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Some things are guaranteed to make me angry.
People who text during movies.
Filling out my tax returns.
But nothing inspires such fiery, unadulterated quivering fury as those people who flaunt their own ignorance like a trendy trophy.
This is nothing new. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about the subject before.
And here is a reincarnation of such complaints, in the form of the Titanic anniversary.
As you may or may not know, last week was the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster, in which 1,500 people perished in the icy Atlantic waters on April 14, 1912.
To commemorate the anniversary of its sinking, media outlets ran stories. A cruise ship led curious history buffs to the site of the ship’s watery grave.
And some people jumped on social media site Twitter to announce that they did not know the sinking of the Titanic was a real event.
Seriously. Believe me, I wish this was a joke.
They apparently believed the story of the sink’s sinking was just a movie plot, thanks to the popular re-release of director James Cameron’s 1997 Oscar-winning hit “Titanic.”
First, I blushed.
Then, I got angry.
It’s bad enough that 53 percent of people don’t know who our Supreme Court chief justice is. (It’s John Roberts, for those of you playing at home).
It’s bad enough that most Americans can’t locate Iraq on a map. (60 percent of those polled by CBS News in 2009 couldn’t find it. It’s been three more years, but I’m not holding my breath).
A popular podcast host, Jeff Bakalar, recently gave his own rant on the subject of Titanic ignorance and railed against the tweeters, saying that “It’s almost trendy to be an idiot: I’m so adorkable!”
It’s not trendy. It’s dangerous.
It may seem like a trivial thing to be outraged by, this lack of knowledge of the Titanic disaster.
But that’s not the only slice of ignorance that concerns me.
Every day, we’re asked to think about and weigh the consequences of complex issues that will have a real affect on generations to come.
The war in Afghanistan.
If we always need someone like James Cameron or dancing cartoons to explain that these things are important, and that they will become part of the fabric of American history and legislation, then we’re in big trouble.
But what do I know. After all, one of the Titanic tweeters (@charlibobsss) sent this reassuring post about his Titanic disbelief:
“At the age of 16 it’s not essential to know history like that.”
Yes. I feel so much better now.