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Old 02-22-08   #1
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"We the People" prefer to be "folks"

Good article about the continual dumbing down of our country, and our apparent pride in it.

We the People

Here's a taste for the link-impaired:

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'We the people' prefer to be 'folks'
Susan Jacoby
February 19, 2008

"The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself." Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today's very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble.

It is almost impossible to talk about the manner in which public ignorance contributes to grave national problems without being labeled an "elitist." Our politicians repeatedly assure Americans that they are just "folks," a patronizing term that you will search for in vain in important presidential speeches before 1980.


The classic work on this subject by Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter, "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life," was published in early 1963. Hofstadter saw American anti-intellectualism as a basically cyclical phenomenon that often manifested itself as the dark side of the country's democratic impulses in religion and education. But today's brand of anti-intellectualism is less a cycle than a flood.

First and foremost among the vectors of the new anti-intellectualism is video. The decline of book, newspaper and magazine reading is by now an old story. The drop-off is most pronounced among the young, but it continues to accelerate and afflict Americans of all ages and education levels.

Reading has declined not only among the poorly educated, according to a report last year by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1982, 82 percent of college graduates read novels or poems for pleasure; two decades later, only 67 percent did. And more than 40 percent of Americans under 44 did not read a single book — fiction or nonfiction — over the course of a year. The proportion of 17-year-olds who read nothing (unless required to do so for school) more than doubled between 1984 and 2004. This time period, of course, encompasses the rise of personal computers, Web surfing and video games.

Does all this matter? Technophiles pooh-pooh jeremiads about the end of print culture as the navel-gazing of (what else?) elitists. In his book "Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter," the science writer Steven Johnson assures us that we have nothing to worry about. Sure, parents may see their "vibrant and active children gazing silently, mouths agape, at the screen." But these zombie-like characteristics "are not signs of mental atrophy. They're signs of focus." Balderdash.
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Old 02-22-08   #2
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idiocracy was a frightening comedy.
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Old 02-22-08   #3
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I agree that part of it is the technology. It's easier not to think for oneself so people are getting lazier than ever. That's a huge part of the problem.
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Old 02-22-08   #4
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that and society is doing it on purpose. We have half of the government pushing that way and instilling the belief that the people don't have to do anything because the government will provide for them.

It's an attempt to kill the American dream
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Old 02-22-08   #5
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Just half the government? I'd say all of it...whether your a fat elephant or a jackass, the end result is the same.
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Old 02-22-08   #6
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And it's not only the American government , the Dutch is just the same !
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Old 02-22-08   #7
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I find it amazing how many people are suspicious of political candidates that come off sounding intelligent and well-educated. W. Bush's appeal seemed to be his folksy attitude...Huckabee appeals to people by his folk-preacher approach, never mind that he favors ignorance (creationism) over science.
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Old 02-22-08   #8
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Well fat lazy and stupid tend to go hand in hand...... maybe they are preparing us for something....... evil. And for the record, I am not apart of the 40 percent that do not read...... I just can't seem to get mystery novels out of my system, and I love reading sue grafton
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Old 02-24-08   #9
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Think about it, though: if we suddenly became smarter, and questioned everything, and challenged ourselves to become better than what we are and how we got here in the first place, the whole world would come apart, because then we'd no longer be the black eye on the Earth.....

Plus jokes about us would no longer be funny (not to mention the detriment of the democracy we live in.)

Can't be sheep if we think like wolves, right?

Just a thought. I'll go back to my Jerry Springer lifestyle now, already in progress...........
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Old 02-25-08   #10
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i find the story of atlantis comes to mind, i was even inspired to by a donovan cd...sunshine superman is quite a delightful song
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Old 02-25-08   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metagion View Post
Think about it, though: if we suddenly became smarter, and questioned everything, and challenged ourselves to become better than what we are and how we got here in the first place, the whole world would come apart, because then we'd no longer be the black eye on the Earth.....

Plus jokes about us would no longer be funny (not to mention the detriment of the democracy we live in.)

Can't be sheep if we think like wolves, right?

Just a thought. I'll go back to my Jerry Springer lifestyle now, already in progress...........
Your wolf/sheep analogy brings up another problem we have here in the U.S. that really burns my toast. Everything is polarized; there are only two sides to any issue with no middle ground. You're either a Democrat or a Republican; pro-life or pro-choice; liberal or conservative...there's never any middle ground. Whatever happened to compromise?
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Old 02-25-08   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nox noctis Umbra View Post
Well fat lazy and stupid tend to go hand in hand...... maybe they are preparing us for something....... evil. And for the record, I am not apart of the 40 percent that do not read...... I just can't seem to get mystery novels out of my system, and I love reading sue grafton
I've noticed a lot of subtle differences pertaining to that since I moved to England. In America you can virtually drive up to the door no matter where you go. Here you have to park and walk just about everywhere. There's one drive-thru fast food place here. In a town this size in America there'd be half a dozen plus. The first step to combating the obesity epidemic is to stop making such terrible food so readily accessible. Second step would be to cease standardized testing and start actually teaching in school.

It's interesting when you step back and view your home country as others do.
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Old 02-25-08   #13
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"America, sitting on the asshole of the world since 1976" Sounds about right, things really starting going to shit about the carter era. Not even ford and nixon fucked up as bad as he did, and its just gotten worse since then, with the poster child for alzheimers, and oil magnate, and adulterer, and now an idiot, and who nows whats next, either an assassination, a dumb bitch, or a political switch hitter. We have no hope for this country.
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Old 02-25-08   #14
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If you have no hope for this country why still live in it??
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Old 02-25-08   #15
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Cause I don't have the money to leave, and I am not leaving without my daughter. And if things really go down the shitter, I wanna join the looting/destruction
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Old 02-25-08   #16
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There are ways around that. For example, there are companies that will hire you and ship you overseas if you're willing to go.

Or the peace corp.

Or a missionary trip for the religion of your choosing.

Or just start walking either north or south.
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Old 02-25-08   #17
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I'd rather do it on my own terms, and besides I gotta wait on the damn government to jump through the 90 different hoops to get my daughter
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Old 02-25-08   #18
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That's always a hard part.
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Old 02-25-08   #19
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Well to compound matters I was never put on the birth certificate, and because of the law of the state she is in, I have no custody as a result, but I do have parentaly rights, but for them to give me custody I basically have to go through an procedure developed for interstate adoption, and get a mental health screening(fail) and get a parental skills evaluation, and have the home certified as a viable residence, and prove why I would be the better option for custody over her grandmother who just wants to use her as a cash cow for money from the government.
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Old 02-25-08   #20
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sounds rough, but you are the biological father over the Grandmother so that counts in your favor.
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