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 elite...it 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.