Anymore doesn’t it seem like it’s almost dumb to be smart in the public’s eye? Intellectualism isn’t as revered as it once was and in the realms of entertainment and even politics it seems like it’s cool to be glib (and just flat-out dumb in some cases). So who’s to blame? What’s the scope of this overwhelmingly stupid public persona we’re developing as a nation? Shouldn’t we want to be seen as a nation of intelligent people who have class and know what we’re talking about?
As an example of dumb being cool in the media, let’s think about reality TV. A lot of popular reality TV shows today are just exhibits of dumb people doing dumb things and the viewers eat it up because they think it’s funny. Like watching a train wreck, people find it hard to look away from the chaos. But do they think about what this does to our society? Or how we’re viewed in the international community?
Music riddled with bad grammar, TV shows about drunk, tactless, uneducated people making bad life choices, and the public conception that to be smart is to wear Coke bottle glasses and a pocket protector has us all confused about what is actually valuable in society. To the average citizen it’s best to be loud, brash, and in-your-face – anything else quite simply isn’t ‘Murica. But is this the image our founding fathers would have wanted for us? Sure, we’re a nation forged by rebellion but do you think George Washington would appreciate Snooki?
(Speaking of which, check out this post.)
Recent polling shows that the front-running presidential candidates are actually disliked by the majority of people who have been voting for them. If people voting backwards isn’t dumb enough, look at the options we’ve chosen for ourselves. There’s a particular candidate who has been the loudest, most offensive, and is the most politically inexperienced on his side, and is dominating the media because of it. People have been eating it up, because they apparently find it entertaining and are tired of actual politicians with real plans for the future. Granted, no one in politics is right on every issue. But doesn’t it make sense to at least want a president who has some form of political experience? Would you want a brain surgeon who has no background in medicine?
People are understandably tired of the political process, but in both parties they’re flocking to the most extreme narratives. Whether it’s protecting the special interests of the most disenfranchised nomadic tribes, or building walls and demanding licensing of religious and ethnic groups to try and reclaim America’s greatness. Wingnuts everywhere are working themselves up into a frenzy over the least appropriate concerns. So long as their wranglers are demagogues who offer vague promises with no explanations and are loud and make people feel uncomfortable the masses are happy. On the frontlines of political outrage you’re either expected to be a rough-tumbling, down-and-dirty cowboy who shouts and insults. Or, you’re expected to have a Ph.D. in 12th century aboriginal finger painting in order to have “indie cred”.
People are polarized and have been groomed to believe the loudest and fastest is the best. Being calculated and intelligent is no longer cool in a world where how rude you can be and how many laughs you can coax out of people at a political debate mean more than your tact and experience.
Oh well. Let’s just crack open a fluoride-laden soda pop and chow down on some chemically altered and genetically modified corn/soy snack chips and march blissfully into total and irreversible stupidity.