Monday 23 January 2012

Britain's Conundrum

Whilst planning one of my English classes over the weekend, I came across a survey which was in the news last week on the top 50 things that people find confusing about modern Britain.

Puzzler World 2012 questioned 2,000 adults on what they found the most difficult to understand in today's Britain. Apparently, two thirds of us hate being confused, but only half of us will actually get around to asking for help if there is something we don't understand.

Well, now I am going to put myself in that half and say that there's a lot about the results of this survey that baffles me.

There are things on the list which many people down the pub would frown at if brought up in conversation: what scientists are up to at CERN, algebra, foreign languages, the science of Stephen Hawking, politics. They'd be the one person at the pub who always ventures some know-how on the subject, but really, you'd all just be blathering on, nodding at things you have no idea about. Some people are terrible at learning languages (even their own); atoms just aren't others' cup of thinking tea; and algebra will still give some people the willies from their high school lessons (But it's maths, why are there letters?)

This is all perfectly normal and OK. We can't understand everything. What would be the point in that?

But then there are other things on the list which warn me about the state of this nation's confusion: Jedward, why Rooney bothered with his hair transplant, why Giggs' (Ryan) wife hasn't left him yet, Kerry Katona, people who crack their knuckles.

Yes, these are really things which have the minds of the UK mulling it over, working it out, thinking it through and coming up with a big fat nothing.

I am confused, it seems, about the confusion.

Why do people need to understand the likes of Jedward? Surely they would have much better luck concentrating on the other things on the list that might help them out one day: buying a house, pensions, credit cards (we are also confused about why Britain is in so much debt - I think the point speaks for itself). By making space from our pondering on the Giggs' marital status to asking for help understanding the small print, we could get ourselves out of our own sticky situations later down the line.

Which brings me back to this 'asking for help' problem. I notice that the last two items on the list are 'men' and 'women'. If we don't understand something (or someone) it's highly unlikely we'll go straight to them and ask them to explain themselves to us. Especially when it concerns the opposite sex.

Now that is a conundrum.

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