Toby continues ranting: "Thousands of madrassahs teaching children nothing, nothing, nothing but the Koran and to hate America!" Notes: "Madrassah" is an Arabic word for school. And to eagle-eyed readers: I transliterated it "Koran" because I'm not crediting Toby with the awareness to know it's more accurately Qur'an. Toby: "Who do we see about that?" He pauses. "Do I want to preach America? Judeo-Christianity? No." Should I even bother to point out that Islam is as closely allied with either of those traditions as either of them is with each other? Feh, why waste my breath? Toby: "If their religion forbids them from playing the trumpet, so be it. But I want those kids to....look at a globe." The irony of this particular example just cracks me up, since nationwide testing in the U.S. repeatedly shows an incredible ignorance of geography in particular, with students and adults of all ages performing very poorly on tests of various kinds (even things so simple as finding the state of New York on a map of the U.S., or labelling the Pacific Ocean on a map of the world). It also makes me think of Canadian comedian Rick Mercer's very successful segment on a Canadian show called This Hour has 22 Minutes, entitled "Talking to Americans." He did short little on-the-spot interviews with Americans ranging from average schmoes to high-ranking politicians, revealing the most incredible ignorance about Canada and things Canadian (not to mention a stunning degree of media susceptibility). Bottom line: the Arab world and the developing world have no monopoly on ignorance, or myopia for that matter. The United States doesn't have a monopoly on education or intelligence or, for that matter, righteousness. Toby continues: "Be exposed to social sciences, history...some literature." What a boon that would be for all the undereducated people of the world, North Americans included. He hesitates again and then reiterates: "They'll like us when we win." No, no..."they" won't. "They" may have no choice but to submit and lick American boots (hmm, that sounds oddly familiar), but that's got nothing whatsoever to do with liking or respect. Andy packs up her paragraph and her stuff and softly says, "Okay." As she's about to go, Toby mumbles, "Let me take another look at the softer language." Andy hands him the paper and leaves without a word but a slightly wry expression. It's not quite a smile.
Episode Report CardDeborah: F | 604 USERS: C+
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