Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hey! I made you guys a present!

Don't say I never did anything for you! (wink)

It's not perfect, but I had some fun making it today. Hope it gave you all a chuckle. And if you'd really like to snag it, feel free. I'm thinking of resizing it and putting it by my Trekkies for Obama button. Ha ha!

I'm not going to beat the fruit fly thing to death, but it did get me thinking a lot today. (Uh oh....) As I told Indigo, last night I had steam coming out of my ears, but I'm a little more reflective today. Before I got up this morning, I was thinking about what it is that bothers me so much about not just Palin, but the general tone of the GOP's campaign lately. The word that sprang to mind was "incurious," and when I read my comments, my friend Dan-Guido had remarked that Palin isn't "intellectually curious." We both had the same thought, but I definitely like his phrase better!

That's something that is really bothering me lately. It's not just the recent GOP tactics of portraying anyone with a college degree, or anyone who dares to show a broader knowledge of issues and a broader world view, as someone who is "not one of us," it's the general pervasiveness of anti-intellectualism. The campaign keeps throwing out that word "elite." The liberal elite...the Washington seems that anyone who doesn't believe the way they do, or shows a desire to look beyond the superficial meaning of things, is somehow "elite."

I'm not sure when a thirst for knowledge became something to be ashamed of. This was something that was fostered in me and my sisters by my parents, and encouraged in Ken by his father, and by his mother in her love of reading. Palin's ridicule of fruit fly research in Paris, France (and I do wonder if she was referencing the Pasteur Institute) was cringe-worthy. Did she or her handlers not bother to do at least minimal investigation as to how something like that might be important? Google "fruit fly research," for Pete's sake, and you'll turn up all kind of references as to how these tiny insects have aided scientists in numerous research efforts and countless studies. It is not something to take lightly, and it disturbs me that she seems patently unable to understand that.

Palin strikes me as someone whose world view is so narrow that she simply cannot comprehend why something that makes no sense to her whatsoever might be important to someone else. If it doesn't exist in her world, it's not worth learning about and it's not important. This is not just about the campaigns and those involved with them; I've seen it in people I encounter in daily life. A feeling that someone who is curious about the world around them is somehow pretentious, or a know-it-all, or "putting on airs." There is nothing wrong with a healthy curiosity about a variety of subjects, and it's an admirable goal to want to further your education. Not everyone is able to do this, but that doesn't mean that learning has to stop. It didn't stop for my parents, although they didn't go to college.

I'm also disturbed by the fact that Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol Palin's baby, has dropped out of high school in order to get a job in the oil fields. I'm not mad about it, I'm not self-righteous about it, I'm not condemning anyone for their decision...I just find it really sad that the kid (and yes, he IS a kid) is not finishing high school. I wonder what kind of life they will have, and I hope that he is able to at least eventually get his GED.

The narrow-mindedness I've been encountering lately boggles my mind. The inability to see a broader world view is not only sad, it's dangerous. I know it's not easy to step outside our comfort zone, but it's imperative that we begin to do so, and try to understand that we are not the center of the world, anymore than the Earth is the center of the solar system, as so many once thought. (Copernicus got a raw deal, didn't he?) I had an email this morning from one of my uncles about a forward he'd gotten concerning alleged quotes from Obama's books. My uncle said that he knew I'd read the books, and he wanted to know if these quotes (mostly concerning race) were real...and if so, didn't I find them scary? I wrote back that one suspicious thing was that no page numbers were provided, that I thought that they were taken out of context, and that some of these quotes rang a bell, so I did a Snopes search. Sure enough, the exact email he sent me has been widely circulated, and the quotes were either out of context, rearranged, or were not Obama's words at all. My 80-some year old uncle cared enough to ask me if it was true. Why are others not investigating what is truth and what is lies?

But again, this transcends politics, although Palin's lack of intellectual curiosity (thanks, Dan!) is what got me to think along these lines. This is about an inability to take "one step beyond," and to realize that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. The attitude of ridiculing someone for furthering their education, or for pursuing research that you have deemed laughable, is not being "salt of the earth." It is foolish and dangerous.


  1. I love the button, but I wish you could tell me how your really feel about that worthless, ignorant, elitist shopping Palin!

  2. Well. First of all, anyone who thinks they know it all is not intellectually curious. Many people are intimidated by knowledge that is beyond or outside of their mental village. Palin, like George Wallace, is appealing to those people.

    I've been ridiculed all my life for the books I read and my choice of music, accused of pretensions and "putting on airs." It's something that those who want to improve their understanding of things have to put up with.

    I think the Republicans are trying to appeal to the "common man" in their campaign, Joe The Plumber, et al.

    Levi probably thinks he's doing the "Heman" thing, sacrificing his education to take care of his family, noble sounding but foolish.

    The sad thing to me is that all this talk about wardrobe, fruit flies, weathermen and grandmother is taking all the focus off the really important issues which should decide the election.

