Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Men From Mars – But Which One?

Share |
Men From Mars – But Which One?

I've been vindicated by a group of British school kids. After my diatribe against John McCain's book on "people who made a difference," and the awful Sir Winston Churchill, justification has come from of all corporations, Walt Disney, in conjunction with the Royal Astronomical Society.

They studied the general knowledge of kids between the ages of four and ten. One third of them thought the drunken buffoon, Churchill, was the first man to walk on the moon. Walk on the moon? He could hardly stand on earth, so much brandy coursed through his coarse and addled system. I guess the good news is the kids didn't finger Neil Armstrong as British Prime Minister during the Second World War or the disastrous First Sea Lord during the First War. But the best news of all is that last month, in a similar survey of British teenagers, a quarter of them didn't think Churchill ever existed. Good news for haters of pompous fools, but very bad news for teachers and historians.

The esteemed members of the Royal Astronomical Society must have choked on their gin and tonics when the kids returned their answers to another mind-numbingly tough question: What is Mars? A planet, would have been a good answer. They might have even given the kids marks if they had said a star, or anything that was in the sky, short of a hot-air balloon. Actually three out of five got it right. The rest? They said it was a chocolate bar. With typical British phlegm (No, not that sort. Yuk.), one of the organizers commented: "I think it is definitely time to get back to the classroom if our school children think of Mars firstly as a chocolate bar."

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

John Scully

John Scully has been a journalist for almost fifty years and has covered stories in seventy countries for major international news and current affairs organizations. His book, Am I Dead Yet? A Journalist's Perspective on Terrorism, was published in spring 2008 by Fitzhenry and Whiteside.

Go to John Scully’s Author Page