So, exactly ‘what’ ought a grown man know these days without Google?

The subject came up, not only from recent comments by proven ‘grown men and women’: Duncan with Marcel Marceau and Elanor with Alice’s restaurant, but also from my own experience. The famous-names I (trust me, reluctantly ) sometimes need to drop are more and more un-droppable, at least with any audible bang.

Here in Israel, however, I’m constantly amazed by being able to simply cite ‘Amish’ as my heritage, instead of boringly itemizing: ‘a ‘race’ of farm families, exiled from Switzerland, living in Lancaster County, an area of Pennsylvania, a state among 50 in the United States of America, Western hemisphere, planet Earth, you can look it up.’
Films like ‘The Witness’ and ‘Boys from Brazil’ save me hours of explanatory hoo-hah, for better of for worse.
Yet, as Donald Fagen (the guiding light of Steely Dan, a musical group popular like, before you were born) said in ‘Hey Nineteen’: “She don’t remember…the Queen of Soul”.
Trust me, I sob as I write these lines, the thought of I-phone-ists searching ‘Urethra Franklin’ after ‘R ES P E C T’ slays me.

Justifiably? Aye, there’s the rub.
We are all fighting the expanding borders of the ‘of course you’ve heard of’ . To the point where ‘FCL’ is now a respected acronym for ‘Feigning Cultural Literacy.’ Perhaps no one more than Duncan, (Some Witty Handle), in his sly comments has driven my personal browser traffic to WIKI, in order not to appear to be hopelessly dense on topics a real Renaissance man should master.
And so, I repeat the Title: ‘Exactly ‘what’ ought a grown man know these days?’
We’re all familiar, I assume, with polls which show half of’ Americans’ failing to identify Canada vs Mexico on a map. The Libertarian presidential candidate, ‘Johnson’ somebody,’ recently had a red-faced run-in on TV for asking innocently ‘What’s a ‘Leppo?’ And ‘Donnie Thump’, whatever, is now a viral meme ‘#book reports’, with tweets ‘facetiously, for now, saying ‘So many grapes, so much wrath!’ and similar even funnier parodies. I’m at least relieved to have Ms. Rodham to vote for in a week or so. Sure as I am that she could not, with a straight face, propose a ban on ‘Merchandise from Venice‘.
So yeah, Shakespeare, etc. But what of Aretha? Euclid? Newton? (‘famous back then’)
Not to mention…um… ‘Jsolberg’..

Aha, once again, it was the immortal SWH who called out the existential fear, in a recent post, by its name: ‘the fear of becoming irrelevant’.
To tell the truth, seeking to become a ‘house-hold name’ these days is doomed: ‘So many names, so few houses’ . The effort may be truly a tasteless GMO carrot on a stick, driving us onward toward an eventual and certain slaughterhouse as the curtains fall.

Ok, I can quite easily be dismissed as a ‘past-his-sell-by-date’ ranter on ‘kids these days’. And in fact, to me, Pearl Jam is ‘that gunk that lives between translucent-nail-polished toes’.
But History does repeat itself, and without common(?) Knowledge, it returns… as Tragedy, then Farce, and finally, Trump. (‘He don’t remember/ who said ‘America First!’ first’)
I’m far from recommending a ‘Core-curriculum’ here.

So what, that I could draw a map of the US with all 50 states named and present, freehand. Only on a WIFI-less island these day would that make me King. Any third-grader could download and print a three-color map before I got my pen working nowadays.
Hoping for anyone’s input here/ JS


13 thoughts on “So, exactly ‘what’ ought a grown man know these days without Google?

  1. promisesunshine

    so you’re from Amish land. That I didn’t know. Guess I could have. I know how to say “Lancaster County” exactly right, by the way. (no pesky ou sound). Makes me a tad curious about things that I’m not curious about. Well, that was cryptic in ways that were more cryptic than usual, and definitely not at all what you would think. I was born in Allentown, not of my parents. There. slightly less cryptic.

    I think it’s kinda cool that people might not what urethra is. Agreed. Aretha is better.

    Is this fear of irrelevancy a part of maturity, I wonder. Kids these days have no worry about that. At least most of them. One of my kids does and so does a good friend of hers (who I just noticed as been strangely silent lately). I think this fear is present only in certain people. Meaningful people. What do I know.

    I saw a piece of some roast that happened this week after the 3rd debate? Our girl, at the end, said some very good things. That boy and his barbie smiled like vapid frogs through the somewhat witty things she said before that. Makes me think that this ordeal we’re going through right now is a big joke to them.

    I hope to be somewhat worthy of your intelligent posts in the future. I’m going through a not very smart phase currently.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Phases aside, your (and my) goal is simply to set examples daily, Kids aren’t born ‘trumped’; they learn it by watching.
      And I’d love to actually hear how you pronounce ‘Lancaster’ and ‘County’. Text is virtually helpless in this case, sadly.

