Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

An American Eulogy (not quite): Who Was Yasser Arafat?  | e-mail post

In the process of analyzing some data for clues about how informed Americans are about the news (the answer is not very, read the full post for the breakdown), I decided to look at the verbatim poll results from a 2002 Pew survey for the question "Can you tell me who Yasser Arafat is?" All of these people had initially answered, "Yes" to the question of "Do you know who Yasser Arafat is?" In general, only 48% of 3,0002 and survey respondents could say who Arafat was.

I discovered that in terms of the opinions of Americans, Yasser Arafat was more of an enigma than Keyser Soze. He was everywhere and nowhere. He was the leader of many countries. And while I had been so innoculated to American ignorance that I didn't find it entirely odd that many people could only mention his headwear, I was surprised that Americans had enough first hand experience with him to complain of an odor problem. In memory of Yasser, let's take a look at what Americans were saying about Yasser Arafat back in 2002. This is not a complete list of the idiocy, but it will give you a good sense of what people were saying.

Like Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic, Yasser was King of the World
Can you imagine trying to write a personals ad for this guy?
But clothes make the man, and Yasser's headwear got attention
Arguably correct, if incomplete answers
He Ain't From These Parts
Aren't you glad these people can vote?
Other thoughts from self-described "Very close" followers of Palestinian/Israeli news:
Viagra, anyone?
He can ride in their posse anytime
There were a couple of funny right answers
Conflicting views on his Al Qaida relationship
Did they get Sharon on the phone?
But Yasser had friends here, too

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Friday, November 26, 2004
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