“Give Me The Boy, and I Shall Give You The Man”

More accurately, it was the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who said:

“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”

Much the same thing, really.

But it a mistake to believe that that claim applies only to children. Adults are just as likely to be GULLIBLE.

Decades ago, I attended a training course at the bank. Everyone who attended the course was asked to give a five minute talk. It is surprising to note that all the attendees were Managers, but a couple of them ‘froze’ during the course of their speeches and had to sit down.

Anyway, I chose as my subject ‘Gullibility’. I still have a video tape of that speech. I also still have a video machine which could play that tape. I still have the huge TV which could recognise that tape and show it. I really ought to watch it sometime, just for fun.

I have often wondered why teachers do not show students who are in their early teens, TV adverts to help them to be critical of what they see and hear. What could be better? “Our washing powder will wash your whites whiter than any other”. TV adverts now are no different, essentially, than they were 50 years ago. They still make the same vague claims of being ‘better’.

Why do teachers not use TV adverts to educate their pupils about how to analyse what they see and hear?  “Whiter than white”, “three shades whiter”, etc. But do the washing powder/fluid claim to remove ALL stains? Of course not! By they imply it. And they get away with it because they only imply it. I suspect that teachers are forbidden to use such material. I suppose that there could be copyright issues, and such. But the principle stands. ‘Knowledge’ is factual. Children should be taught to distinguish between ‘advocacy’ (persuasion) and ‘facts’ at the earliest possible age. In fact, it would be a great idea if persons studying Shakespeare’s play ‘Julius Caesar’ were taught to understand how Mark Antony’s speech was a masterpiece of ‘advocacy’.

Politicians would not permit such ‘education’ because it is absolutely imperative that the people should be ignorant of rhetorical tricks.

Tobacco Control has been using the same rhetorical tricks for the last few decades. They are the same tricks as TV adverts use. Take, for example, the anti-smoker ad which featured a cancer tumour growing on a lit cigarette. It was absolute nonsense, but it may have been effective in the minds of some people.

‘In the minds of some people’ is the important phrase. Medical porn on cig packets is the same thing. I have yet to see any proof or assertion that those pics are proven to be associated with smoking, although it is implied.

There are people who are immensely gullible. I do not understand why that is. Even when I was a child around ten years old, I could see ‘non-sequitur’s.   I vividly remember an aunt saying, “It must be true because it said so in the paper”. Even as a ten year old child, I could see the fault in the reasoning. Frankly, I was astonished. How did I manage, as a mere ten year old, to see the faulty reasoning? I do not know. Perhaps it was because my mother and a couple of aunts were arguing about whatever it was. Why should they be arguing if the FACTS were stated in the newspaper and therefore undoubtedly true? Or it may have been because I read in that same newspaper, or a similar one, about ‘prostitutes’ and I asked my Dad what a prostitute was. My Mum and Dad were shocked. I do not know why. I could read, and I read that word, and I asked what it meant. I was told that I was too young to understand, and not to look it up in the dictionary. Obviously, I looked the word up, but the definition, ‘a woman of easy virtue’ meant nothing to me. I gave up.

What I am illustrating is that ‘children’ are clever, and that teachers could exploit that cleverness if they used TV adverts as subject matter to illustrate how ‘facts’ can be distorted. “Three shades whiter”.

I think that almost no one gives a toss about walking past a smoker standing outside a pub having a puff. In all the the thousands of times that I have stood just inside the doorway of my local, I have only experienced ONE handwaver. I was standing just inside the porch but blowing my smoke outside (probably illegal). A couple appeared from inside the pub waiting for their taxi and stood inside the porch. The woman started the artificial gasping for breath and choking trick. I must admit that it amused me. I was a very regular at that pub and had never seen them before or ever saw them again. They are the sort of people, the ‘70%’, who want ‘smokefree’ pubs just in case they visit once per an. There was a wonderful cartoon (I think that I downloaded it but cannot find it) which showed a couple going into a cafe where all the chairs were empty and saying, “Good! A smokefree cafe!”

Brexit and Trump have shown that The People are not quite as gullible as might appear. Politicians such as PM May must somehow get their brains around the idea that we are not as gullible as the EU despots claim. And nor are the Italians or the Greeks or the Spaniards.

I greatly value the cooperation between European States, but not the ‘European Union’. I cannot for the life of me understand why clever people like Blair et al allowed the situation to get so bad.

There are many things about the EU which academics should be exploring, but they are not doing so. Is that because they rely upon indirect grants, aka bribes, to avoid the issues?

“Give Me The Boy, and I Shall Give You The Man”.

It is up to parents to disestablish that political religion. Schools dare not do so.



6 Responses to ““Give Me The Boy, and I Shall Give You The Man””

  1. Smoking Lamp Says:

    I suspect most of the ‘hand wavers” were influenced by the relentless antismoking propaganda in the first place. I never saw much reaction to second hand smoke until after the bans (especially outdoor bans) were imposed.

    • junican Says:

      True. The fact is that no one noticed, apart from the odd occasion when the publican forgot to put the fan on.

  2. Rose Says:

    I have often wondered why teachers do not show students who are in their early teens, TV adverts to help them to be critical of what they see and hear. What could be better?

    How to deconstruct an advert was an early lesson I gave my children so they would not be conned by televison adverts and so I wouldn’t be assailed daily by “pester power”. Why wait until they are in their teens and leave it to school teachers when the damage has already been done?

    • junican Says:

      No, Rose. Parents mostly do scoff at TV adverts. I am talking about ‘structured’ and ‘detailed’ analysis in differentiating between fact and advocacy.

  3. beobrigitte Says:

    Adults are just as likely to be GULLIBLE.
    Even more so. There is no more elders to point this out to them.

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