Tahlequah Daily Press


May 21, 2012

Willful ignorance, or just how we are?


A friend of mine sent me a link on Facebook from health.com, which featured one of those “superlative” lists designed to catch your eye with a promise of revelation that never materializes. They bear breathlessly bold titles like “Ten Movie Stars Who Look Great Naked,” or “Best Cities That Still Allow You to Smoke in Restaurants,” or “Top 10 Places to Retire in the U.S.” Cherokee County has capitalized big-time on that last one, and we’ll keep beating that horse after it’s desiccated into a small strip of hide.
This list denoted the “Ten Most Depressing States in the U.S.” I won’t name the friend – even though he fully intended me to address the topic – because he’s a rather intimidating if affable sort, but mainly because I didn’t think to get his permission to quote him before I started writing. He’s also intelligent, and some of you will guess his identity by his comment: “Thought it might appeal to your twisted little mind. I’m curious to find out what the other three categories are other than poverty and lack of health care. You suppose “willful ignorance” is a category?”
Having given it some thought, I believe I’ll have to discuss this with him further. If you are “willfully ignorant,” wouldn’t you have to first accept that your beliefs, behaviors and thought processes constituted ignorance, and that you deliberately established that status for yourself? 
I’ve heard people admit to ignorance on a limited basis: “As far as how God created the universe, I’m ignorant,” or “I’m ignorant when it comes to calculus formulae, but I’m good at grammar.” But few people proudly claim a pervasive, all-encompassing  lack of information. 
In a teaser before listing the states alphabetically, the website suggests “personal circumstances and genes play an important role in mental health,” and that mental distress is “unusually ... common in some states ... due to economic troubles, lack of access to health care, or other factors.” (It’s a serious topic, and you can see a serious take on it if you read the guest commentary by State Rep. Mike Brown to the left. He lists several reasons why being an Oklahoman and being depressed might be mutually inclusive, and what we can do about it. The “willfully ignorant” will not like what he has to say.)

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  • Selling of lies in the dreaded car game

    Recently, my husband and I did something that is discussed in the same tone of disdain reserved for Communists, salesmen, politicians, lawyers, and sometimes, journalists. We bought ourselves a “furrin” car.
    We decided on a foreign contraption because my husband now commutes to Tulsa every day, and a quick calculation revealed the horror our three-quarter-ton diesel Chevy would visit upon our bank account. That vehicle gets a comparatively impressive 18 mpg, but doing the math on the current price of diesel and a 150-mile daily round trip is enough to send anyone to the nearest toilet to hurl up the previous meal.

    April 21, 2014

  • Wild West pits U.S. government against “We the people”

    Unless one has been living under a rock over the past week, one couldn’t have missed the recent standoff in Nevada between a rancher and the U.S. government. It’s only one incident in many that has the government of the people pitted against the people.

    April 16, 2014

  • Bodily functions don’t belong in job interviews

    For all you soon-to-be college grads who will be trying to join the rest of us suckers in the workforce, I have a word of advice: Don’t pass gas during the interview.

    April 14, 2014

  • As Moore tornado anniversary nears, documentaries ask, ‘Where was God?’

    But one question put to readers in a publication that crossed my desk was a bit confusing to me. It asks its readers: “Where was God?”

    April 9, 2014

  • A pound of bacon is better than a pig in love

    Whatever happened to the cavemen in the Geiko insurance commercials? Those were some of the least-offensive TV blurbs I’ve ever seen, and they were original. But like any other good idea, this one fell victim to the kind of corporate tampering that always insists on fixing what ain’t broken.

    April 7, 2014

  • Escape from Auschwitz: To the 21st century

    One would have to question whether our world has gone mad in this, the 21st century, or if we are doomed to repeat the historical past.

    March 30, 2014

  • Volunteers needed to ‘Clean up Tahlequah’

    There’s a movement afoot that tugs at the pride of the folks calling Tahlequah and the rest of Cherokee County home. It’s an appeal for everyone – from the youngest to the oldest – to clean up the turf around them. Call it a campaign or a program, but what it really boils down to is a shoutout to all of us to resist contributing to the roadside trash we see, now that the snows of winter are behind us.

    March 24, 2014

  • U.S. debt threatens dollar as world currency

    March 16, 2014

    March 17, 2014

  • A sense of entitlement

    March 16, 2014

    March 17, 2014

  • It’s the publisher who sets the tone – and courage is key

    Daily Press readers should be gratified to know they have a publisher who brings courage and experience to our newspaper; who will stand as a bulwark against outside forces that might try to suppress information; and who believes in the tenet of “fair comment and criticism.” Anyone who knows me can attest I’ve always felt the same way – but the editor doesn’t get to set the tone, unless the publisher allows it.

    March 10, 2014


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