179. Wrong Direction

One of my favorite professors at Michigan State was no fan of statistics. He called it “sadistics”. That makes some sense; statistics had little to offer to Anthropology those days. The data statisticians had available to crunch was highly questionable in origin and accuracy.

My old prof called their work “generating ignorance”. I’ve always loved that phrase, and it fits today’s presidential pollsters perfectly, at least as far as this question is concerned.

     Circle one response.

If you wanted to circle NO, I’ll either let you read it again, or buy you a ticket on the bus to Sunnybrook Farm. Almost everybody thinks the country is going in the wrong direction. But why? There are a thousand possible reasons.

There is too much restriction on a woman’s right to choose.
Abortion is too freely available.
Obama is an idiot.
All Democrats are idiots.
All Republicans are idiots.
Bernie is the only politician with a brain.
Bernie is a communist.
The Federal Government does too much.
The Federal Government doesn’t do enough.

If pollsters don’t specify THE COUNTRY IS GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION BECAUSE . . ., then they are just testing optimism. They might as well ask if the glass is half empty or half full.

Personally, I’m a talking-head junkie, and my addiction flares up every four years. I spend far too much time watching the TV news, but even I could stand a slight reduction in the noise. Let’s retire the wrong direction question, so that the world can make at least a little bit more sense.

               *          *          *

On a tenuously related note, when all the talking heads were shocked by BREXIT, they were showing an appalling lack of imagination. Surely a nation which just this spring named an ecological research vessel Boaty McBoatface was capable of even bigger shocks


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