Newsweek gave the U.S. Citizenship Test to 1,000 Americans, for some reason (boredom?), and 38 percent failed. Twenty-nine percent couldn't even name the vice president! (Is it Jeff something? Or Josh?) How should we react?
"The country's future is imperiled by our ignorance," Andrew Romano warns, which is probably true, in a kind of vague, long-term sense. (We are unconvinced by Romano's argument that "we can no longer afford to mind our own business"; we haven't been "minding our own business" since, oh, 1823, and being about one-third stupid and/or insane seems to have worked out okay.) So, yes, you can react with shocked horror and disappointment in our collective ignorance; though note that this works best if you haven't paid any attention to America in the last, say, 200 years.
We, however, are far more excited about the prospects this news has for our sense of superiority! (So too are the Newsweek commenters, it seems.) Go ahead, take the Citizenship Test! Feel self-satisfied over all the questions you can answer correctly! You're not the problem with America! You know why we fought the Cold War! (To expand and entrench the military-industrial complex.) You know who's third in the presidential succession line! (The winner of The Biggest Loser.) Post the article to your Facebook with a resigned note letting everyone know that you passed the test. Act shocked that no one else can name how many people sit in the House of Representatives! (Too many.) Yes, our sad know-nothingness may spell doom for the country—but it's going to do wonders for our smugness.
[Newsweek; image of this year's Biggest Loser champ via AP]