Will Rogers and Popeye by Jim Stovall
Recently, I've been doing a lot of research for a book and movie project involving the life of Will Rogers. It would be hard for me to imagine anyone that offers more sound and relevant wisdom. This is significant because Will Rogers died in 1935. His quotes appear in the newspaper today and seem to be as relevant as they were at the beginning of the last century. One of my favorite quotes is "It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble. It's what we know that ain't so."
The cartoon character Popeye has been an enduring cultural icon for decades. The original premise of the story was based on a writer's research in which he discovered spinach has ten times more iron than other vegetables. Based on that premise, Popeye could achieve super strength by merely eating a can of spinach. Many years later, it was revealed that the original spinach research was flawed as someone accidentally moved a decimal point, therefore, showing spinach having ten times as much iron as it does. This turned out to be a relatively harmless mistake as spinach is still a very healthy food that generations of kids were encouraged to eat because of Popeye's influence. It's important for all of us to reconsider and constantly evaluate what facts we think we know that are the basis for our actions. If we're not careful, we can make a purchase, start a business, or invest our money based on facts we have researched that are, quite simply, not true. The Internet gives us easy access to an overwhelming amount of information. Much of this information is valid and valuable, but some of it is misleading and dangerous. Even if information is correct, the advances in research often make facts from the past irrelevant or even inaccurate. There was a time when the conventional wisdom of the day told us the earth was flat, or we could treat illness by putting leeches all over our bodies. There was a time when scientists believed that human beings would die of a heart attack if they traveled at more than 20 miles per hour. While this seems laughable today, there are people purporting to be experts who are espousing fiction as fact whose message is as limiting and counterproductive as believing that we should not travel faster than 20 miles per hour. If you believe false wisdom or accept a pre-existing premise without constant review and reevaluation, you may be stuck using a horse and buggy in the 21st century.
Today's the day!