Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Radio Stations and Spreading the Ignorance

Today, I was listening to the radio as I often do on my way to work when they asked that extra special trivia question that you hear once or twice a year. "Who was the first President to be born in the USA?"

The answer of course is Martin Van Buren. He was born December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook New York. Interestingly, the President after him was not born in the USA.

This of course, got the DJ's talking ignorantly about the constitution and about how it says in there that all Presidents must be born in the USA so how was it possible that up until Van Buren, they weren't and the one after Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, also was not. So, they ignorantly conjectured that these guys had been born in Europe somewhere and had come to the USA prior to the creation of the USA.

All the Presidents of the USA were born in the USA or in a territory that would eventually become part of the USA. William Henry Harrison was born February 9, 1773 in Charles City County, Colony of Virginia. George Washington was born February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia, British America.

Anyway, I don't know why this is interesting to me. I think I would have been a lot better at history if they would have personolized it rather than made it all about dates and number. I like people. I like knowing when they were born and where they lived. I've been reading lots of historical fiction lately. It gives history a personality. I did a blog a while back about birthdays and Presidents.

I also got hit a few times with a civics quiz I was asked to take. I finally broke down and took it. Is civics based on history or math or common sense? Some of the questions were obviously historical. Others seem rather mathematical or logical. The historical ones I surprisingly got mostly right. The mathematical and logical ones I missed. I assume the correct answers were based on history rather than logic. I scored a 77 . I'm not telling anyone else. I'd be the lowest scoring Libertarian. Very embarassing.


  1. Cute. I took the civics test, got 91%! I guess I was always the teacher's pet :p. One that I got wrong was just me not seeing the correct answer 'cause it was below the fold....

  2. Geez, I took the civics quiz...

    You answered 30 out of 33 correctly — 90.91 %

    How did Anonymous get a 91? Now that I've learned you are a documented D student, rather than an A student, much of the nonsensical things you seem to think are understandable. The ramblings of a D student.

    And now that I know you're a D student let me give you the benefit of some of my A student knowledge. History is not just about dates and names. Quit reading historical fiction, unless it is Gore Vidal books, his are good. Read some real history books. You'll find them far more interesting than fiction. Unless you really are a D student. I was about to give you some reading assignments, but the phone just rang and I gotta get outta here.

  3. Teacher's Pet: In my old age I have determined that some things are less important to me than they once were. I no longer strive to answer "correctly" :). It's my only excuse.

    D, 90.91 and 91 are equivalent in integer based mathematics. I think my score was actually 76.87 or something crazy. Also, when I was in school 70's was a C. I'm reading "Gates of Fire" right now. It's quite entertaining. Doesn't help me with American history though. I'm anxiously awaiting your list of required reading.

  4. i think that in these days as the number of radio stations are getting bigger is the time to stop and think about what we are listing on the radio.