Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Assumption, the dwarves, diversity

Romanesque sculpture of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Happy Feast of the Assumption everyone! Get to church!

Very busy as usual. Later this week I will respond to Sandalstrap's challenge, right now I'd like to point out a couple of interesting news items.

According to a recent Zogby poll, while 75% of Americans can identify at least two of the seven dwarves, only 25% can identify two supreme court justices (even though "Grumpy" and "Scalia" can be used interchangeably for both categories). What fun. Uninformed public = no democracy. Also, 74% can name the Three Stooges while only 42% can name the three branches of US government. Other questions reveal other examples of cultural and scientific illiteracy. This is definitely something that would be a lot more funny if it weren't tragic.

Better news comes from the census bureau, via the New York Times. 60% of New Yorkers are either immigrants or children of immigrants. While this news gets the minutemen to start loading their shotguns, it pleases me greatly. This city continues to be dynamic and ever-renewing itself, diverse, and full of people with imagination, desire to work, and an international perspective. I'm a student and I can't usually afford the shows, the clubs, and the expensive restaurants that amuse wealthy New Yorkers, but I can enjoy walking down the street and seeing the world in all its multiple human beauty, the music of hundreds of languages in my ears. The Chinese chef in the Mets cap speaking Spanish to the Mexican delivery guy wearing a Knicks jersey who will be taking the food to some Ukrainians watching a Jets game. I love this town.

8 comments:

Jeff said...

The Assumption! I totally zoned out. I missed it. I can't believe it...

You stole my thunder on this Zogby poll. I heard the 3 Stooges quotation, and I though to myself, "That's gotta be blogged...". It's pretty frightening, isn't it? How will the Republic survive?

Good luck with the book meme. I posted mine over on Crystal's, but I think I forgot to answer one of the questions.

Sandalstraps said...

Liam,

I can't comment on our collective ignorance. There is nothing left to say. If we refused to be informed consumers of our government's services, then we deserve the services that we get.

But I can comment on New York. There is, it seems, a vast conspiracy to make me insanely jealous of New Yorkers. I was just talking to a friend of mine, who moved from the thriving metropolus of Flemingsburg, KY to NYC a few years ago to do grad work at Columbia. She's now finished with school, has found a job in New York, is engaged and has a great apartment, and thinks that she might stay there forever.

Talking with her about the city made me long to go there. I used to think that I hated the impersonal nature of such large cities, but she hasn't experienced the cold shoulder that your home is so famous for. Instead she has found a warm and welcoming pluriform community which understands that you can't judge anyone for the way in which they choose to live their life, because

a.) it is, after all, their life, and they can do whatever they want with it, and

b.) your own way of living is just as weird.

Anyway, the more she talked about life in the Big Apple, the more I longed to go there. And now your blog has, through its depiction of such a diverse and culturally rich land, watered the seed that my friend planted.

I need an excuse to hop on a plane (no small feat for me - I'm afraid of flying, and almost didn't make it to visit my wife when she was in New York for a conference one Valentine's Day) and crash your city.

crystal said...

I've only been to New York once ... I was amazed by the tallness of the buildings, the huge number of people walking down the sidewalks, the paleness of everyone (who was caucasian) ... so different from California. If I go back, I hope to visit the natural history museum - dinosaurs!

This news is no surprise, as the seven dwarves are more important than the supreme court justices :-)

Steve Bogner said...

If I count the number of times I've been through La Guardia, then I've been in New York at least 60 or 70 times! I've actually visited & stayed in NYC probably 10 times, and I like it. It's unlike any other US city.

I wonder why it is that people are so uninformed? Is it solely a US-thing, or would we find similar things in the Europe & Asia? I wonder. But I do think that part of the problem is the quality of our news coverage here - seconds-long sound-bites of the real issues doen't do much to inform folks.

Liam said...

Everyone is invited to NYC. I will show you as much of the town as my dissertation permits.

As far as lack of an informed public goes, I blame Madison Avenue. I've said that before. People have been trained to have short-term memories and to respond with their id to the latest fashion. They have a two-year-old mentality that responds only to pleasure and pain.

This explains the current state of politics. People do not respond to thoughtful analysis of any given issue, but rather respond to appeals to fear and anger.

crystal said...

off the subject, but I sent for a Rahner book today. I looked at the one you mentioned, The Great Church Year, and it looked very good but it was a little too expensive, so I got The Need and the Blessing of Prayer. Thanks for the help :-)

Liam said...

No problem. Let me know what you think of it.

cowboyangel68 said...

"More Americans can name the three stooges than the three branches of government. Well, that's because the three stooges are more likely to get something done."

---David Letterman