While Only Six Percent Could Name Three of the Twenty Questions That Were on This Poll the Last Time It Came Around

Lordy, it’s yet another poll designed especially to show how ignorant Americans are.

According to the poll by Zogby International, commissioned by the makers of a new game show, 57% of Americans could identify J.K. Rowling’s fictional boy wizard as Harry Potter, but only 50% could name the British prime minister, Tony Blair. …

Just over 60% of respondents were able to name Bart as Homer’s son on the television show “The Simpsons,” compared to 20.5% who were able to name one of the ancient Greek poet Homer’s epic poems, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.”

I just can’t bring myself to get all that riled up over the fact that four Americans out of five can’t name either of Homer’s epic poems. Half being able to name Tony Blair actually seems pretty good to me, and why it’s supposed to be significant or meaningful that this is a whopping seven percent fewer than could name the title character in a series of books and movies that has been relentlessly hyped for the last several years is a mystery. Well, no, not really a mystery; the comparison is obviously chosen in order to make 50% seem like a poorer showing than it is.

Going to the trouble of actually taking a poll about all of this just in order to bemoan the ignorance of Americans feels to me rather like the intellectual version of setting your table with fish knives and salad forks just for the fun of seeing who gets them wrong.

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