Given the facts on the ground, maybe I should believe in the Easter Bunny instead.
I teach for a living. There are several reasons. One is that I think I’m doing some of my students some good and therefore the society some good, and of all the things I can do for money, teaching is the one for which I show the most aptitude and enthusiasm. I might be able to make more money in software, but the highlights of my resumé are now decades old and in many ways I went into teaching as penance for the ill my old profession, namely video games, have brought to the world.
But education is not a panacea. Some people will believe any ridiculous horseshit they hear because they want to believe it, not because it’s true. I could fill my blog with examples, but this is one this week that has put me in a funk. 20% of Hillary Clinton supporters believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Let’s get that in perspective. 1 in 5 people who support one moderate Democrat believe something that is 100% false about another moderate Democrat. (Don’t believe that National Journal bullshit about Obama being the most liberal senator. Their methodology is very bad, but that’s another lie for another time.) As Clinton supporters, I don’t expect these people are Fox News watchers or Rush Limbaugh listeners. Still, they heard this shit somewhere, and something inside them makes them want to believe it.
A supermarket checkout tabloid called the Weekly World News started publishing back in the 1970’s. It was published in black and white by the same company that published the National Enquirer, and started the new paper when the flagship went to color. I loved the Weekly World News. So did Padre Mickey and Wonders of Science bassist Travis Hunt. It was hilarious. Everything was complete crap. The most famous character they created was Bat Boy, so they kept bringing him back. They also had an alien who met with presidential candidates, but even he wasn’t as popular as Bat Boy.
The Weekly World News no longer prints, but it is available online. I don’t know if they just gave up the joke or they are ahead of the curve on the death of print. The thing I wonder about is this. How many people believed it? More than 1%? My gut feeling is yes, more than 1 in 100 people who saw it in print every week believed it.
Education is supposed to give people some idea of the world they live in, but there are so many toxic waste dumps of bullshit and bigotry and the education budget is so small in comparison, it feels like a losing battle. This sack of shit in a suit is Sean Hannity, a radio talk show jackass and Fox News host. Hannity will say to anyone who will listen that we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Not that Saddam had them or that they have been hidden in Syria or whatever.
We. Found. Them.
Bush said this once in 2003 on a trip to Poland but quickly recanted. Even that liar Cheney, who swears by the discredited Saddam-al Qaeda connection, won’t say we found weapons of mass destruction. The real American expert on the subject, Dr. David Kay, is now only interviewed by people making liberal documentaries because he says outright that the evidence shows Saddam destroyed his stockpiles sometime after the first Gulf War, but didn’t tell anyone to avoid being attacked by any one of the many neighbors he pissed off in his long and dismal reign.
But Shithead Sean still says it. And he’s on the radio and TV five fucking times a week. And he’s just one toxic waste dump on the list of the Truth Protection Agency’s Superfund, if we even had such a thing.
I won’t give up on education. I might give up on this country. If it’s McCain vs. Clinton, I have to think more seriously about leaving. The two main factors keeping me here are 60% laziness and 40% my parents are still alive. I want to be a part of their lives as long as I can be, but watching the lies and liars win in this country again and again and again is making me sick in my heart. As for the laziness, I’ve overcome that before and I can do it again, if necessary. I certainly hope it isn’t.
Much in the same way I hope education will work. Eventually. But I’m not blind to the situation we have right now.
This blog is still alive, just in semi-hibernation.
When I want to write something longer than a tweet about something other than math or sci-fi, here is where I'll write it.