Our humble RedBlueAmerica friends/moderators would never think of posting such a ludicrous question. But a TV station in Britain did, polling 3,000 Britons. The gobsmacking results: One-quarter of them think Winston Churchill never actually existed.
Only the lead to the story is amusing. The rest is horribly depressing.
Never, in the field of human ignorance, have so many known so little about famous Britons.
A quarter of the population think that Winston Churchill never actually existed, a survey suggests.
While a poll recently named him the greatest Briton of all time, the wartime prime minister is seen by many as a mythical figure along with the likes of Florence Nightingale and Sir Walter Raleigh.
Yup. A significant number of Great Britain's population think that Nightingale and Raleigh -- as well as Mahatma Gandhi, Cleopatra and even Charles Dickens -- are fictional characters, too.
Worse news? Many Britons think that King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Sherlock Holmes, the Three Musketeers and Robin Hood are actual historical figures. And ...
Almost 50 per cent were certain that Eleanor Rigby existed not just in the imagination of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
On June 18, 1940, Churchill said in the House of Commons:
Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. ... Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
At this rate of historical ignorance, the Britain that Churchill inspired his people to save won't last another 50 years -- not while that "finest hour" is forgotten while men who fought under Churchill still live.
Britain bravely fought off Hitler, but now seem poised to surrender their culture and history willingly. That is simply tragic.
[cross-posted at RedBlueAmerica]