4.29.2006

Who you callin' ignorant?

Ya'll, the testy exchange on Islam can continue iffin' anybody's not plum wore out over it--I'll check it onc't in a while, but I am thinkin' on somepin' profound that I'm gonna share wif ya'.
(P.S., they's a new post on the Front Porch too 'bout Mark Twain)

What does we mean when we say know somethin'? What do we mean when we use the terms "ignorant" and "illiterate"?

Now as an ole Mississippi biddy long tansplanted down heah in Crackerville FL, I have eatin' more'n one humble pie to learn that illiterate ain't necessarily ignorant.

Here's the short demonstration: literate folks can put together the letters and corresponding sounds of the letters B-U-L-L to make BULL, a large bovine creature. In children's books the letters b u l l will be accompanied by a picture of a creature and so literate folks will know both the word and the look of the animal by, oh, say, 6 years old.

But they don't know bull about bulls. Wouldn't know how in the world to deal wif' one on the run, fire snortin' out its nostrils.

All they knows is that a certain four letters, assembled in the correct order, make a symbol on a flat page that stands for the animal they see in the picture, so that we can refer to it in the written form. But knowing how to read and write the signifiers (letters in this case) bring zero familiarity wif the real thang. That can be a dangerous definition for "know."

Now down Narcossee way (Whar are yer Mr. Q?) they's some folks that are jeered for being "ignorant". This is a little backwoods crossroads where folks keep goats in they back yards, the front being reserved for rustin' auto parts. These folks aint't so ignorant that they didn't see a good way to get money outa the pocket of their jeerin', uppity city folks by printin' up some University of Narcoosee tee shirts.

What the Narcoosee folks know is bull when they see it and hear it. And they know the real thang, which jes' may come from livin' where real thangs happen--like gettin' trampled by a bull iffin' youse thinkin you can be friendly wif that creature. They's illiterate enough that they doan know nuthin' 'bout hight toned rhetoric nor how to spell supercilious . But they ain;t ignorant 'bout the real thangs of life.

Odd thang is that we'uns--those of us wif assurance that we are so worldly wise--is the ignorant ones, despite being literate.

Oh sure, we know what the flat page signifiying letters F R E E D O M means in the world of literacy, but we doan know freedom as a real thang that can be squandered outa ignorance. This is on account of not havin' been wifout freedom in any real fashion, and so it is only a word, flat and lifeless on a bumper-sticker.

Read the lyrics of the Stars Spangled Banner and iffin' it doan move yer heart thas' cause youse dern well ignorant, no matter how literate youse claimin' ter be.

15 comments:

CJ said...

Amen, Aunty Belle!! And when you read The Star Spangled Banner make sure you find a copy that has ALL the verses!!! =)

Bird said...

Oh, I'm in a mood. My goodness, AB, you just are pissing me off. Good thing I am not into a cross-country flight, or I just might fly out there and peck your eyes out! H

I was with you, to a certain exent, on this post, up until the end.

But apparently, if I am not moved by the national anthem as you are, if i do not interpret it as you do, then i am ignorant?

WTF kind of logic is that? Such logic does not relfect very developed critical-thinking skills, which are the hallmark of literacy - you can learn to read, but if you can't think - who cares?

And yeah, you can have critical-thinking skills and not be able to decode words - absolutely.

Of course, being able to read and throught that ability expose yourself to different ways of thinking and viewing the world generally tends to help develop critical thinking skills.

So back to the national anthem:

I hate it. It is musically wretched and it glorifies war. I'd much prefer America the Beautiful, which speaks to the highest ideals of our country. We may not achieve those ideals, but I would much rather sing of them before the baseball game starts then sing of war (even though that war is the one that created our country - I'd still prefer not to sing of it). I generally avoid taking my seat before the game starts; I arrive a bit late so I don't have to witness the singing of this despicable song. If by chance I am present, I stand, out of respect for those around me, but I do not sing.

And while I'm on a rant - thank goodness the silly practice (instituted after 9/11) of singing God Bless America - in a most annoying display of jingiostic nationalism - during the 7th inning stretch has reverted back to the traditional Take Me Out to the Ballpark.


I prefer to exhibit my patriotism and love of country in a different manner. But then, I'm just plumb-dumb ignrant.

Aunty Belle said...

Bird, honey, you wrote:

"But apparently, if I am not moved by the national anthem as you are, if i do not interpret it as you do, then i am ignorant?"

Yep, ya are. Ya's ignorant about freedom. Here's the logic: like the post, it's possible to know the word and concept of bull, without knowing a live bull or its ways. That's literate, but ignorant of bulls, puddin'. Thas' the problem you have wif freedom-youse got the concept but not the knowledge.

Freedom ain't free--it took a war to git freedom for us'uns...and it could take a war to keep it. I shur nuff hope it doan, I gots young'uns I hope never see no war. But I knows this from wide experience wif those who doan have freedom, or who jes' got it back after a century of brutal oppression.

The Anthem evokes that knowledge
--that freedom was bought at a price and we sing it still to remind us that to *keep* freedom has a price.
(doan give up, we goin' to find us a topic where we gots a good connection. !)

Aunty Belle said...

Hey CJ, now youse got me intrigued, and I'll hunt one down.

velvet acid tongue said...

what'w wrong with the Star Spangled Banner as a national anthem? i think it does speak of freedom and its cost ...

for those of you who hate it - would you rather have 'Oh Canada' ...? lol - i doubt you would ...

Aunty Belle said...

Hidy do, V.A.Tongue, happy ter see ya'.

Ain't NOTHIN' wrong wif the National Anthem in Aunty's view--as I said, we sing it today to remind us that our freedom came with a price and is maintained at a price.

Bird, however, is having some alternate thoughts on the matter. Take it up wif her, if yer of a mind to.

maccusgermanis said...

The charge of ignorance should not even be seen as an insult, even though I know that is so often the intent. It is a diagnosis. Those not moved by the anthem are not stupid, their opinion not invalid, but I doubt they have ever lived in any real fear of those colors being struck. The peom by Key, set to a tavern tune, speaks of that same very real fear being dispelled by sight of the flag. In reminding American's, that live in such a sprawling and secure republic, of their humble beginnings, the anthem is very useful.

Bird said...

There’s never just one understanding of a song or situation. I don’t claim that your interpretation of the song is wrong, misguided, or ignorant. But it is only one view – one side. Here’s another look at the history of the Star Spangled Banner and what the song means:

Yup, Key wrote the lyrics in 1814, as a poem, entitled “In Defense of Fort McHenry” in testimony to the flag that still hung over Fort McHenry as the Brits tried to take over Baltimore. That's the basic, elementary school lesson on the song.

Music was added later (for awhile, the song was sung to an English drinking tune- rather ironic, doncha think?).

In 1916, President Wilson ordered the song be played by the military as a national anthem – this shortly before we entered World War I.

This unofficial national anthem was played at the beginning of the 1917 World Series – in honor of Americans fighting in the Great War. (Thus began the custom of playing the song before sporting events.)

The song isn’t just a reminder of the War of 1812 and the battle for Fort McHenry, it is often used as a propaganda tool to instill a misguided sense of nationalism that sometimes borders on jingoism.

Nationalism and imperialism run amok in Europe played a key role in the start of WWI.
The result of The Great War? 10 million dead, 20 million wounded, a complete redrawing of the map of Europe and treaties that served, in part, as the genesis of WWII. Now, don't misinterpret me here - I am NOT saying that the SSB played a role in starting WWI.

But I am saying this:

Although a sweeping generalizing, I’ll make it anyway- I’ll bet that quite a few people singing the national anthem these days are not thinking of Fort McHenry and our freedom - they don’t know the history of the song at all. Nope, instead, jingoism is often the underlying sentiment when this song is sung. And jingoism is a very dangerous thing.

