I attended a July 4th party with fellow University of California students. Everyone had to pick a political figure and walk around with his or her name on the name tag. Wanting to engage in political discussions, I chose “Barry Goldwater.” Much to my disappointment, the most common question I answered that evening was “Who is Barry Goldwater?”
How could a third or fourth year university student who studies poltics, history, or media, have no idea who Goldwater was? Of course, when I mentioned the infamouse LBJ ad – “remember the little girl picking flowers and the A-Bomb exploding in the background” – they soon recalled the rhetoric surrounding Goldwater.
Only one student knew who Goldwater was; needless to say, our discussion that night was quite interesting and very stimulating.
So what are the academics teaching our students at the university?