      1. promisesunshine

        wag a doo doo. I googled. regarding below.
        My girl said to me today that she sometimes feels like an idiot. I said that she is not because I know she would never vote for Trump (if she could). The look on her face was enough to make me feel quite successful. The look on her face when I said I know people Here. Women. Intelligent women. who would was even better. I will take this victory. She said a lot of other great things too. Accepting people. (Trump aside) and so on. Anyhow. Pardon me for gloating a bit over a small victory.
        it’s cool to see what time it is where you are.

  2. eleanorio

    I fear this is a perennial problem, Yonatan. Every generation has complained of the lack of knowledge of the succeeding one. We are not alone. However, our kids (and grandkids, gourd-willing) have one advantage we never did: every single piece of information that ever existed has been recorded and uploaded to the Cloud® where it can be accessed by tech-savvy school kids much faster than it used to take me to run to the full set of Encyclopædia Britannica™ and look it up back in the day. All you have to do is mention an unknown, and they’ve got their phones whipped out, Googling® it.

    By the way, I remember having to label an empty map of the U.S. in junior high, as well as one of Africa. That was trickier, mostly because the names kept changing. I am extremely doubtful I could do it now without looking stuff up.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Yes of course no one regrets the present, and surprisingly recent instant access to ‘everything’. My question still remains: what ought to be stored in the nekkid human’s ‘soft-drive’? besides how to click or point. Just today a net outage left millions wandering in the wilderness (even literally) . Not to mention clueless as to the capital of Burkina-Fasso. Manitobu?
      I agree that it’s a repeating generational complaint, but this time, I contend, ‘different in kind’. I sometimes view the ‘phone-stuck-to-face’ crowd as adult-diaper addicts who have gradually lost any need or desire for bladder-control. Or worse.

      1. eleanorio

        Well, since you put it that way, I think everyone should be given a crash course in wilderness survival, including pitching shelter, making a fire and snaring rabbits. Really, nothing else matters.

  3. somewittyhandle

    I deeply believe there is still some point in knowing something, as we oldies do.
    Part of the enjoyment of seeing a movie in the cinema, rather than at home, is the sensation of sharing the experience, and sharing the story, with other people. It would spoil it a little if I looked around and saw the rest of the audience had been asleep all along.

    I greatly value the stalwarts on this site, who have stayed up past the others’ bed-time, and are sharing the popcorn.

  4. solberg73 Post author

    Your understanding of the ‘value-added’ of watching a film along with others should have been obvious to me years before it finally dawned on me. (independently, at least!) I’m frequently alone watching meteor showers, with no one save a lap-full of kitties with whom to share the excitement of ‘Wow, that was a big one! Once I even screamed toward the 4AM street. Was worth trying at least; like SETI.
    On further reflection, most of my posts are actually plaintive eulogies for the days when , perhaps I dream, references were ‘caught’ in real time. (My next post, for example, titled ‘Me ‘n Mister Jones’; Both ‘Bob’ Dylan and the immortal Teddy ‘P’ singing ‘Me’n’ Missus Jones’. would appreciate it, but where are the rest of the theatre-goers.
    Thanks, as usual for your insight.

  5. solberg73 Post author

    With you, I feared nary a second: I’d call you ‘Chancellor of the ‘X’ checker, clicking ‘X’= ‘got it’ on just about anything I come up with. But there’s also a nice ‘back-bench’: ‘ready on day one’: El, Melfamy (Greg), Chrome-Poet (where have you gone?) Tim Roadkill, The Happy Heathen, plus the sweet Promise-me-sunshine, who reads and reacts dependably. I could possibly get Furtner out of hiding if I worked on it, and others I sadly left out for now.
    Still, the theatre holds 250.
    Three generations? My Dad almost confiscated my first Dylan album back in ’64, so I’ll have to await grand-kids to rival that.

  6. Roadkill Spatula

    My kids and their nerdy friends know vast amounts of information that I have no reason to know. It’s selective, though. They possibly would not know where Kuala Lumpur is without consulting Google, but they can tell you all about Middle Earth and Japanese fantasy cartoons and certain superheroes. They have read some of the classics as well, possibly as many as I have, and probably paid more attention to them.

    I am horror and struck (as James Thurber wrote to Sam Goldwyn) by the provincialism of many Americans, however, and by their poor orthography and general cluelessness. They truly deserve a candidate like Mr. Trump.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Yes, my own sons, as well, have at least ‘heard of’ just about every wiki-worthy entry under the sun. Heart-warming.
      As to ‘deserve’ Trumpf? ; a book (library?) could now be written on that question. While there is a certain Schaden-freud glee at seeing low-info low-lifes get their come-uppance, we are, even here in Israel ‘in this together’.
      IDK, I’m looking at this election season as a car which suddenly starting missing, or not starting, then ‘fixed itself, apparently. But (and you are surely conversant in this) the owner can thereafter never have that blissful confidence he once had in the baby, ‘it can happen here!, yes and again and again. 2020, 2024… I now carry plugs, 2 spares, and a full set of tools in my Subaru. Not sure what the equivalent would be for someone wanting to keep a sane democratic process on the road.


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