Friday, April 20, 2012

What price ignorance?

As evidenced by a great many tweets yesterday, the late Dick Clark, Mr. American Bandstand himself, is a virtual unknown among today's young people. That should come as no surprise.

The Atlantic's Megan Garber observes:
What's interesting, though, is what the [tweeters] -- and their thousands of fellow "Who's Dick Clark?" queriers -- did with their ignorance. Rather than do a Google search for "Dick Clark," rather than look him up on Wikipedia, rather than avail themselves of the approximately 5,000 other web-based mechanisms that exist solely to rectify the world's ignorance, these people asked their followers on Twitter.
But then Garber argues: "It's easy to make fun of the people who broadcast their ignorance, it's much better to celebrate them. They're a collective reminder that, with the world's knowledge newly at our fingertips, the only thing worse than ignorance is indifference." I'm not so sure. In The American President, Lewis Rothschild (Michael J. Fox) heatedly asserted that people were so thirsty for leadership, "they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand." President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) replied: "Lewis ... People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference." That trumps Garber's argument about dumbitude, methinks.

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