Monday, December 08, 2008

More for the "dot list"

Aaron Corvin, a former student, has weighed in on the "dot" list.

More questions (and a thought or two):

What is the difference between information and knowledge?

How does the public become "informed" or "knowledgeable"? How do you know the public is either of those things? By what measure, if any?

Which vehicles media ((the medium is the message))) does the public use to obtain information and/or knowledge? Increasingly the Internet? Newspapers, print or online mostly? Their neighbors? Television? Radio? Video games?

When they obtain information and/or knowledge, do people act? Or just talk? Or forget it? Or ignore it? How do people use information? What information is useful?

My thought: I recall talking with Rick about Sarah Palin (yes, I know, this is a tired subject, but ...). I think his comment was that she isn't stupid. Maybe she's even smart. But what was her education? Rick said he recalls Palin saying her First Amendment rights were being violated because people were criticizing her. Huh? Hello? The First Amendment doesn't work that way.

How is it possible for a major candidate for a major national public office to fundamentally misunderstand the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? (Palin demonstrated this again in her debate with Biden when she remarked that the vice-president presides over Congress !?) What happened where Palin went to school? Or, better yet, what didn't happen?

My guess: No civics lessons whatsoever. No sense of what the country was founded on. No teaching of US history and of the Bill of Rights, beyond perhaps scratching the surface. Do you need these things to become the governor of a state?

To carry this further, go back to "Idiocracy" (the film): If all you're concerned about is where you're going to get your next box of Cheez-Its, and whether Channel 8 will have reruns of "Friends," then why shouldn't media (newspapers, too) give "the people" what they want? Paris Hilton, a slogan or two about America, and a 12-column inch story about a neighborhood shooting with no answer as to whether crime overall is actually up or down.

Who's to blame here? What happened to us as Americans? Why so much candy and so little broccoli?

Or am I off my rocker, and things are better than I think? Sarah is, after all, back in Alaska cooling her Jimmy Choos.

Questions, questions ... perhaps the dots will begin to connect ...

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