Let's be honest. Have you ever called anyone ignorant? I know I have (sorry whoever that was) and I would say at one time or another we all have. Now let me ask you this. When you did that, were you educating the person or insulting them? Because ignorant is not an insult. ALL of us are ignorant. ALL of us!
In the dictionary the definition of ignorant is lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular. Oh boy! Am I ignorant of a host of topics.
Ok, a third question. Do you think as a society we are more ignorant or less ignorant than our forefathers? I'm not going to answer that. That's an answer you have to come up with yourself.
(What does this have to do with fiction? What I'm getting there.)
I had the unfortunate chance this last weekend to spend some time with a person who professes to be highly intelligent (mostly from his own lips). Yet I say he is the most ignorant man I know.
I call it the Einstein Effect. Albert Einstein was a genius of that there is no doubt. Yet he failed many subjects and his mother would pin a note with directions on his coat so he could find his way home. He was a mathematical and physics genius and ignorant of most other things.
And that brings us to fiction. (It does? What? How?)
The average American reads at the 5th grade level (it used to be 6th grade so as a country were also become more stupid). So now writers are not able to create masterful works of literature like Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. And it's all because of ignorance.
Writers have been forced to "dumb-down" their creations so the masses can understand and relate to the book. Some things you can't do anymore in a novel.
Put in maps or physical directions
Languages other than English or Spanish (hey no subtitles)
References from previous generations (if you put bell bottoms in your novel only 4% of the people reading your book will know what they are)
The list goes on but you get me point.
Even in this age of the "Information Highway" which needs to be rebranded as "Tarnishing Avenue" more people are ignorant of even the mundane of life.
Don't believe me? Try this; here are six things you grandfather could do that the majority of people born after 1990 cannot.
Change a car tire
Read a map
Use the library system to find a book
Make change without the register telling you the amount
Open a checking account (this one shocked me)
Fill out a job application
(side note: this blog post was written at grade level 5.2 :)
DW is an author and an artist. He has been creating paintings and photographs for over 40 years. He lives in Eastern Kansas with his daughter, a large epileptic dog, two cats, and a barnyard of chickens and ducks.