Stickman Readers' Submissions July 9th, 2009

Further Comments On Will The Wise

I agree to a great extent with Korski’s opinion of Will’s pearls of wisdom. However, I am going to cut him more slack than Korski did. He is not retarded, but merely incredibly ignorant. This is a correctable condition. And if he stays in the west, western women being what they are, he will get an education that will clear up his shortfall in experience. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from exercising bad judgment. Of course he may be incredibly lucky and hook up for life with one of the very few western women that are “genuinely sweet, confident, thoughtful, and most of all, very respectful and friendly.” During many years of research I have only run into one, other than my mother of course, but will allow that I may have missed a few. Being “blessed” with age, I no longer believe that my experience is the sum total of human knowledge.

Back in my Navy days we dealt with lots of ignorant young recruits. They cycled through the crew on a regular basis, so you got used to being patient. We said there were four levels of learning that they all had to go through:

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  1. Aware of the vast scope of their ignorance.
  2. Able to recognize the correct answer when told.
  3. Knows the answer when asked.
  4. Knows what questions to ask. (This is the most important level; and one never achieved by all too many.)

Will seems not yet to have achieved level 1. I hold out hope for him. I wish him well on the great disappointments that life is about to hand him. However, I will say that I have some doubt to his ever reaching level 1. It requires that he have some opening in his mind that allows for growth. That capacity is not apparent in what he submitted. Life may yet smash him up side the head with a two by four and get his attention, but, then again, maybe not.

My recent experience working with guys in their early thirties or younger is not heartening. When I use a cultural reference from prior to about 1980 they are totally clueless. Nothing that occurred prior to that time exists in their universe. It is as if the Disco Era is an impenetrable barrier. Casablanca is probably the best movie ever made, with Citizen Kane as a contender. Both were made much prior to my birth (I am not that old). Yet I am aware of the brilliance of those that have gone before me, and am able to appreciate it. The younger generations seem to have missed all things prior to the invention of the Apple computer; as if all time started at that point. If you don’t know that you stand on the shoulders of giants, then you get that streak of arrogance that Will exhibits. They think their generation stands on the mountain top, which they reached on their own. The old joke said of very privileged people was, “They were born on third base, and think they hit a triple.” (Sorry for non Americans who may not understand the baseball reference.) I especially hate the arrogance where the youth of today assume us baby boomers have ruined the environment, the economy, and accomplished nothing to advance society. They have no clue that the environment (in the US) is much better. No rivers have caught fire recently (as the Cuyahoga River did in 1969). Eagles and grey wolves are all over the place in Minnesota now, while they were practically extinct when I was an ignorant teenager. You can now breathe the air in LA without fear. Life expectancy has increased dramatically on our watch. Racial equality and gender equality have made tremendous strides (with some way to go). We are much further from blowing up the world with nuclear weapons than when we baby boomers took over. It isn’t even a concern to the millennial generation, while I remember several occasions where it seemed imminent. Although we are turning over a ton of debt, we have also quadrupled the total wealth of the nation, which we are also going to turn over to them. The basis for their arrogance is that they have no knowledge of, or interest in, any history outside their own personal lives, so they have no perspective with which to judge today, or with which to think about the future.

Back to Will’s ignorance and his insistence that women are the same everywhere. He will need to travel and meet women from other cultures and countries to clear that misconception. My mother held similar beliefs all her life. She never traveled, and pretty much lived her whole life in a small circle of family and church. She felt she was being generous, and unprejudiced, by saying that everyone in the world was really just like the people in Minnesota. This was the days when Minnesota was part of the great white north. She never knew any American minorities, much less someone from another country. I graduated from a high school that had over 2,600 students; one of which was black, and two of which were Asian. There was only one high school in town, and there was no segregation in the schools. There just were no nonwhite residents in our small town. I tried to tell her that not recognizing and respecting the differences between people is not doing them a favor. I would say this is a type of arrogance, but since my mother was a saint, it is impossible for her to have had a fault.

Many Stickman readers (at least those that submit comments) have noted the naivety of Americans, and their totally parochial view of the world. I believe this is because so many never travel outside their own country, and if they do, they stay in all inclusive enclaves designed to insulate them from all contact with the “native” people. They travel without the result of broadening their perspective. If Will is typical he may fall into this category, and retain his ignorance all his life. It will be his loss.

There has been a recent submittal that discussed the relative paucity of American (US) visitors to Thailand. Look around and see how few all inclusive, gated, isolated, ringed with barbed wire and guard towers, resorts there are in Thailand. This may be the reason for such a small percentage of Americans coming to the kingdom. The travel industry in the US has sold the common man a bill of goods that the rest of the world is just too dangerous to visit; unless, of course, you pay us to hold your hand, protect you, and guide you every step of the way. I have never understood why I would want to travel, at great expense, to a foreign country just to insist that everything be just like it is at home. The whole point is to experience the differences. Besides I see no reason to pay to be kept in a concentration camp.

A final wish for Will (and truly for all of us);

May you live a life rich in experience, and may you, at the end, not suffer too much pain when you look back on some of the incredibly stupid things you said and did in your youth.

Stickman's thoughts:

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I too have not been particularly impressed with generation Y, basically adults aged below 30.

The funny thing about Will is that as a seriously overweight geezer who might struggle to get laid in the US, Thailand is one place where he can find satisfaction available…

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