Most of us just don’t get it…


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,        

A friend sent me this posting (below), which I bet most of us will find
funny, if a bit painful as well, for it is all too true... It reminds me of
a statistic I once saw, that of the people protesting the Viet Nam war,
actually only 20% or so did it for morally logical reasons, rather than
simply because they did not want to be sent to Viet Nam or to see their
loved ones sent there.

I guess the serious reflection to come of this is that for those of us who
are not missing the point so entirely, it is really important that we manage
to "take the toys away from the boys". By that I mean, we need to work to
prevent certain things from ever seeing the light of day, be it household
batteries, which we have no safe way to dispose of, or nuclear arms, etc.
because we know very well that we, as a species, are quite incapable of
handling such "toys" safely. ACtually, what I said about batteries goes for
computers too! But just as it would be possible to at least greatly reduce
our dependence on batteries, or at least use them in a much safer way, it
would be possible to use computers safely too. At least one young computer
programmer I know told me that it is possible to build computers out of
ceramics instead of platics and to make them last longer or to be imminently

We are all guilty (for here I am writing to you on a platic computer...) But
since we share the guilt in common with others, maybe, just maybe, we can
also work together to find common solutions. I will not give up hope...

all the best, Jan
Date:   Thu, 30 Sep 1999 17:48:51 -0300 (ADT)
From: Paul A Falvo <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Priceless!

79 Percent of North Americans Missing the Point Entirely

Ottawa, ON -- According to a Carleton University study released Tuesday,
79 percent of North Americans are missing the point entirely with regard
to such wide-ranging topics as politics, consumerism, taxes,
entertainment, fashion, and professional wrestling. 

      "From the overweight housewife who eats bag after bag of reduced-fat
Ruffles, to the school board that bans Huckleberry Finn for using the word
'nigger,' to the Manhattan stockbroker who uses recycled-paper checks to
pay for gas for his behemoth SUV, the tendency of North Americans to
really just not get it transcends all boundaries of class, color,
religion, sexual orientation, and political persuasion," said Dr. Ronald
Shaw of Carleton's Center For American Studies. 

      Polling nearly 8,000 North Americans on a variety of subjects, the
study found that only 21 percent of those surveyed had even the slightest

      "Our research revealed that the thought processes of a large majority
of Americans are profoundly and fundamentally flawed," Shaw said. "We came
to define this peculiar deviation as 'having one's head up one's ass.'"

      Offering an example, Shaw said that when a group of people who had
undergone cosmetic surgery were asked, "Why do some individuals feel the
need for cosmetic surgery while others do not?," 54 percent of them
responded that people who opt for such procedures have greater self-worth
than those who don't.

      "In other words," Shaw said, "they believed that people who don't feel
the need to spend thousands of dollars on facelifts and collagen lip
injections lack pride in their looks, failing to acknowledge their own
wholesale buying into the notion that in our society, a person's value is
determined by his or her appearance."
      Another manifestation of the missing-the-point phenomenon, Shaw said,
is college students' habit of purchasing posters that advertise products.
"Companies normally pay to have their wares touted," Shaw said. "But an
incredibly high number of college undergraduates are willing to plunk down
15 for a poster of the Taco Bell chihuahua or Budweiser lizards, enabling
companies to generate revenue from something that is supposed to be an

      The study also cited the public's constant call for more wholesome,
family-friendly movies that do not insult their intelligence, as well as its
failure to patronize such films when they are offered.

      "To date, Adam Sandler's Big Daddy has grossed $161 million, with a
majority of its audience consisting of children under the age of 14," Shaw
said. "Contrasting this is the challenging, critically lauded flop The Iron
Giant, which has barely broken the $20 million mark."

      Despite the preponderance of evidence supporting its findings, the
Georgetown study has drawn widespread criticism from the American public.

      "If I want to miss the point, that's my own business," said Ernie
Schayr, a Wheeling, WV, auto mechanic. "If I want to complain about having
to pay taxes while at the same time demanding extra police protection for my
neighborhood, that's my right as an American. Most people in other countries
don't ever get the chance to miss the point, and that's tragic. The East
Timorese are so busy fleeing for their lives, they never have the chance to
go to the supermarket during the busiest time of the week and complain to
the cashier about how long the lines are and ask them why they don't do
something about it."

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