Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Why there's a hint of grouchiness even when I'm in a good mood

It's because of stuff like this.
Americans apparently know more about "The Simpsons" than they do about the First Amendment.
No big deal so far. I hear that "The Simpsons" is a popular animated television program, and it's been awhile since people had high school government class. I couldn't tell you much about Mohs scale, other than talc is the softest. I know more about "South Park" than I do about trig. I'm not that judgmental, so chill.
Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.)
Mildly disappointing. I figure that speech is a gimme, but I would have thought that religion would be easy. Maybe some respondents followed the Supreme Court's doctrine of conflating "speech" and "press," and didn't name both for fear of sounding out-of-date on their jurisprudence. Deserving of a stern "tut, tut", but I'm not throwing any coasters yet.
[J]ust one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms.
No sweat. I double-counted on religion for the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, leaving out freedom to petition. So I'm with the other 999. You're more than forgiven.
The survey found more people could name the three "American Idol" judges than identify three First Amendment rights. They were also more likely to remember popular advertising slogans.
Now I'm getting pissed. I can live with the "American Idol" stat, but advertising slogans? Basically, I've been right all along, everybody's a zombie, those TV commercials are worse than crack, and everyone I know is getting a copy of The Corporation for Christmas.
It also showed that people misidentified First Amendment rights. About one in five people thought the right to own a pet was protected, and 38 percent said they believed the right against self-incrimination contained in the Fifth Amendment was a First Amendment right, the survey found.
Sorry -- the right to own a pet? Like, James Madison and John Jay were sitting around and decided that the Articles of Confederation and the British before them had been insufficiently respectful of hamsters and dogs? The pets had been seized?

And one in five? One in five? No, no, no!

Coming home today, I was giving the stink-eye to strangers on the subway. One in five of them thought that the "right to own a pet" was protected by the First Amendment! When they stand for the Star Spangled Banner, they're thinking about Fluffy; when they read about the Alito hearings, they were confident that their right to own a pet was secure; when they vote for George W. Bush, they think Barney and Spot make him a patriot.

The tragedy is, I love dogs. I'd lay down my life to protect a Springer Spaniel; I'd bear arms to protect Maggie and Oliver. I could be persuaded to amend the Fifth Amendment to protect against the illegal seizure of dogs.

I'm lying on my couch fantasizing about this. One in five carries this shit with them to jury duty.

1 comment:

double entendre said...

This is great.