Curiosity

I do not understand how curiosity can be a trait so few people have. Curiosity enough to actually learn something, I mean. How is it that I’ve actually been looked at strangely after saying I have a dictionary at home? Do people really make it a habit of simply ignoring words they don’t know? Similarly, what would you do if a child asked you a question about why the sky is blue or what the sun is made of?

I read an article once about parents who, for whatever reason, seem unable to tell their children they don’t know something. What better opportunity is there to not only teach something, but to teach a child how to find out for themselves? Goodness, if there’s a more valuable skill than how to find information, I don’t know what it is. The article quoted a zoo employee who related some of the ridiculous things he overheard parents telling their children in answer to their questions about animals. It makes me sad to hear crap like this.

It also makes me wonder where these people were when they should’ve been in school. Take Sherri Shepherd, for example. She’s the newest co-host on The View. According to The Daily Backgrounder, they discussed the shape of the Earth on her very first day:

One of the co-hosts of The View, Sherri Shepherd, said she didn’t believe in evolution so co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked her if she believed the world was flat or round. She wasn’t able to answer, using the excuse that she was too busy being a good little housewife to think about complicated things like matters that science settled hundreds of years ago. Amazing.

Partial transcript:

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Is the world flat?

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Is the world flat? (laughter)

GOLDBERG: Yes.

SHEPHERD: …I Don’t know.

GOLDBERG: What do you think?

SHEPHERD: I… I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it.

BARBARA WALTERS: You’ve never thought about whether the world was round or flat?

SHEPHERD: I tell you what I’ve thought about. How I’m going to feed my child…

WALTERS: Well you can do both.

SHEPERD: …how I’m going to take care of my family. The world, is the world flat has never entered into, like that has not been an important thing to me.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK: You’ll teach your son, Jeffery, right?

SHEPHERD: If my son, Jeffery, asks me ‘is the world flat,’ I guess I would go look it up.

JOY BEHAR: You know, didn’t some person already work this question out? I mean, why are we doing this again? (laughter, applause)

Interestingly, after I’d written what appears above, Jessica told me Shepherd was on Letterman and explained she was new to The View, nervous as hell, and didn’t hear the question properly. I can certainly understand nervous, but she must have heard the question because she repeated it back several times.

Whether Shepherd falls in to this category or not, it makes my head hurt to even imagine there are people walking around out there who not only don’t know the most basic facts about their surroundings, but don’t have the smallest urge to know. It’s not even a matter of one’s curiosity not being great enough to make the effort to find out, but not having even thought about it?

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