Reality check, comedy break

Just two quick notes on what Tunku Varadarajan cleverly calls the “belligerent unenlightenment” of a portion of the American population:

First, the former assistant manager editor at The Wall Street Journal points out that it could be worse:

I am less worried by the fact that a fifth of the inhabitants of this great country believe that Obama is Muslim than by the fact that 60 percent of them are unwilling, or unable, to accept the scientific basis of evolution….Political bias can be a fleeting sickness; profound ignorance, on the other hand, can be incurable.

And second, because it’s just too damn funny not to share, a peek at what one columnist in Great Britain (a friend from an earlier post on a different subject) has to say on the topics of 5600 foot tall mosques, spatial relationships, and trespassing at Buckingham Palace.

According to a recent poll, one in five Americans believes Barack Obama is a Muslim, even though he isn’t.  A quarter of those who believe he’s a Muslim also claimed he talks about his faith too much.  Americans aren’t dumb.  Clearly these particular Americans have either gone insane or been seriously misled.  Where are they getting their information?

Where indeed?

The Formula

Let me introduce you to the family of Marine Lance Cpl. Shane Martin of Spring, Texas, and ask you to join me in apologizing to them.  It wasn’t enough that they lost a loved one—the 23-year-old Martin was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan last week—but now they join the ranks of the grieving who’ve been victimized by Houston’s Leading Information Source.

Actually, I commend the paper for running a story about local servicemen and women who are killed in war—it should remind us that our children are fighting a war, something many find all too easy to overlook these days.  But why, why, why does the Houston Chronicle have to keep running The Shot—

Martin family

Yeah, go up there and talk to the family, grab a few heartwarming anecdotes, then ask them to pose for The Shot: get them all lined up on the couch or a line of chairs, looking real sad like, and holding or touching the picture.


We’ve talked about this before—I can presume the family is unhappy about Martin’s death (if not, you’ve got a different story); it doesn’t help me to see them portrayed like victims.  I feel like I’m intruding on their grief.  But the editors run The Shot over and over again, sticking to the formula because then they don’t have to think.

Oh yes, there’s a formula…it’s different for print than it is for TV, or for radio or the Web, but they all have them.  On BBC4, they don’t mind explaining it.

C’mon, Chronicle, don’t let yourself become more of the butt of the joke.