Information Literacy PLEASE

Hear me out:

I wanted to verify the French spelling of Banana so I wouldn’t look uncultured in the SMS I was crafting for my girlfriend. I googled “banana in french” (…but without the quotation marks b/c I wuz B-ing a lazy 1) and looked at a few pages which DIDN’T contain the singular spelling, Hautement frustrant – la! I normally go to Google translate right off the bat because I have enough basic French to be able to sift through the possible translations and find one the fits better than the others. Once again, not sure what I was doing here, but bare with me.

I wound up on the WikiAnswers page for “How do you spell Banana in french.” The page contained the information I sought (Banane, fyi). However, the page was so cluttered with ads that I had to actively search to find the information.

Where do your eyes go first? To the Answer? Or to an Ad?

The girl in the pink shirt really caught my eye. Hey, what’s she doing? Better check the ad out.

Here, check it out for yourself:

Um, so we should just throw up our food then!?!

Oddly enough this ad DID make me want to puke. Puke with rage! Clearly EatHealthySecrets.Com is not

I was sarcasticly curious enough to “Watch the Shocking Video” to see how the sleaze-bags would try and sell a bulimic lifestyle. This is the page I landed on:

Alright, alright, Rude-boy. Was it at least a good, or "shocking" video?

The answer: No. It was neither a “good” (which by the way Mr. Caption is a horribly vague and therefore inadequate adjective) nor a “Shocking” video. I had expected that the commentator for each video would be a member of the opposite sex, but hopefully EatHealthySecrets.com hasn’t yet been able swindle enough vulnerable people to be able to invest in such a thorough scam.

The commentator was smoothly condescending, assuring us that our ignorance was no longer to blame because EatHealthySecrets.com is here to rescue us. Make me thin EatHealthySecrets.com! Make me attractive EatHealthySecrets.com!… make them love me!!! Enough. The transition of sales from bulimia, to sex, to salvation was sickening* because it was easy for me to see beneath the veil. At no time during the video was throwing up your food mentioned. Maybe that disastrous nugget of misinformation is reserved only for those who pay for EatHealthySecrets.com’s “system”.

Oh ya, Baby! Woo me with you lies.

This is merely one of way too many examples of the increased need to teach media awareness to youth. With a little bit of knowledge the free service of Answers.com can still be a useful tool for people looking to quickly verify a basic fact. However, it isn’t fair to send someone into a battle zone without at least some training.

Some Resources:

 

Web: The Media Awareness Network

 

Books for Teens:

Oddly Novelist’s best suggestion for a book for Teens about (“media awareness” OR “information literacy”) was a book from 2001, Everything you Need to Know About The Internet. Probably was a good book eleven years ago and while it’s basic principles may still hold merit the specifics are probably about five years obsolete.

I did find a specific book that would be good for younger teenage girls: All Made Up. This book helps girls to see through the veneer of magazine and commercial beauty. So, in the specific context of this post it would be a great resource.

Unfortunately unlike EatHealthySecrects.com I am aware that you need different approaches to reach different audiences and this book for teenage girls is going to be a hard sell to teenage guys.

Books for Tweens:

The Information Explorer Series has been well reviewed in Library Journal and is current so I’d bet it’s a pretty good resource to invest in. needless(?) to say, check out local library for holdings.

Just a few nods in appropriate directions. Keep well and keep aware 🙂

* Okay, so it was 99% sickening but also kinda funny. At the start the narrator warns us that we have to act fast because three major fitness corporations are trying to purchase EatHealthySecrets.com’ amazing system. Of course the evil corporate gyms will want to sell it to you for more $$$ It is ALWAYS cheaper if you act now ! Immensely laughable.

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One response to “Information Literacy PLEASE

  1. C’est toi, l’annanas! J’insiste que le site http://www.wordreference.com est le mieux en ce qui concerne l’orthographe française.

    But yep, my grandmother used to do less activity so she wouldn’t have to consume calories. Reverse psychology plus paranoia plus insecurity! What a novel way to cookie-cut the women of the world.

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