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Where'd did the "vast majority" qualifier come from?

All it takes is asking a LOT of people, getting a couple bad answers, keeping/airing only those.

Leno's been doing it for years..."Jay Walking".

But, still sad that a few people didn't know, were shy, or just plain suspect of this guy.

Posted by Lake | August 30, 2007 5:43 PM

Why would students at some school in Spain know that?

Posted by aerosol | August 30, 2007 5:45 PM

Like totally.

I bet the pizza guy who delivers to their dorms knows what year it was, though!

Posted by Katelyn | August 30, 2007 5:48 PM

I think it's partly because it feels like 9/11 never went away, so judging the passage of time is difficult.

But also because people are retarded.

Posted by Gloria | August 30, 2007 5:48 PM

doesn't 9/11 happen every year?

Posted by maxsolomon | August 30, 2007 5:52 PM

What's sad/funny are the ones that don't know what MONTH it happened in.

Posted by monkey | August 30, 2007 5:55 PM

...or how to spell "9/11"

Posted by monkey luv | August 30, 2007 5:59 PM

I was in college when it happened, and I knew it wouldn't take long before "Never Forget" was forgotten. Especially with the debacle we're in now. Who can even remember Afghanistan or arresting Saddam?

Posted by laterite | August 30, 2007 6:01 PM

#2 ha ha ha, beautiful.

Posted by Dougsf | August 30, 2007 6:04 PM

It was within recent memory.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | August 30, 2007 6:11 PM

Fuck me.

We're totally screwed.

Posted by Ryan | August 30, 2007 6:13 PM

9/11 changed everything.

...or maybe not. I don't notice much difference, except at the airport.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | August 30, 2007 6:39 PM

Soooo.... come on, now, are you going to tell us the answer???

Posted by Jude Fawley | August 30, 2007 7:01 PM

San Diego is a helluva drug.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | August 30, 2007 7:07 PM


Posted by Mr. Poe | August 30, 2007 7:12 PM

No! Why do you keep forgetting that this is a good thing. With every year that we lose our visceral attachment to 9/11, the power of politics based on screaming, "9/11! 9/11! 9/11!" decreases. I'm greatly looking forward to only remembering that anything significant happened on that date when I see pictures of the towers burning on the front page of the news, just like I always forget my mom's birthday each year til I see ships sinking at Pearl Harbor on the front page of the paper.

Posted by Gitai | August 30, 2007 7:29 PM

Well lets see here, the vast majority of State University Students across the US-of-A are in the 18-21 yr old age range. Scaling back the sands of time, that means that 9/11 happened for most of these kids in the 12-16 yr old range. I donít know about you, but I didnít pay attention to dammed thing in my early adolescence, except my ever-present stiffy for the boy-next door of course.

I wonder what kind of results you'd get if you asked people over the age of 25?

Posted by J man | August 30, 2007 8:06 PM

@17 - It is absolutely ridiculous that they don't know, but you make a good point.

Any freshmen they asked would've been 12 in 2001. They lack the perspective of the difference before and after the attacks. They've lived their entire semi-mature existence under Orange alert.

But geez, they should know the answer.

Posted by Mahtli69 | August 30, 2007 8:36 PM

I'd say anybody who considers [Christian conspiracy-theory huckster] activist Mark Dice a reliable source of any information, including the time of day, to be, well... dumb. Very, very dumb.

But if Erica is a fan of Mark Dice's books, I think it explains quite a lot about where her half-baked, non-fact-checked theories come from.

Posted by elenchos | August 30, 2007 8:38 PM

yeah @1 has it. this just sounded like a tired Leno bit. That's okay Ericaa, i've recycled a joke or two by him, it fell flat.

yep, God Help Us, online communities is a "thing" worth "discussing" now.

did you make it to the BOAT show last night? i know you described them a "adorable" in your Suggests section. Besides BOAT and talking with a new post-collegiate transplant from PGH, I thought the rest of the "bike/park day" was dreck. It's okay, the sun was shining. Did you Suggest that as well? Such a nice sun for cooperating.

Posted by Garrett | August 30, 2007 8:45 PM

"Why do you keep forgetting that this is a good thing. With every year that we lose our visceral attachment to 9/11, the power of politics based on screaming, "9/11! 9/11! 9/11!" decreases."


if you're too stupid to know what year 9/11 happened, you probably lack the attention span to make ANY political argument. you can't even be manipulated by propaganda, since you don't care or understand what the hell is going on around you anyway.

