January

Perception and memory are shaped by what people want to believe. Idries Shah (Seekers After Truth, page 117) wrote about a spoof documentary in 1969:

The BBC 2 television man Tony Bilbow hoaxed viewers by saying that he had obtained film clips of 'The Great Pismo' and showed forgeries of the film. Then:

'Everybody began to remember The Great Pismo when he made his television debut. Letters piled into the BBC praising the 1920's comedian.

'A woman wrote enthusiastically: "My aunt was a great fan of the Great Pismo - she saw him at a show in Hastings." She added: "What a pity he was not recognized on television before she died in 1957." One man even sent in photographs of The Great Pismo's father.' (Daily Sketch, June 26, 1969, page 9.)

Click to go to the documentary on YouTube.



The Daily Kos has published the "Testimony of Pete Seeger before the House Un-American Activities Committee, August 18, 1955." Below are a few excerpts:

I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it.

I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this Committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis, or yours, Mr. Scherer, that I am any less of an American than anybody else. I love my country very deeply, sir.

I feel these questions are improper, sir, and I feel they are immoral to ask any American this kind of question.

I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody. That is the only answer I can give along that line.

I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them. . . .



Just reviewing my notes of more than a few years ago in which Gary Stager commented on the "meaningless euphemisms" by Web 2.0 enthusiasts. As he noted,

a very small percentage of knowledge is constructed by talking. Much is not. ... With all due respect, talking about math or science is not the same as being a scientist or mathematician.

I sense that we have gone beyond the tipping point of what Seymour Papert calls "verbal inflation." We are terribly excited about so very little.

As I noted about one of Will Richardson's posts, Networks, Not Tools, although he spoke at length how he was connected via RSS, blogs, Twitter, and more, he never did say what it was that he learned from his networked conversation.

Again that's not to say that networks aren't important in learning, as noted in Dean Shareski's comment on Stager's post:

The social networking and collaboration to me is about personalizing learning. Even in your Papert driven thinking about using computers to create and design, there still comes a point where you need people. Traditionally you were limited to the people in the room. ... I don't think it's one or the other.

Shareski takes an appropriate and balanced perspective. Social networks and relationships motivate and engage learners; they expand and individual's knowledge and skills, and technology can expand those networks even more. Yet, we need to keep in mind that it is the individual that must move past talking about ideas and integrate those ideas into his/her practice to become "a scientist or mathematician" or any thing else.