But that's pop culture -- handy to have in a game of trivia, worthless in The Big Scheme of Things. The 22-year-old couldn't care less that the nicotine patch was patented the year she was born. All that matters is that it exists now for her fag-addicted parents.
But that same woman almost certainly knows who Abraham Lincoln was. She knows that the Statue of Liberty is in New York; that George Washington was the nation's first president; that JFK was shot by a bunch of crazies led by Tommy Lee Jones in a bad wig. Back and to the left.
That stuff is history, the umbrella of facts protecting us from hailstones of ignorance, each the size of a Yankee pot roast. Get thwacked with enough of them and society disintegrates to a mush that looks suspiciously like rutabaga floating in the roast's greasy excretions.
We're already partway there, close to being overcooked in our own juices. And for once it's not tabloidism feeding the fire under the pot; this time it's political zeal.
Barack Obama's followers -- and that's what many of them are -- see his campaign for what they want it to be. Even though they're not political virgins they want to be deflowered by a sweet-talking man who says it might hurt, but only for a minute, and then everything's going to be different, you'll see. No more politics as usual.
They think it's the first time that something like a contested primary has every happened, and goddamn that Hillary Clinton for getting in the way of Change. Bitch. She can't clinch the nomination so she should drop out. And who cares if he can't win the nomination, either. It's all her fault.
They want this experience to be neat and tidy and not too taxing. They want a political coronation, not a convention, and their bowels are in an uproar because they're choosing to ignore history. Politics is football played with knives and the occasional smuggled handgun. Even the saint from Chicago knows the bloody backstory.
His followers doesn't want a convention fight because, on some level, they know their Leader will be seen by all for what he already is -- a politician full of hubris and mostly false platitudes who happens to give one helluva speech. Everyone already knows that's what Clinton is, minus the speech thing. Better the general public finds this out about Obama before the fall campaign.
If Dems are lucky this year's convention will be more 1952 than 1968. A contested contest and plenty of drunken courtesans. Maybe a knife wound or two, but no fatal gunfire. Scars heal, and the winner will face John McCain, a crazy pirate with plenty of his own scars, seen and unseen. The Democratic nominee should be equally battle-hardened. A Gonzo tattoo would be a nice touch.
For now, Democrats need to be democratic and let this slasher-flick of a primary season play its course. Let it go to the convention in August. Democrats who want to short-circuit the season say it's unnecessary roughness. Tell it to Michael Myers and his fellow travelers. It's past time to remember that this is politics, nobody's a virgin, and your candidate is probably going to be sodomized. Enjoy the show.
In the touchingly dark film No Country for Old Men, an older, wiser lawman chastises the sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones for overworrying about the violence of the current world:
What you got ain't nothin new. This country is hard on people. Hard and crazy. Got the devil in it yet folks never seem to hold it to account. ... You can't stop what's comin'. Ain't all waitin' on you. That's vanity.