“Jaywalking” is a hilarious and terrifying sketch in which Jay Leno “tests” fellow Americans on their basic knowledge of history, geography, etc. Of course, we see the most outrageously incorrect answers on air, but it is truly scary at times how utterly clueless our (voting) countrymen can be.
That said, watch this clip in which Leno quizzes Americans about some basic historical facts in relation to Independence Day. What is particularly striking about this clip is the final sequence: he quizzes a father and a mother and their son about some basic historical facts, all of which they catastrophically fail to answer. Then he calls to the “grandfather,” who gives us a glimpse into the inheritance of a childhood education before many of our purported educational “reforms” (and, perhaps evidence of an age when reading was more common). It is a stunning conclusion to a rather depressing demonstration.
I know nothing about this family, but one wonders how the self-confident knowledge of one generation failed to be transmitted even two generations into the future. Writ large, it is representative of the situation in which we find ourselves, surrounded by information but knowing less than our “ignorant” forbears.