By the way, the third verse of this song is somewhat offensive to the Brits. Once we made our peace with the Brits and became allies, the third verse was usually overlooked – or deleted. No sense tin insulting our allies – even if the song told the tale of hard-fought freedom. And, the song didn’t officially become the national anthem until 1931.

i doubt i'm any more or less ignorant about freedom than you,AB. but i do have a different way of viewing the SSB. To state that because i see the song differently means I don't understand freedom - that defies logic.

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

aunty. off topic. go read the set-up ardlair did on you and freya at dark times under "yearning"

one dagger in the back is all it takes for me. Im done.

/grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

infinitesimal said...

K9:

Please explain your logic....
I don't get it?

did I miss something?

I know you ALWAYS sniff out the truth.
You have the best sniffer around...

Bird said...

i'm not convinced the comment from anon was a set up by adlair -

my reason: i suspect that if adlair was going to do such a thing, he would do it well, and the comment by anon doesn't read like freya. yes, whatever langague is mixing in with the enlgish has a similar sound or ring with freya's, but the style is completely different. freya's postings and comments are always poetic and starkly beautiful - she has a style that is quite recognizable - and this comment just doesn't have that special, freya style. i think anyone trying to do a set up would have done a better job at imitating freya - it would be less obvious that the comment was NOT from freya.

but it's clear that the topic of conversation here at AB's (this issue of religion,primarily) has aroused very strong feelings and thoughts all the way around and daggers are flying all about. makes flight quite a problem - as well as rational, reasoned, intelligent debate.

i am not casting aspersions on anyone - nor laying blame, fault, responsibility. just describing what i see.

regards to all,
bird

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

vanille and bird
my logic:

the appearance of both susan sa and the recent anon always sound like crazed religious zealots which supports ardlairs negative view of christians.
sheep trapped in dogma.

the timing: these out of the blue posters always arrive at the moment ardlair needs a religious fanatic most.

though susan sa has commented on ardlairs she has never (to my knowledge) followed him to another bloggers spot and commented there. why?

the anon post goes language hybrid like freya regarding a post where ardlair digs on K9 and aunty - weird alignment of timing and content again.

if anon was supportive of aunty and had read what ardlair wrote there then why didnt she comment at aunty's?

now we have the appearance of susans blog -on this very day all of a sudden, again when it is most needed. and i looked at that writing against the first susan sa post and i am not convinced. syntax and flow. usage of slang contractions.

these coincidences makes ardlair at the very least
"a person of interest"

vanille freya said she posted as anon to you before and also to pete but signed her named everytime.
this frothy mouth foam is a result of my lady being impugned by vanille as a drive by poster.

but i aint mad, jus saying........

/grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Aunty Belle said...

Huff, pufff...fannin' myself heah--looky young'uns, Aunty B had to actually WORK inthe last 24 hours!

And then I spent tea time running up an' down the blog road visitin' heah and theah, gittin' plum tuckered out! THey's sompin' goin on! I say to myself--cause I can't understand what is told about over at Bird's nest...then I c'mon home to the porch and LAWDY, the flappin's is heah!!

I doan know nuttin' 'bout this...but I'm off to take a looky at Dark Times...be home directly, so ya'll save me a glass of lemonade.

(rats! I'se thinkin 'bout checkin' on Bird's movie and a new music CD called ALL THE ROADRUNNING by some folks called Mark Knoph and Ememylou Harris (?) cause they tole me iffin' I didn't like this heah CD mah Southern heritage was suspect...that talk cain't be allowed to stand! But now I gotta scurry off to see waht Ardy done did.)

Aunty Belle said...

Macc!! Hey there, real pleased to see ya' Agreed--nothin'insultin' anout ignorance --and youse 1000% right--they jes' doan see yet that they's secure cause of t he feelin' the Anthem gives some. My My....

velvet acid tongue said...

i have re-read this post. something very crucial - which escaped me the first time i read - now strikes me ... you are so right when you say that one really never knows freedom unless one has done without it ... good point.

there's nothing like a spell of going without to make one see things in a whole new light ...