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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Friday, June 02, 2006

An Angel in My P-O-C-K-E-T

Spelling bee winner Katherine Close credits her win to her lucky angel pendant.

Um. Okay, maybe not everyone else knows Christians who believe that Tarot cards, Oujia boards, and crystals are evil (I just think they're bogus), but...her “lucky” angel pendant?

Aside from my disappointment that this girl has obviously never learned anything really worth knowing (i.e., that winning a spelling bee, whatever knowledge that truly displays—and that’s up for debate—is achieved through hard work and study, not luck), since when, even in the most irrational religious doctrine, have angels been bringers of luck? Isn't that, uh, mixing your irrationalities?

This reminds me of an intriguing book that I saw online:

Theological Incorrectness : Why Religious People Believe What They Shouldn't

This book does not examine why people have religious beliefs, but why they would subscribe to other irrational beliefs (like lucky charms or saints) that contradict their stated religious beliefs (like Christianity or Islam—yes, even though they're not supposed to, some Muslims revere saints).

Mike Celizic weighs in on the popularity of spelling bees:

The geography bee involves actual useful knowledge; your friendly word processing program may tell you that you’ve misspelled Tuscaloosa, but won’t object in the least if you put the town in Idaho or Uzbekistan. And if you intend to travel to Tuscaloosa, it might be helpful to know it’s in Alabama.

But the public doesn’t care. [Me: no shit!] More than half of Americans can’t find Iraq on a map of the Middle East. Fewer still can even identify all of the states by their shapes. But ignorance doesn’t explain the fact that the spelling bee is a prime-time event and the geography bee isn’t. The number of people who are competent spellers is probably no greater than the number who know even the basics about geography.

The difference has to be that Americans don’t think geography is important. But spelling is.

But the sad thing really is that Americans attribute academic excellence (which I’m not sure a spelling bee measures, rather than aping ability) to lucky charms and inherited geekiness.


Blogger breakerslion said...

"Ye gods and little fishes", as my ancestors would have said. It is indeed sad how early and often the "Neverending Godfomercial" convinces people that the credit lies not within themselves, but within their stars, so to speak. My personal talisman is a Frito Bandito politically incorrect pencil ornament that I acquired in the First Grade. ;)

June 02, 2006 8:45 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

My personal talisman seems to be a bag of corn chips, or else it may as well be... Summer is here, and I've been worshipping them shamelessly. Munch, munch.

June 04, 2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger bigdumbchimp said...

I trust in my lucky Baptist foot that I keep in my pocket to make sure I make it through the day every day.

June 09, 2006 7:22 AM  

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