Posted by wf | August 30, 2007 8:49 PM

Oh, god, let's don't be silly. You sure are adding a lot of info to this that isn't anywhere to be found in the material you're referring to, Erica.


"...trying to find one student--just one!..."

Nowhere in the tmz article or in the video does it say that he couldn't find one student who knew. Not only that, but he finds one, right there in the video, at the end.

And as someone else pointed out, you threw in this "vast majority" thing out of the clear blue sky.

The vast majority of the clips he showed supported his premise, yes. Shocking.

Yes, it's sad that any of these "adults" don't know the answer, but boy-oh-boy did you pull some serious Fox News shit on this one.

Posted by Oh Come On! | August 30, 2007 8:53 PM

It's about time people started forgetting that event. Fuckin' A, it's been used as an excuse for so much bullshit the last 6 years.

Posted by justin | August 30, 2007 8:56 PM

How can anyone remember anything as long as the PodBudz' ears are filled with the insistent thrump of expensively-created noise? They don't want you to remember anything, and you're helping them all you can. Don't you get it? A US senator is allegedly guilty of soliciting tearoom sex, and everyone is focused on hanging him as if half the men in this country wouldn't be on the DL, opportunity and anonymity being equal. We're killing and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I think that merits a bigger pout than whether some lily white Idahoan gets his faced stuffed with cop dick. Priorities, people!

Posted by KY. COL. of TRUTH | August 30, 2007 9:15 PM

@18 -- So is the answer 2001?? You should have used a spoiler box.

Posted by Big_K | August 30, 2007 9:41 PM

Recent history is always the hardest thing for any college student to know anything about. How are they supposed to learn? It is not not covered in their history classes, those books always end a minimum of 10 years before the date you read them, and more likely 25 years. Newspapers generally assume knowledge of recent events as a foundation for the events of the day.

Those of you trashing the students should look up the important events of the year you were 12 and see how much you knew about it when you were in college.

I did this myself. I got an award from my high school as the best history student in the 700 person class when I was 17 so I would think I am setting a high bar. I was 12 in 1980.

Iran hostages - I knew a little but would have been very hazy. Abscam - Had no idea until much later. Mt. St. Helens erupted - knew about it. Mariel boat lift - still moderately hazy. Smallpox eradicated - would have had no clue. Iraq invades Iran - knew about it only because I represented Iraq in a model U.N., and still would not have been able to tell you the date.

In general even the things I knew about I would not have been able to tell you the year they happened. I did know about the cultural stuff, but I would think today's students would do well on culture as well.

I don't think this type of stuff should be an excuse to shake our heads and ask what is becoming of the young people. It is something to be expected and is in many ways a natural outgrowth of the way we teach history. It has always been a problem that recent history is the hardest to teach and I think it will always be that way.

It is easy to make people look like idiots by asking young people recent history questions, but a deeper analysis of how people are educated shows that this is simply unfair.

Posted by Jim | August 30, 2007 11:12 PM

jim, the problem with all that is, as someone who is right in that described age group, i know exactly which year it happened in and have to snort in derision at those people who don't. to make excuses for these ignorant assholes is to empower their ignorance.

what this points to is that kids, even those pursuing "further education" at colleges, don't really value knowledge or education anymore. most kids my age are more concerned with who's fucking who and celebrity worship, even those who reiterate (suspiciously, in my opinion) that they hate "fasion, etc." it seems like the more kids deny taking part in such acts, the more they actually do when you watch.

you're acting like, because the schoolbooks didn't go over it, they shouldn't be expected to know it. that's ridiculous, and tantamount to telling people that they don't need to pay attention to anything going on around them.

don't get me wrong, i do my level best to stay out of politics and political conversations/debates, but i still have a basic working knowledge of what has led us to where we are now.

Posted by frequency ass bandit | August 30, 2007 11:56 PM

@26: I don't buy any of your pseudo-logic, but it was a nice try. These kids today have the internets that Al Gore so graciously plugged together with duct-tape...they can use that. Did you know that the internets are like giant tubes where they send information down the superhighways? I think some people get more recent data from these tubey things. As if 12 year olds have no memory chips installed in their brains! Like, OMG! ;)

Posted by Kristin Bell | August 30, 2007 11:57 PM

Why exactly is it important that a college student know the year of the 9/11 attacks?

