Snooki’s a cartoon character, right?

2012-07-21 11:24

Watching TV with the boys the other night, I glanced up from my knitting and saw a nice-looking boy eating Lay’s chips on the screen.

‘He seems sweet, but not exactly Francois Pienaar, is he?’ I commented mildly, before dropping my eyes back down.

Even the fire stopped crackling in the pause that ensued.

‘Mom?’ asked my 13-year-old Joe, with a hint of panic. ‘Tell me you didn’t just not recognise Lionel Messi?’

‘Lionel who?’ I asked.

‘She’s joking, boys,’ Andreas added hurriedly. ‘Your mother isn’t the least informed person on the planet.

She was a lifestyle editor for years, for heaven’s sake. It’s not possible that she never heard of … oh G... I blame Zite.’

This is the problem with being able to personalise all your own news.

Between Zite, Flipboard and Twitter, I’ve been able to simply remove news that doesn’t interest me from my life … leaving some fairly phenomenal gaps.

I don’t watch television news any more (who does?) and I don’t read print newspapers (oh, look, you do!), so it’s perfectly possible to be oblivious to great swathes of general knowledge.

In Gen X terms, it’s as if we’ve all opted for a single colour of the Trivial Pursuit pie and never even seen the other questions anymore, so we have no idea of the mental lacuna we’ve developed.

And boy, are there some whoppers.

In a world plagued by xenophobia, this can’t be a good thing.

How can you be open to the cultures of others, if you’ve no real sense of what others are interested in?

This realisation is making me rethink my ways. Does this mean I have to find out who’s big in the world of tennis again? (Is McEnroe at least still commentating?)

Is it okay if I don’t care which of the US Supreme Court justices opposed Obama’s proposed healthcare amendments?

Or that I only pretend to know who Snooki is? (Actually that pretence blew up badly a while back. Apparently, Snooki is a person, not a cartoon character, à la Barney or Tinky Winky. This is not intuitive.)

Oh sod it, life’s too short. Maybe, instead of going back to a more well-rounded sense of general knowledge, we could just stop pretending we already know what others are telling us for the first time.

Sorted.

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