book reports are little more than a list of characters and a plot summary. Did the author have a point to make? Who cares? The "Da Vinci Coode" had some fascinating information that kept me reading but it was still a fucking awful book that people raved about as a "great novel."

To compound problems, many people don't want to support education. I heard one lady complaining about paying school taxes because she didn't have any children. Never mind that the her doctor probably went to a public school. The person who delivers her mail probably went to a public school. The people making her lattés, bagging her groceries or cleaning her teeth probably all went to public schools. Education benefits everyone, but not only are we unwilling to fund it, there's an "anti-intellectual" sentiment that seems to be running through this country. Of course, that's evident in the pride many seem to have that our President is just "an ordinary guy."

Frankly, whoever's index finger is on the nuclear trigger damned well better be smarter than I am. Fuck this "it's ok to be uneducated" sentiment. It's ok to not be as smart as the next person -- many of my friends dwarf me intellectually -- but's not ok to think education isn't important. Education is one of the core foundations of society.

And then I finally got back to my apartment, soaked to the skin from the rain. It was a pretty good run.
  • Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
One of the things that has really stood out to me about Oregon is the lack of a priority the state government has made on education. It is really sad.
Frankly, whoever's index finger is on the nuclear trigger damned well better be smarter than I am.

Wishful thinking, I'm afraid.

To compound problems, many people don't want to support education.

Not to play devil's advocate here (as I really agree with your position), but our whole system of funding education sucks. The average citizen is not to blame.. the money is just not going where it should. Public schools can't receive even adequate financial support without taking more money out of the paychecks of the average taxpayer, who's been asked to do more with less since his or her own childhood. You were probably hearing the complaint of a person who somehow had to make a couple hundred bucks appear to pay her county income tax (ahem). People who are fucked by the George Bush economy end up struggling not to think like the bastards who run it -- "My money! Not for those people's schools!" -- not because they're greedy or nearsighted, but because they're losing ground and they're pissed.

I actually agree with you, though.. if you lose the long view, and don't step up to support public education, you're really screwed. You're stuck with good old boy figureheads like W forever, and a nation of sheep, while the bankers and popes and oil barons and defense contractors running the show are getting the best educations their money can buy.

I agree with you about The Da Vinci Code too. Great page-turner, but not a "great novel"!

And.. you made an icon out of R's photo! :)
I never heard the Amityville folks admitted it was a hoax. Humm. I'm sure I saw a recent article in fact reiterating their contention that it was not a hoax...
People who are against funding public schools because they have no kids also lose sight of where *they* went to school themselves. It's like "I got mine, the rest can just piss off." Personally I am sick of funding the genocide we are committing in Iraq and would love to refuse to pay for it.
I actually was just thinking about the Amityville Horror thing last night, because I noticed the commercial said "based on a true story." I wanted to scream at the TV - "NO, IT'S NOT!"


But no one in the TV would hear me, anyway. bah.
And on the subject of public schools, I've been battling with this in my head, lately, as well. I went to school in WA, and primarily private school for the most part. When I moved here, I didn't give much thought to the school system as I wasn't even a parent, yet...but am amazed at how terrible the schools supposedly are here, and how much I notice that people really don't care.

I used to drive my ex-husband crazy because I was always so happy to vote to give the schools more money in WA, and in a way, well, it did raise our house payment so much that we were eventually unable to afford the house. So I sort of see his point, but on the other hand, schooling is SO important, and how else are we supposed to keep these schools running than by supporting them?

We are actually thinking of leaving the state or sending our kids to a private school. I don't know what else to do in a state that just doesn't seem to give much value to education. I know a lot of the country is still not doing well in this department, but I've heard that Oregon is actually one of the worst states of all. :(
Unfortunatly when it sais "Based on a true story" could mean nothing more than the people indeed lived there. the whole "Based on" is that it can expand or change detail or plot lines to meet their need. Like the way you go see a move that is "based on the book" and find it is nothing like the book and usually has a different ending lol. It may have the same people etc.

Now dont get me wrong. I am not saying that I belive that it is a true story. I a just commenting on the Based On wording.

Had to get my 2 cents in

hugs
Bear in mind that Fargo also claimed to be based on a true story despite, uh, lack of actuality.

Way to write a hell of a depressing piece of eye-opener. I've been an avid fan of James Randi (randi.org) for some time now, and I just can't believe how much of a bad name critical thinking has gotten of late. "No Child Left Behind" is -- even worse -- essentially the Japanese educational system. One of those things that people don't tell you when they mention that Japan's students go to school 380 days a year is that their educational system consists almost exclusively of: here's a list! Memorize it for the test! To hell with critical thinking! There's also the matter of the Japanese economy actually being one of the world's worst, but we'll leave that for another time.

It really does astonish and horrify me how Bush has a sort of cult of character surrounding him as Our Dear Leader. He can do no wrong! He's just an ordinary guy! Who always happened to have someone very rich to bail him out whenever he totally bombed at his myriad attempts at anything involving money. That, and he was born into a rich family with lots of powerful ties.

I gotta hand it to the propaganda machine, they did a hell of a bang-up job to get so many people to believe something so patently untrue.
If you haven't already, I recommend reading this book:

Why People Believe in Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition and other Confusions of Our Time, by Michael Shermer.

Although if you don't have time, I can give you the answer in one sentence: Because they want to.

While everyone is giving you "keep in mind" advice, do you really want grubby fingered little urchins gettin educated on your dime and stealin your job Mrs. Hannigan?

Keep 'em thick, that's what I say...