    DB - The Vag

  3. I hate those kinds of emails... and I always do the urbanlegends search on them if I doubt authenticity. I send them back to the sender with a link to the snopes link. WHY CAN'T PEOPLE DO THEIR OWN SNOPES SEARCHES!!! How hard is it? Anyway, I loved the button... cute. I went by Obama's campaign office today and collected some Obama material to take to school. Don't know if they will mind me posting it in my classroom. We'll just have to see what happens!

  4. It pays to keep an open mind and I've found I'm never too old to learn something new.
    'On Ya' - ma

  5. Not to start a religious war here, but I think you can pin a lot of Palin's incurious nature on her particular brand of Christianity. There is just something about that religion and a belief that the Bible is inerrant that stultifies its followers and leads them into a very ignorant state of being.

    Both Obama and Biden have their Jurist Doctorates from Harvard and Syracuse respectively. McCain graduated from the Naval Academy 894th out of 899, and Sarah Palin attended five universities and colleges in six years before getting a degree in Journalism (and she still couldn't name a newspaper or magazine when asked).

    The thing that infuriates me is this growing number of arrogant people on the right who condemn the educated as being elitist. That's something Stalin and Pol Pot did, and if you're going to install fascism and turn our nation into some sort of mad theocracy, you have to marginalize the educated because they're going be the first to stand in your way telling you the answers you don't want to hear.

    Sorry for that rant. Didn't mean to get off track. This is just one of those things which truly rankles me.

    Anyway, getting back to fruit flies, here's a short film that should be required viewing for all science students:

    Loved it.

  6. Love the Button! My Father always told me to read, and had many books on the shelf! He made it a point for us kids to get Library cards, and after that it was our Disney World. He stressed to me that Books is what kept him sane in Vietnam, and that life will educate us more than any book! In her case she denies science for global gains, and is close minded! If the focus from politicains was spending, then why don't they forfeit their paychecks?


  7. NEWS ALERT - After Beth's election button became public, election officials across the country reported a new breed of voters swarming around early election headquarters. The new breed? Intellectually curious Fruit Flies!!!!
    Your button and artistry rocks!

  8. I'm always open to learning's sad that others aren't. I loved the button. It's sad that Levi dropped out of school...I wonder who's idea that was?

  9. Don't know why this isn't allowing me to 'read' as I comment, because there are several things to speak on.

    The 'incurious' bother me too, unfortunately on a more direct level. Whenever I am in a large group, I always pause and ask if I am in this group because I want to be, and did I come to this point because of things the began within me.

    Don't know how or why it began to be 'cool to be dumb'. But like other negative aspects from African American culture, maybe that too has made the migration to wider society, and many of the 'broken' social rules for our group, was developed to control and surpress ...

    ... which makes my point of one that says Orwell was right and that the ruling class would get the masses to believe that 'Ignorance is stregnth).

    The whole Levi Johnston thing looks like a shotgun arrangement. Period. Talk about a not ready for prime time player ... another call on the judgment of selecting such an ill prepared running mate. Makes me think there is some hypocrisy going on in their household ... so why would I think she should be a part of a new administration (one, btw, that started off with a carry over of the last one)?

    I liked how Dan contrasted the education levels of the 'group of four'. Come on people ... there is something to it. Wasn't Dubya working with the same stuff?

    To me, if you can't trust yourself as foreman or as a supervisor where you work, do you want the pointy-headed guy to be company president? Sorta the same logic applies here, IMO.

    Sorry for the ramble!

  10. This inspired alot of lengthy commentary.

    I wasn't one of those kids who grew up with parents encouraging me to be all I could. It was something I pursued relentlessly. Even after I left home and took on the punk attitude and attire. I wasn't ashamed and wore my intelligence proudly. For me it my rebellion to know who I was and how far I could go.

    In this day and age with internet access, (I know a homeless man that goes to the library to get online by the name of River) there is no excuse not to stretch your awareness and intellect. Books are available for anyone to read. There are free classes offered up all the time to further your education.

    What worries me is the whole attitude tough is better than intellect. What comes next a communist state? Do we start getting censured on what we're allowed to read, how we live? After all that do they start handing out jobs according to what they think we should do, instead of what our intellectual capabilities are.

    The 'incurious' is more scary than anyone might realize. (Hugs)Indigo

  11. cute tag :) I voted yesterday; so glad to be looking at everything going on in a different light today now that I proudly cast my vote; I haven't followed what is going on regarding the fruit flies; thought maybe it had to do something with the fruit flies California has a problem with at times

    I didn't hear that the baby's father had dropped out of school, however, I guess its not totally unexpected in a teen pregancy; with the work I do through church with a group of teen moms, its amazing the stories I have heard and some of the dads, if they are still in the picture, have dropped out to find ways to provide for their babies; I too wonder about their future of any teen parent without an adequate education as well as any teen that drops out of school, pregnant or not


  12. Great button, I also love the trekkie button. I agree with you that the lack of intellectual curiosity is a scary quality in anyone but particularly in our leaders.

  13. umm so many comments ! It took me an hour to get here!(lol)
    do you think that it is labels that divide us?
    interesting concept


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?