I'd much rather they understood things like why the minimum wage raises unemployment, or the benefits of free trade. That is, the sort of knowledge that ECB and her kind fail to acquire while majoring in something-ending-in-studies.

Posted by Econ 101 | August 31, 2007 12:07 AM

So, without using Google...

When did the shuttle Challenger explode?

In what year was the Berlin Wall taken down?

On what date did Apartheid end in South Africa?

When did Margaret Thatcher lose her position as Prime Minister, and to whom?

In what year did the Boston Red Sox most recently win a World Series?

And who shot JR, my fellow Gen-X know-it-alls?

Posted by robotslave | August 31, 2007 12:52 AM

I shot JR.

Posted by Darcy | August 31, 2007 2:57 AM

you're all like a bunch of useless doctors: pointing a festering wound and not doing a damn thing to make it better.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 31, 2007 3:38 AM

Aw, gee, Bellvue Ave, I must have missed that particular episode of "know-nothing fantasy doctor-land".

Which one was it where they all pointed at an infected wound, and they all laughed, and nobody did anything about it?

To what should I set my TIVO there, Mr. or Mrs Ave?

Or no, wait, let's just look at normal televised-or-otherwise court cases where doctors examined clearly infected wounds and then decided not to do anything about them.

Er, I'm coming up with, well, nothing, there. What have you got?

Posted by robotslave | August 31, 2007 6:04 AM

Thatcher was replaced by John Major in 1990. He famously never went to university, and in fact left school at 16. But I'll bet he knows what year 9/11 was.

Finding ninnies on the street is easy. This guy is just copying that Australian show where they guy found a lot of people in New York City who couldn't identify what MONTH 9/11 took place in. Quite a few votes for October there.

Posted by Fnarf | August 31, 2007 7:13 AM

Challenger was 86 wasn't it? And the Berlin wall...for some reason my mind comes up with two different dates. Either 89 or 91? Of course on the wall I could be totally fucking retarded It probably happened in 81 or something.

Posted by JessB | August 31, 2007 7:44 AM

This is fuckin' hilarious. All the bunched panties because some dipshit with a video camera made it look like no one knows what year 9/11 happened. How many people did he interview that know, but weren't included in the video? What a waste of a slog post.

Posted by rb | August 31, 2007 9:02 AM


I can't recall the date, but I know that FW De Klerk was PM of South Africa, and can go into detail about the process.
I think 1990, and to John Howard.
And it was Maggie that shot him.

Posted by Gitai | August 31, 2007 9:18 AM

Jiminy God!

Posted by Larry Craig | August 31, 2007 9:23 AM

robotslave, I get your point, but the questions you ask are not analagous to 9/11.

Instead you should ask about significant events in US history (your questions were about foreign countries politics).


What year did the US Civil War start and End?

What date did the Pearl Harbor attack occur?

What year did the Cuban Missle Crisis occur?

What year did Nixon resign?

I think those questions are more analogous to 9/11 then questions about the Red Sox. I liked the Berlin Wall question as it was a big event for US. Though, it was much bigger for the Europeans (i.e. Germans).

Posted by Medina | August 31, 2007 10:45 AM

It's not like there's a draft or anything.

Why should they care?

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 31, 2007 11:05 AM


Posted by The CHZA | August 31, 2007 11:18 AM

I distinctly remember the day JFK was assassinated - I was in high school. But I would have to think about what year it was if you asked me now. If the interviewer asked these kids what they were doing on the day of 9/11, he would have gotten a different answer. The point is, the question makes it sould like students don't remember 9/11 - which is not the same thing as not remembering what year it was.

Posted by crazycatguy | August 31, 2007 11:26 AM

Knock knock.

Who's there?


9/11 who?


Posted by Nick | August 31, 2007 11:43 AM

As one matures, it IS useful to 'know' things, i.e. history, current events, geography, biography, entertainment, science - ya' know - just like Trivial Pursuit.

So like when you leave college and you're on the fast track in say New York City or San Francisco or London, you do not appear to be a dumb fuck. You can hold up your end of an intelligent conversation discussing ideas, politics, human behavior and most importantly, you "get" it.

Being socially ostracized because of your own self-selected ignorance is truly quite painful to bear and for others to see. As when Jay Leno runs across college students who don't know Mexico is directly south of the United States.

"I wasn't born then" is just a way lame excuse for embarrassing self-absorption.

