Anyone who has seen the many movies made about World War II knows that soldiers who had forgotten the day’s password, or who happened upon Allied troops who weren’t from their own company, were always asked something like “Who won the 1939 World Series?” It was a question designed to prove that they were real Americans and not enemy spies. And all real Americans would know the answer, and they’d also probably know the names of every player on each team, because everybody had listened to the games on the radio — young and old, black and white, Jew and Gentile.
If I had to answer a similar question today — “Who won the 2012 World Series?” — they would shoot me on the spot because I haven’t got a clue. And the sad thing is, I watched the entire series. The only thing I’m sure of is that it couldn’t have been the Cubs.
Like many people, I haven’t lost my memory. I’ve just handed it over to Google and Wikipedia for the duration. Why bother to remember anything when those two will do it for you — and better? I didn’t remember that the Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds in the 1939 World Series; I Googled it.
Are there any questions you could ask today that every American would know the answer to, but few foreigners? Can you name all the Kardashians? Can you name the winner of last season’s “Survivor”? Who won “American Idol” two years ago? Who won the Super Bowl two years ago? What movie won Best Picture at last year’s Academy Awards? Who is the host of “Jeopardy!”? What time of day is “The View” on? What was the No. 1 country song last year? How about the No. 1 rap song?