What You Know About That? I Know All About That

<a href="This is mildly really extremely horrifying:

During a White House briefing, a reporter referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis — and [White House Press Secretary Dana Perino] didn’t know what it was.
“I was panicked a bit because I really don’t know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown. “It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I’m pretty sure.”
So she consulted her best source. “I came home and I asked my husband,” she recalled. “I said, ‘Wasn’t that like the Bay of Pigs thing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, Dana.’ “

Now, I’m a huge nerd, but I knew what the Cuban missile crisis was in like fourth grade. And I’m pretty sure any good high school history department will cover it in detail at some point. Moreover, I just finished a course based (like a course of Peter Howard‘s, apparently) on Essence of Decision, and thus spent a trimester analyzing every time Kennedy blinked through three different theoretical lenses, so the idea that someone with Perino’s power would not know that the crisis even happened (let alone that RFK compared Curtis LeMay to Tojo, and that Khrushchev’s first message to Washington was probably a drunk-telegraph) makes me a special kind of furious.

3 thoughts on “What You Know About That? I Know All About That

  1. Yes, she should know about the Cuban missile crisis. But just keep in mind that it is much easier to pounce on other people’s stupid mistakes than never to make any yourself. I call it “TV game show syndrome”, because it lets you feel smart when watching game shows.

  2. All right, suppose that I asked you: In what year did the Chinese civil war begin; and in what year did it end? It was one of the biggest and most important wars of the 20th century, certainly more so than the Vietnam War or the Korean War. Do you know the answer without looking it up? (I am not looking for trick answers. There is more than one reasonable answer, any of which would do.)
    Well, you might, but I would be impressed. I didn’t know. And I was also hazy on the difference between the Cuban missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs until the end of college, possibly even later.

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