Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Reality-Challenged American Public

Ann Davidow has a great piece over at Buzzflash called Americans Often Refuse to Accept Reality. One of my favorite print media columnists, Leonard Pitts, has a column today entitled When Ears Don't Hear, Truth is Futile.

Both of these deal pretty much with the same topic, the tolerance of otherwise laughable concepts and ideas which in a Reality-Based world would not even come up for consideration, let alone discussion.


...in almost every area of concern to the country there is a level of disbelief about anything that resembles fact-based information that is truly astonishing. Despite overwhelming support in the scientific community, for instance, that climate change is a serious challenge to the environment, many voters prefer to ignore those conclusions and turn instead to the limited intellects of political deniers. Perhaps the truth is too scary to contemplate or maybe the Limbaughs, Hannitys and Bachmans are just more entertaining and, besides, thinking otherwise requires greater mental capacity than they possess...
...what many people already believe could not be clearer: Black equals crime. We’re talking about at the mitochondrial level. We’re talking a crime strand on the DNA.
Black equals crime is a formulation as old as slave manacles and as modern as e-mail, the engine driving lynch mobs and lawmen who sold black men into slavery as late as 1945, and cops who pull black drivers over because .?.?. And the tragedy is not simply that many white men and women embrace this damnable lie in the face of all refutation, but that black children hear it and breathe it in like poison till it becomes part of them, till it informs how they see themselves in the world.
Some years ago, I posed a question to an audience of school kids. If a white person is murdered, what are the odds the assailant is black? Seventy-five percent? Hands — every hand in the room, it seemed — bolted into the air. Most of them belonged to black kids.
For the record, the actual number is 13.
Answers to this problem? I don't know. It seems insurmountable. When you have members of congress and presidential candidates believing -- seriously believing -- that the earth is only some 6,000 years old, and otherwise intelligent beings pushing for the inclusion of that "theory" as part of science education in our public schools, when the airwaves are polluted daily by the likes of Rush Limbaugh (who I think is intelligent and doesn't believe half the stuff he spouts -- all the more dangerous for that) and Glenn Beck (who I think is not intelligent and actually does believe the stuff he spouts, all the more dangerous for that), then I seriously question whether this great experiment in democracy (the USA) can long survive.

Jeez, what a bummer today has been... Hopefully I'll get some funny bone back tomorrow. Sorry to be such a buzzkill downer, man...