Dereliction of duty

>> Thursday, July 03, 2008

It seems like I've put up a lot of entries, but I have to share this.

I stopped off in Belmont to get my hair cut. It's on my way home, a place I used to go to when I lived there, run by a neat little Vietnamese lady. Anyway, as my cut was being finished, two gentlemen came in and began to discuss politics.

It was educational. I learned that oil is forty cents a gallon in Saudi Arabia--which is overseas somewhere--because the leaders there, unlike ours, care about their people. I learned that the Soviets control much of the oil supply and that Alaska and Canada have negotiated to sell all their oil to the Chinese. I learned that the oil companies could have oil flowing in days if the Democrats would just let the Republicans drill off the coast.

I thought about piping up to mention that the Soviet Union and Alaska aren't countries, but, I don't know, it somehow seemed inappropriate. I sort of feel like we all have a duty to pass on what we know to others, but it somehow seemed more prudent to just pay for my haircut and mosey along.

Anyway, it was interesting, funny, and disconcerting, and I felt I had to share it.


vince Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 5:50:00 PM EDT  

The unwashed peasants, they are everywhere.

Eric Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 6:51:00 PM EDT  

If I came off as that condescending, it wasn't my intent. The ignorance was funny and appalling at the same time.

Belmont is a fairly conservative town in a fairly conservative county in a state that's likely to go red again this year. And if these two men were representative of any larger group, then the reason isn't an educated adherence to principles but an ignorant grasping for them. That's distressing. Significant campaign issues were being discussed by men who were quite confident in their utter lack of any actual knowledge about current events or geography.

It's not right to mock them, I'd agree, but if I didn't laugh I think I'd be physically ill about it. Seriously. The implications clench my gut unless I laugh them off.

Tania Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 6:57:00 PM EDT  

Eric, I hear similar things here, and we're one of the places mentioned.

I would love to know the number of Alaskans (never mind Americans) that can answer the following:

T/F North Slope Crude is exported from the USA

Eric Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 7:22:00 PM EDT  

And now I too have been edumicated a bit!

I actually realized I didn't know the answer to Tania's question, either. So I went and looked around--and I learned two things. First, I didn't actually know North Slope Crude can be exported (since the Clinton administration--how did i miss that), but also second that the issue the men in the hair salon were concerned with is something that has been making the rounds on the internet (although the "It's all going to China" spin appears to be a new variant of the story).

Thanks, Tania!

Nathan Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 8:56:00 PM EDT  

I listened to a couple of black kids last week on a rant about how they ain't gonna vote for Obama cause he ain't really black, so it would be a waste to make him the first "black" President.

They also knew that there had been one black Vice President...sometime around the 1750's.

Shoot me now!

Eric Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 9:10:00 PM EDT  

Ouch. That one may have caused me to have a nosebleed, Nathan. 1750s, eh?

Ilya Friday, July 4, 2008 at 5:38:00 AM EDT  

Makes me embarrassed to be an American occasionally... You know, I live in a foreign country, and in many a conversation with natives I encounter an apologetic "I'm sorry to say that, but Americans are so-o-o ignorant". I'd like to refute that, but I have had too many of similar encounters myself, both home and abroad. The only retort I have is "Brits are not that smart on average, either", which feels awfully juvenile...

Jeri Friday, July 4, 2008 at 7:13:00 PM EDT  

The ignorance is scary. It's amazing what I overhear on the ferry, which is predominantly filled with educated left-wing professionals. (Seattle is a very liberal city.)

Eric, you're not alone, I didn't know the answer to that oil export question either. :P

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