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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:49 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Sandra - I'm a grumpy old git and proud of it!  Very Happy

Mind you, I studied physics and, for postgraduate, mathematics (well - mathematics related, at least). But I've forgotten all the physics I have ever learnt, and am embarrassingly rusty in all areas of mathematics that I do not use at work. So I am no great advertisement, in short, for the education system, and would do well to shut up on this point!

However, over the years, I have been dismayed by poorly written letters we have received from teachers - sometimes from English teachers, or from head teachers. It's hard to keep one's indignation on these matters under wraps...



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Chibiabos83
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandraseahorse wrote:
(NB so that I don't appear a Grumpy Old Woman ranting on about today's youth, I find Trueblood on University Challenge deeply impressive)

With you there. Shame he's an Oxford man, but you can't have everything.


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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 2108


Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. I could identify all those book titles - even the James Ellroy one. But I have read none of them. I've read very little Joyce, and no more than 20 or 30 pages of Maddox Ford, and only a handful of pages of Ellroy (enough to tell me he's not for me - I loathe his prose style!). I'm not sure being able to identify the book titles really makes me any less ignorant than the contestant; all it proves is that I read book reviews and criticism, and tend to remember book titles.



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it does make you less ignorant. It shows at least that you have sufficient awareness of literature at least to know of those titles.

Someone who can name some of the top batsmen or spin bowlers may not necessarily be knowledgeable about cricket, but in relative terms, they are certainly less ignorant than those who can't.

I don't think I'm disputing the contention that knowing the titles is not necessarily indicative of any great knowledge. But not knowing them is surely indicative of ignorance.



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chris-l



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That I could complete all of the missing titles does not reflect any particular glory on me: with a 40 year career as a librarian behind me, it would be a pretty poor show if I could not. I have read many, but not all of the books in question, is something I am perfectly happy to admit. What does strike me though, is that my parents, both of whom left school at 14, could have correctly answered most of these questions, and between them had certainly read several of the books mentioned.

I think the problem comes down to what my husband frequently bemoans, a decline in what he calls general knowledge. It is all very well, as so often happens, to defend this by saying, 'yes, but we can Google it now', but the problem is, by relying on that, there is no longer any context for what we know. During those many years as a librarian, I spent a good deal of time on enquiry desks of one sort or another, and always liked to think that, even if I knew nothing about the subject of the enquiry, I did at least usually know what area of knowledge was being talked about. Of course, I sometimes got it wrong, but I can probably still remember most of those faux pas, whereas the times I hit on the right subject were all in a day's work.

I find it a little depressing that in order to hold a normal, intelligent conversation, one might first need to Google the subject under debate. I appreciate that knowledge is now a very complex area, but it does seem sad if the only common culture we have with our peers is at the most banal level.

I do not write off the whole future of our culture: I have children and grandchildren who often surprise me with their insights and knowledge. But on the other hand, I do feel that I am becoming more and more a Grumpy Old Woman. The old I cannot help, the grumpy I would rather avoid. I suspect that that, too, is inevitable: I do remember so many older people from my youth who were quite convinced that civilisation was in decline, because the young simply did not have the level of erudition that they claimed for themselves. I it bothers me that I am now filling their shoes.


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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am coming late to this part of the conversation (as usual) but I happened to catch that particular episode and I felt incredibly smug at that time because I recognised all the titles in fact at one point I was shouting the answers at the TV.

I know its probably a case of little things please little minds but the fact I knew something which someone who was studying English at Uni (regardless of the fact it was language and not literature - a point she didn't make clear until prompted) made me smile.



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know we've drifted a bit off -topic here (from lack of knowledge of grammar to lack of knowledge in general) but this may not be entirely unrelated: Tom Stoppard says here that the various cultural references that audiences were expected to pick up not so long ago, nowadays they, by and large, don't:

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-31294431



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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the Upper circle - I didn't know in which band Syd Barrett was a member.


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chris-l



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
Posts: 731



PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I sit next to you, then? I failed on Sydney Barrett and also on the Tzara question, but I still qualified for the Upper Circle!


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Chibiabos83
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Full marks for me, but it probably helped that I went to see Stoppard's The Invention of Love on Friday (which I partly understood) and had a conversation with a friend afterwards about Tristan Tzara.



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