While having lunch with my family I calculated the area of a pizza. Yes, I am that guy. It was my son’s birthday, and he wanted to go out for lunch. There’s a place in Belfast that makes spectacular two-footers. Four of us sat down. The price of the stupendous pizza seemed reasonable. But I wanted to make sure we’d get value for money.
What’s cheaper: four 11-inch pizzas, or the mahoosive one?
I asked my teenage son – “And how do we calculate the area of a circle?” Naturally he rolls his eyes. Dad is a dick. It’s Sunday for fuck’s sake, why should anyone be forced to think about school? He couldn’t remember, or wasn’t sure about the pi-R-squared formula, and added – “When will I ever need this? And even if I did, I’d just Google it.”
Right there friends. That’s where my issue begins.
A few weeks ago I was talking with my daughter about the value of real life experience. I can’t remember exactly, maybe it was something big like skydiving or rally driving, or perhaps a little more pedestrian, visiting the Eiffel tower. Anyway, she says something like “If I want to know what it’s like I’ll Google it.”
For fuck’s sake.
Now I’m not saying the sky is falling, nor that my kids are stupid or ignorant.
My son is in his first year of GCSEs. Daughter doing AQE exams. Studying is so hot right now. They’re both doing great in school. No complaints. But I feel there’s something very wrong. It’s one thing to tick all the boxes in compulsory curriculum, but it’s something else to learn independently beyond a two-dimensional screen. I’m not saying that refusing to learn pi-R-squared makes you literally-Hitler, but if you become reliant on Google for knowledge, what happens when goombahs like Trump control it?
When you’re young, peer pressure can stop you from being smart. Calculate the area of a pizza? Nerrrrrd! The repression might follow you into adulthood. Grownups avoid thinking too. That’s not good. This I feel in my bones: closing your mind to new intellectual challenges is dangerous – for you, your health, your family, your community, and ultimately your country. (LOL I’m serious here! I never talk about protecting country because it’s mostly abstract, but anyway…)
In my opinion, trusting someone else to know things for you is what delivered the EU referendum result. That red bus was a lie, but such a lovely big juicy tempting one. Taking back control was bullshit, as were the fictitious, glorious trade deals the world was offering us. Leavers swallowed it! They trusted that the well-lit, sparkly political celebrities had it all figured out. Then, doing no homework of their own (why should they? Boris says it’s okay) they voted on blind faith.
Here’s the part where I’m horrible… Demographics show that a lot of Leave votes came from people who didn’t go much above GCSE. Feel free to Google:
“eu voter demographics education level”
If you’re thinking, Wow, this guy is an asshole liberal elitist, that’s your business. I know not everyone can afford a degree. I don’t have one. I sat up in bed with old textbooks studying thermionic emission because I didn’t have the time or money for an electrical engineering degree. My whole life I’ve taught myself to learn, and that required no special talent whatsoever.
There are different types of ignorant. There’s not-knowing, because you simply haven’t learnt it yet, and there’s wilful ignorance, a refusal to learn (or perhaps unlearn) – which can lead to human catastrophe. When you refuse or refute facts, what does that make you? I’m not even sure. I might Google it. But for now I’ll say it makes you a tyrant. You and Google killed Bambi and Britain.
Anyway, back to the food… a 24-inch Margherita gets you 452 square inches of pizza for £17. Four 11-inchers gives you 380. That’ll cost ya £27.
Kids: I saved a tenner. Now get out there and fuckin learn shit.
Parents: if you want me to come to your house, yell at you and measure pizza, I’m available for bar mitzvahs and birthday parties. Please see my agent, Goombah the Magnificent.