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UK: myths, reality and the reason ...
Posted by: mcq on Monday, February 04, 2008

So we're not alone with a percentage of the population which thinks the moon landing was faked and professional wrestling is real:
Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority reckon Sherlock Holmes was real.

The survey found that 47 percent thought the 12th century English king Richard the Lionheart was a myth.

And 23 percent thought World War II prime minister Churchill was made up. The same percentage thought Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale did not actually exist.

Three percent thought Charles Dickens, one of Britain's most famous writers, is a work of fiction himself.

Indian political leader Mahatma Gandhi and Battle of Waterloo victor the Duke of Wellington also appeared in the top 10 of people thought to be myths.

Meanwhile, 58 percent thought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective Holmes actually existed; 33 percent thought the same of W. E. Johns' fictional pilot and adventurer Biggles.
Possible reason - bigger wine glasses (seriously, drunkenness is a result of glasses being too big or so say some)?
 
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How the Hell is is possible for a quarter of the English population to think that Winston Churchill was imaginary? Whom do they then think was prime minister during World War two? Are all of those recorded speeches merely some actor in a BBC radio play to them? I wonder if a quarter of Americans think that FDR was no more real than Josiah Bartlett. Haven’t these people ever had conversations with their grandparents?

The confusion about fictional characters and earlier historical figures is less surprising, though scarcely less stupid. In the case of Holmes, I think that the so-called, "game," of pretending that he was real that some Holmes enthusiasts indulge in might be due to shoulder some blame.

Mercy only knows what they might have answered if asked about American historical figures.

I wonder if future generations will think that Harry Potter was a real person.
 
Written By: Paludicola
URL: http://www.vikinghats.com
I just realized that I accidentally implied that a former governor of Connecticut and one of that state’s delegates to the second continental congress, Josiah Bartlett (ends with "tt") is imaginary when I of course meant Josiah Bartlet (ends with one "t") from "The West Wing".

And of course the methods of the survey, the composition of the sample with regards to age and education, and other things about polls that should viewed skeptically are open to question.
 
Written By: Paludicola
URL: http://www.vikinghats.com
Paludicola: Comment heard from a co-worker who heard me reading your first comment: "Josiah Bartlett wasn’t a real President?!?!" And she meant it.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I am not sure whether people this ignorant of history should get a chance to repeat it. Which President was Mickey Mouse anyway?
 
Written By: Paden Cash
URL: http://
SShiell, you should offer to sell your co-worker a trip to one of the planets where Star Trek was filmed.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Poking around for information on the survey respondents — particularly their ages — I found this write-up pointing out that the poor twits are teens. Just as I suspected.

But there was this tidbit as well, illuminating something of the media’s cheerful role in abetting the ignorance of the youth on behalf of the commonweal:
Paul Moreton, the channel head of UKTV Gold, which commissioned the poll, said that while there was no excuse for demoting real historical figures such as Churchill, the elevation of mythical figures to real life showed the impact good films could have in shaping the public consciousness.

"Stories like Robin Hood are so inspiring that it’s not surprising people like to believe these characters truly existed," he said.
Assuming the accuracy of the paraphrase, he certainly seems to have no problem with media — "good films" — blurring fact and fiction in the interest of "shaping the public consciousness." And of upholding Robin Hood as an "inspiring" figure, of course, (whom the occasional movie might mingle with benevolent government in the minds of school children, perhaps).
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I would be curious to see the ethnic breakdown on these. Britain has a huge, unassimilated underclass.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://www.deanesmay.com
I once asked a English girl about Guy Fawkes, but she was totally clueless and thought his name was spelled Fox. But she liked to party!
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
That’s it. I quit the human race.

Dave that’s not an underclass, it’s specially-bred group of retards...

CHURCHHILL was made up, but HOMES is real?

I didn’t know I could hate humanity more. Learned something new...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
How the Hell is is possible for a quarter of the English population to think that Winston Churchill was imaginary?
It’s not. What is possible is for someone to read the post (which starts with "according to a recent survey") and take it as gospel.....
 
Written By: blewyn
URL: http://

 
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