Public’s IQ suffers from infinite apathy

By Mark McGowan

Drinks, sex, cigarettes. Ford Cortinas, household pets. Bombs, wars, famine, death. An apathetic public couldn’t care less.

I don’t know if you’re into hardcore punk or not, but those words come from an old thrash tune called “Apathy” by the Subhumans.

We used to sit around in high school and sing it a lot. It was our hymn of political and social awareness. We always thought when we got past high school, we’d find what we were looking for and could stop singing.

I guess we were wrong.

Incident: A guy called here last week because of a test in his sociology class, he told me. He said he knew one of the questions to be asked was the name of where the Soviet Union had just supressed an uprising. Did I know, he asked?

First, I laughed and asked fellow newsroomers if I should tell him. They said I should, so I did. Second question: How do you spell Azerbaijan?

Incident: Early this week. I came in during the middle of a heated discussion in the newsroom. It began with Louis Farrakhan but progressed to gun control, religion, sleep, abortion and dreams. It was great.

Everyone was really informed on the issues, but I wasn’t surpised. These are news people and they’re supposed to be informed. Sorry if my bias shows through.

Incident: Last week, President George Bush gave his State of the Union address. Unfortunately for some of you TV addicts, the prez took an hour.

As Republican as I might be, Bush gave a lot of smarm. It almost sounded like campaign promises, but I thought it was important to listen. It might have been hard to cut through all the applause, but the words and meanings were there.

In one of my classes, our professor wanted to know who heard the speech. I think I might have been the only one. Doesn’t anyone care? If you don’t, this column’s for you.

When Farrakhan was here last week, did you go? Did you at least read about what he said and what others said about him?

Did you know about the Communist Party allowing multiple political parties in the Soviet Union?

Did you go to the abortion debate Wednesday? The actual debate was quite interesting, but the questions and answers afterward disturbed me. It seemed like no one asked questions; they just said what they thought and hoped one of the two women would back them.

Anyway, if you’re the kind of person that starts reading the Star on the Fun and Games page or only watches sports telecasts, it’s time to gain some responsibility. As a soon-to-be college-educated adult, you’ll need to know and understand the news of our changing society and world.

Realize this: Journalism is the “first draft of history,” so think what you’re missing if you don’t watch the news and read the papers. You can be an incredible 1990s history buff years from now if you just keep up. It’s all right here…on your TV, your radio and in your newspapers and magazines.

You can be as informed as you want. You can have relevant discussions. You can already know about Azerbaijan without having to call a newspaper.

As for me, I’m still singing the Subhumans. Want to hum along?