A right to know what?

It’s hard to quarrel with that ancient justification of the free press: “America’s right to know.” It seems almost cruel to ask, ingenuously, “America’s right to know what, please? Science? Mathematics? Economics? Foreign languages?” None of those things, of course. In fact, one might well suppose that the popular feeling is that Americans are a lot better off without any of that tripe.

~ Isaac Asimov from (Newsweek Jan 21, 1980) https://media.aphelis.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/ASIMOV_1980_Cult_of_Ignorance.pdf

tripe n. 2: something poor, worthless, or offensive

That’s the second definition, and is clearly the one Asimov was using. For some reason, I believe I would have said that the first definition had something to do with fish. (It does not.)

In addition, suspecting that Asimov knew a thing or three more than me, had not made a capitalization error in writing “mandarin minority”—you’ll have to click now, won’t you?—I spent several minutes in my Dictionary and learned a second thing.

And finally a third thing: 1980. 2021. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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