Everyday Americans answer basic trivia: Funny? Or just sad?

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Do you ever find yourself laughing, then debating whether or not the thing you were laughing at was in fact funny, or actually just plain troubling?

For years, comedians, reporters and television hosts alike have instigated that very reaction with their segments in which they ‘take to the streets’ and bombard the ‘everyday American’ with some ‘basic trivia’.

On February 2nd, one particular student reporter provided us with some footage in which he sets out to answer the question “How much basic trivia do American high school students really know?”

Lets just say these students probably won’t be future contestants on Jeopardy.

“Do you know the vice president of The United States?” Austin asks.

“I don’t know who it it’s, it’s, it’s somebody….Bin Ladin,” responded one student.

Granted, the “Bin Laden” bit was likely meant as a joke but not knowing who the vice president was- seemed all too genuine.

He then asks, “In what war did America gain independence?”

Which none of the students were able to answer without a hint.

Once our laughter has subsided, and all jokes aside should we be taking such things more seriously rather than turning to it for comic relief?

Based on Harvard’s research, U.S. students place behind 31 other countries in math proficiency, and behind 16 other countries in reading.

Is America falling behind in the “trivia gap”?


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