“The Medieval finished when human beings learnt how to write and is divided in three parts: Paleolithic, Neolithic …” “Modern Era is the one in which we live and the Contemporary history is: the one that is coming or has it already happened?” Such statements were made by Belén Esteban in the program ‘Sálvame’. I have always defended television in all its forms and I believe that the so-called ‘trash TV’ can be quite entertaining sometimes. Besides, I don´t have anything against Belén Esteban and I think that this video is hilarious.
What worries me is an increasingly common trend: being proud of your ignorance. I have met many elderly people that felt embarrassed when they were unaware about a fact related to Culture; they usually apologized explaining that they hadn´t had access to a proper education. Lately, however, people are doing exactly the opposite: they proudly claim that they don´t have any Culture at all. As if this was a valuable fact!
Arturo Pérez-Reverte writes about a similar situation to the one described above in his article ‘Alfonso XIII, ese franquista’, published on 25 April in ‘XL Semanal’. Apparently, Joan Herrera, congressman for Iniciativa por Cataluña Verde party, asked the Government whether it intends, within the framework of the law of Historical Memory, to change the name of the military base Alfonso XIII in Melilla because it “is an exaltation of Franco´s dictatorship”. Considering that Alfonso XIII stopped being a King when the Second Republic started, in 1931, it is impossible to associate him with Franco´s dictatorship.
The last plan of Education may have something to do with this level of ignorance. If we add Elementary, Secondary and High School we have to study History during 12 years. However, the current Education plan is so poor that we never study periods as the Reconquista and the reigns of Carlos I and Felipe II.
In March, I travelled to Asturias to visit Cangas de Onís, the Lakes of Covadonga… Before going, I knew that Pelagius of Asturias had started the Reconquista from there. However, I couldn´t understand how to relate this fact with the Catholic Monarchs. When I returned home I decided to read a bit about the matter and I was stunned when I discovered that the Reconquista began in 722 and ended in 1492. This fact made me think about my level of Culture which obviously wasn´t really good.
In Pérez-Reverte´s article, the writer advised to read a book on the history of Spain. He couldn´t be more right, but the Ministry of Education must also reconsider its plan. And it would help if society stopped being proud of their ignorance and started doing something to fix it.