Lewis Carroll Gets Scienced

May 15th, 2006

Oh, dear. A couple of great finds today. Some days I find little, others are a treasure trove waiting for me to happen upon it accidentally.

First, a link from Boing-boing that is absolutely fabulous. I wish I were still teaching intro bio just so I could show this video to a class of unsuspecting freshmen. Welcome to science in the ’70’s kids…

Second, an article I happened upon in Eurekalert today asserts that Jon Stewart and the Daily Show may have detrimental effects upon “young Americans’ political views.” Apparently a study was released in the journal American Politics Research by two politcal scientists from East Carolina University that compared how college kids reacted to Bush and Kerry after viewing video clips from the 2004 Presidential Election that had aired on the Daily Show and CBS Evening News. I took a look at the paper, and it is pretty interesting. According to the paper (a lengthy tome aptly entitled “The Daily Show: Candidate Evaluations, Efficacy, and American Youth”), watching The Daily Show makes you more likely to take a negative view of politicians, to be more cynical of the mainstream news media and about the political process as a whole, and to generate self-confidence in your ability to understand the political system.

Uh… yea. Gee, we should really be careful about letting people watch that show. They might actually start to think for themselves or something.

My favorite part of the research article is in the discussion where they bring up Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire, a real news program by the way, in which he absolutely berates the host for serving slop to the public in the guise of actual news because “it’s hurting America.”

The article authors suggest that Jon “should not be so quick to cast stones.” The negative impact that The Daily Show’s brand of political humor has on the youth of today could affect future elections. If viewers learn of the candidates for the upcoming presidential election from Jon Stewart, the authors say that “it is possible that unfavorable impressions of both parties nominees could form.” Additionally, they conclude that this kind of perception could lead to distrust in national leaders, which in turn could “perpetuate a more dysfunctional political system.”

Hell. Maybe we need a little dysfunction just to shake things up a bit. I’m a little tired of the apathy thing, myself.

I can’t wait to see if Stewart and his writers get ahold of this article. I know they will have fun with it if they do.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind