26 January 2008

As the world turns...

So I was thinking today about... You know how you'll be watching television or a movie or something, and the main characters will get into a spaceship, and fly to another planet, and find a native of that planet, and call the native an "alien"? Even on the best shows. I mean, the "aliens" are the ones who just arived in a spaceship, right? So, that got me thinking...

I thought back to my childhood, and remembered a Tang® commercial. In this commercial, two children are exploring a barren planet and are accosted by walking, talking flowers. One of them exclaims, "Those plants are alive!"

Now, I know that there are just sooooo many things one could find wrong with this whole commercial, but what sticks out to me is the "alive" part. It was frequent back then. Every sector of the entertainment industry referred to plants that were ambulatory as "alive". Even as a child, this bothered me. I knew that all plants were alive. Well, except for the dead ones. And the fake ones. And palm trees.

I figure that the problem is that back then the people who wrote screenplays, books and other readables had received a poor education when they were younger, especially in science. What really made this clear is the things my mother told me when I was younger. For example, she informed me, quite seriously, that if the sun was shining while it rained, that meant that the devil was beating his wife. I once pointed out to her that she didn't look like she was being beaten... I don't remember much after that.

What really tipped me off was the time my brother asked her about the position of the sun changing on a long road trip. She told us all about how the sun traveled around the earth and how at night the sun was under the earth.

Imagine my surprise when I asked a teacher about that, and found out that there seemed to be some disagreement on this issue. Apparently, my mother went to some school like Flat Earther Elementary. I can just imagine their theme song...

Oh, how we love you, F.E.E.,
Our fav'rite elementary,
You teach us how this big, flat Earth,
Is the center of the Univerth!

That would also explain why she has such a nasty lisp.

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