Friday, April 03, 2009

God Must Love Beetles and Fools ...


... else why would He have made so many of them?

Last night, eleven-forty or so, I'm in the kitchen, rinsing supper plates and loading the dishwasher. My wife is asleep in the chair, the tube is on, and Jay Leno is doing Jaywalking.

So I finish and drift back into the living room to watch.

If you've never seen this segment, here's what it is: Leno takes a cameraman and mike out to Universal City and waylays passersby, to ask them questions. The questions are of the Who-is-buried-in-Grant's-tomb? caliber; that is, you have to be something of a boob to miss them.

So, it being close to Easter, Leno asks questions about that. If you are a Christian, you certainly should know what the holiday means, the Resurrection of Christ and all, but several people missed that.

Now, it might be possible that you don't know how the bunny came to represent Easter, it being an ancient fertility symbol and all, but the one I really liked was: 

"When was Jesus born?"

I can even understand how you could be a Muslim or Hindu and maybe not know that, but if you are able to speak the Queen's English and you live in this country -- or any western nation -- that ought not to be a head-scratcher. Look at the fucking calendar.

One woman said, one million years B.C.

Leno, struggling to keep a straight face, said, "Jesus was here with the dinosaurs?"

"No, before them."

Of course, he doesn't show the thirty people who looked at him as if he had just gone barking mad, and then gave him the obvious answer, but still.

But what is truly amazing to me is not that they didn't know the answers. It is that they were willing to let Jay Leno put them on The Tonight Show in front of twenty million people to show just how ignorant they are.

Mencken was right: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public ...

9 comments:

Bobbe Edmonds said...

"When was Jesus born?"

The base equation is incorrect, no accurate answer can be given.

We CELEBRATE the brat's birthday on December 25th, that was decided at The First Council of Nicea, in AD 325.

But when he was born?

Could have been April Fool's day, for all we know.

Steve Perry said...

True, but you can probably justify 2009 years, plus or minus and not get held up to the cold light of network television ...

James said...

Do you know how hard it is to keep a straight face when this happens:
"What was the suspect driving ma'am?"
" He was driving a large, red Vulva"
or
"Where did the suspect touch you?"
"He put his fingers in my Virginia"
You really can't make this crap up.

Worg said...

"Could have been April Fool's day, for all we know"

I don't think there's much doubt about that.

Dan Gambiera said...

First we have to establish that Yeshu ben Maryam actually existed. There's scant evidence for and a lot of credible doubt about that.

Steve Perry said...

Ah, I see, I have happened up the Society of Hair-Splitters ...

Perhaps Jays should have rephrased the question:

Assuming there was an actual Jesus, what is the generally accepted time of his birth, plus or minus a few years?

This to people offering that the Easter Bunny laid eggs -- if, of course, it was female ...

William Adams said...

There's a quite a bit of evidence that Jesus existed as a real person in actual history (whether or not he was the Messiah or the Son of God is a matter of faith which we'll try to leave out of this discussion) --- one has Flavius Josephus, a near contemporary and several other historians of the time commenting (negatively) on his god-hood, but confirming his existence.

William

Steve Perry said...

Anybody bright enough to offer any of these responses wouldn't have made it onto the show ...

Steve Perry said...

Kevin T. has left a new comment on your post "God Must Love Beetles and Fools ...":

"Of course, he doesn't show the thirty people who looked at him as if he had just gone barking mad, and then gave him the obvious answer, but still."

True. It's good to hear someone has some sense, and knows Jay didn't happen on 20 random people and air their 20 responses. Anyone that's given surveys as part of a sociology class can attest how boring that is.

Also, I love the opening quote, and that's how I found this page. I can't remember where I originally heard that quote, but I suspect it was either in my Human Evolution or my Philosophy class in college.