Tuesday, February 05, 2008

At least it's not U.S.

I can't say I'm particularly surprised:
Never, in the field of human ignorance, have so many known so little about famous Britons.

A quarter of the population think that Winston Churchill never actually existed, a survey suggests.

[. . . ]

According to the survey of 3,000 respondents, many believe the inspirational Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, Cleopatra and the Duke of Wellington are also characters dreamed up for films and books.

Some think Charles Dickens was himself a character in fiction rather than the creator of David Copperfield, Oliver Twist and Martin Chuzzlewit.

In a damning indictment of the nation's historical knowledge, many of those surveyed said they believe Sherlock Holmes was a real person, along with the pilot Biggles and even the Three Musketeers.

That's pretty sad, but then again, 25% of the people with whom I interact are blathering idiots, and I only give that low a percentage because I'm feeling unusually magnanimous today. It is good to know, in a twisted sort of way, that it's not just U.S. education that, well, sucks. I'm sure there are good educators in Great Britain who genuinely care about what their students learn and the quality of their own teaching skills, just as there are here in the States, but I'm equally sure that such educators are being beaten down by a system that rewards mediocrity and the lowest common denominator at the expense of actual education, also just as it is here in the States.*

That being said, thinking Field Marshall Montgomery and Gandhi are fictional while believing Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood are real is pretty bad.

*Ms. S, I apologize for that run-on sentence; I swear I paid attention to you in fifth grade.

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