Cocking A Snook Too!

Independent, Irreverent Unschoolers – or at least one – Take On the Universe

Don’t Know Much About History. Or Spelling. Or Judaism. September 18, 2007

There was a time – I remember it well – when one could rely upon English and journalism majors to be reasonably literate.

Not so, evidently, these days, I concluded as I read my local university newspaper a few mornings ago. I read this because the one issuing from my community college is dreck (their worst transgression to date: “all the characters kept there clothes on…..”) and the regular grownup paper depresses me. (These people are purportedly college graduates. What’s their excuse?)

Scanning the police briefs (“Smoking male busted in dorm”, “No evidence, no underage drinking charge”, “Man threatens violence over broken cell phone”, etc.), obligatory two articles about professors receiving honors, obligatory article about drinking, seven to ten articles about college sports, and a “My View” column so convoluted that looking at it made my eyes hurt, I stumbled upon this little gem which I reproduce now exactly as it appeared:

Pirates of the Caribbean at world’s end – As the great Billy Joel once sang, “Captain Jack will get you high tonight.” Even though that was more about heroine than pirates….

If you noticed an error, you’re exactly right – there wasn’t a colon between the phrase ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘At World’s End’, which, as discriminating movie viewers, we all know should always separate a franchise and a subtitle, as in ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace’ or ‘Superman XXVII: The Quest for a Viable Script’.

But of course, I jest.

If you spotted the real error in that sentence, you do NOT get a cookie, because you should have gleaned the difference between, say, Joan of Arc (heroine) and a highly addictive opiate (heroin) simply from being alive.

You would think, too, that the average adult citizen would still be aware of the basic concept of Judaism, even if that understanding were blended with bigotry. You would be wrong.

Today was creation myth day in my humanities class, and the teacher – who happens to be Jewish, and in my estimation doing an excellent job of maintaining objectivity and intellectualism – compared the Judeo-Christian creation myth with the myths of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Hinduism. The Rig Veda, in this last category, is truly poetically beautiful:

“Then even nothingness was not nor existence,

there was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.

What covered it?

In whose keeping? Was there then cosmic water in the depths unfathomed?

Then there was neither death nor immortality

nor was there the torch of night and day.”

Anyway, the teacher mentioned in passing, the Old Testament. “Well, it’s the Old Testament to the Christians,” he amended, “but to the Hebrews, it’s just the Jewish Bible.” This guy in front of me raised his hand, and said, “So Jews reject the New Testament?”

Um. Yes. Duh.

The teacher looked kind of surprised for a minute, then responded in the affirmative and continued his lecture. About five minutes later the guy raised his hand again.

“Is it true,” he asked in the rumor-confirming voice you always hear the people on E! using to interview celebrities about their adopted babies and their belief in scientology and their anorexia, “that Jews do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God?”

Bravo! Good job in summarizing the foundation of a religious belief and phrasing it as a question. I’d like to think he was kidding, but I know better.

I realize that not everyone knows as much about religion as I do, not that I’m an expert. But my lack of any definitive religion makes it possible for me to see all religions without the filter of dogma. I take my irreligiousness not as a free ride to ignore the faith of those around me; on the contrary, I try to know as much about their doctrines and cultures as possible. I think that’s just being responsible.

How do you know that little about one of the world’s major religions? How do you miss a misspelled word that changes the meaning of a sentence – even if it’s only off by one letter?

Maybe we should all pay more attention to details.

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3 Responses to “Don’t Know Much About History. Or Spelling. Or Judaism.”

  1. […] Writes Again: Don’t know much about history, or spelling, or Judaism 18 09 2007 If you’re a dimwit or a dullard, do try to stay out of Favorite Daughter’s way . . […]

  2. […] “>Favorite Daughter is minoring in religion, so she’ll be my research consultant. I realize that not everyone knows as much about religion as I do, not that I’m an expert. But my lack of any definitive religion makes it possible for me to see all religions without the filter of dogma. I take my irreligiousness not as a free ride to ignore the faith of those around me; on the contrary, I try to know as much about their doctrines and cultures as possible. I think that’s just being re… […]

  3. NanceConfer Says:

    Hi FD —

    Since your Mom linked you to our latest writing assignment, I thought I’d include you in my search for the perfect, well, at least bearable, religion that I could imagine myself pretending to believe in.

    I’ve looked at Wiccans and turtles and Hindus and Buddhists and Druids so far today.

    None of them really clicked.

    Any brilliant suggestions?

    Nance

    P.S. I’d like to avoid any religion that pushes heroin although heroines would be OK. 🙂


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