Friday, August 14, 2009
The Age of Stupid
Am I the only one who feels like someone has unleashed an epidemic of stupid in the world and our future looks more and more like a new revised Dark Ages? Recently Robin and I watched a movie on television. The story had to do with two people who had been put to sleep in an experiment and they only awoke a century later. One was an ordinary sort of guy, the other was a street hooker. To their dismay, when they awoke, the population around them was incredibly ignorant. We learn that while educated individuals were deciding not to have children, those not so educated had been propagating like rabbits. The gene pool had been dumbed down and these two hapless souls were the only smart ones around.
Every day I turn on television, only to have my senses assaulted with another round of stupid. Nowadays an ordinary medical directive has become a “death panel” out to kill grandma. Some fool when interviewed said Obama could no longer be president because he had chosen thirty-two czars and that was unconstitutional. Well, we have a free press and they will correct the record? Not hardly. We have Glenn Beck enacting an attempt to poison the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. A Republican Senator meanwhile tells his audience that indeed there is a death panel in the medical reform bill and they should be alarmed. He is supposed to be the moderate one too! Late news flash. They took it out of the bill which means STUPID was victorious!
No matter where I turn, truth is distorted to where it is hardly recognizable. People choose a political stance and then ape the lingo for their side without even knowing what they are saying. Obama is a Communist! Give me a break. Do they have a clue what a communist is? Or they use communist and fascist in the same breath. Um, the two are not the same!
In this day and time, reasoned discourse seems to have given way to hysteria. We have an entire segment of the population who chooses a leader based on whether they want to have a beer with him.
This was the year that Walter Cronkite passed away. The torch of responsible journalism has been dropped into the water and drowned, replaced instead by ratings and conflict that really isn’t but will be by the time they finish with it. Up is down, green is read, and the news is dead. I really profoundly miss responsible journalism. I long for sensible reasoned discourse and rational debate. Why is it so hard to disagree agreeably? What could be so wrong with reasoned and fact based discourse?
I wonder to myself. Have we again fallen prey to technology that moves faster than we do? With the internet, hundreds of cable channels, and I might add fewer opportunities for people to actually talk to each other face to face, have we lost as a society the capability to separate truth from hogwash? Is critical thinking dead? If not, can we bring it back to prominence sooner rather than later?
And if not, can I volunteer for one of those death panels they are talking about? I’m not sure I’m up for another dark ages.