Posted by IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE FOR YOUR IGNORANCE... | August 31, 2007 11:44 AM

Jay Leno had a bit where he went out on the street and asked vacuous looking types what month 9/11 happened.

It was amazing watching people get it wrong.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | August 31, 2007 11:50 AM

As I see it, the problem here is not that this indicates a lack of a knowledge of history. It indicates that they aren't reading newspapers or watching the news NOW. Every year around the anniversary, there are plenty of reports about "It's been x number of years." News reports often (although they don't always use the year), refer to the "Sept. 11, 2001" attacks. You don't have to have been an adult in 2001 or have an extensive knowledge of history to know the year the 9/11 attacks occurred. You just have to be an active, aware citizen who bothers to pick up a newspaper or click on the news feed that scrolls across your instant messenger program once a day. Seriously. This only happened six years ago and it's only in the news in some fashion multiple times a day in one of hundreds of sources readily available online. It's not hard to read a few news articles once in a while.

By the way, #39, without googling (although as I said, I don't think a knowledge of events that happened long enough ago to be in history books indicates the same type of awareness needed to remember the year of a current event that is still in the news): 1861-1865, Dec. 7, 1941, 1962 and 1974, in that order).

"Well lets see here, the vast majority of State University Students across the US-of-A are in the 18-21 yr old age range. Scaling back the sands of time, that means that 9/11 happened for most of these kids in the 12-16 yr old range."

That assumption gives these kids way too much credit. Forgive me if your comment was supposed to be sarcastic. Hard to tell on the Internet. Just because someone was young when it happened they can't recall the year? Certainly people must be able to remember how old they were when it occurred and therefore would know what year it was. My dad was only 10 when JFK was shot, and he remembers every detail of how he heard the news (he also remembers exactly where he was, at 15, when Martin Luther King was shot). I was 5 1/2 when the Challenger exploded and I recall the year and remember knowing about it, even if I didn't understand. I remember the Berlin Wall coming down when I was 9 (again, I may not have understood, but I remember). I remember the day the first Gulf War started.

Again, this isn't a problem of whether these students were "old enough to remember" 9/11, because clearly, I think they were, it's a matter of whether or not they bother to even glance at a newspaper or watch any news at all.

Posted by Jo | August 31, 2007 12:24 PM

Most of these kids aren't dumb. I can remember events like the Challenger (in class, 7th grade), 1st Gulf War (Jr. in High School, everyone walked out, wheeee!) U.S. invading Iraq (watching TV in London, wondering if it's gonna fuck up my flight), etc. based on where *I* was, which is the recent-history equivalent of having to mentally sing the alphabet when some asks you, "what letter comes after P?"

Barely related, but I had "54-40 or Fight" rattling around in my head for months before I finally looked it up. "Jaywalk" with that one, it seems so obvious now.

Posted by Dougsf | August 31, 2007 12:55 PM

@47: It's funny, I do that too, but I have kind of the opposite reaction: I remember when I did things based on world events. Like, I remember that I lived in the crappy apartment with the crazy drunk neighbor I was afraid of in 2001 only because that's where I was on 9/11. Or, I remember that something that happened to a friend in 1996 because it was the year Clinton got re-elected.

I don't think it's that they're stupid -- some of them may do quite well in school -- but they're certainly not paying any attention at all to the news if they can't remember the year of that particular event. If this discussion were about any other event, I wouldn't be so disturbed. But it doesn't seem possible to be unaware of the year of the 9/11 attack.

(In my original post, I had typed that my Dad remembers the years of those events, not just where he was, but accidentally deleted it and didn't notice until I'd posted.)

Posted by Jo | August 31, 2007 1:02 PM

Not a suprise in the least. Did anyone see that the NY Times doesn't know the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution? That's why I say, we ARE going to hell in a handbasket!

Posted by helena handbasket | August 31, 2007 7:12 PM

Maybe people just lose their minds when they are put in front of a camera or asked something in public??? I don't know. I guess what is a little more important than knowing a bunch of dates is knowing what has happened. Do I need to know when Napoleon died? At least I know he existed. I can't remember the dates for the third Egyptian dynasty, but isn't it enough to know that one existed? For the dates all anyone really needs is access to google unless you happen to be on a game show or something. It is pretty bad to not know the date for 9/11, but there are more important things to know about it than the date.

Posted by Kristin Bell | September 1, 2007 8:58 AM

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