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Old 10-04-2008, 06:21 AM
 
485 posts, read 1,569,152 times
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What has caused the dumbing down of the American Culture? Is it just me or do people in general seem less interested in thinking, learning and knowledge than ever before. I also noticed a general movement towards apathy in many Americans. It seems like we are not really all that concerned about anything outside of our own little world.

Sure there is a share of people who complain about things but they do so with so little knowledge or insight. I can not believe much of what I read on Internet Message Boards. So many people have so little knowledge about the topics of the day.

Look at TV and the movies. The shows are getting more insane and mind numbing every year. This has to be a reflexion of our culture.

Is there an increasing level of anti intellectualism in our culture or has it always been that way?
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:44 AM
 
148 posts, read 539,591 times
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IMO-
You will get an idea if you volunteer at a public school at any grade level anywhere in the country and see what is taught (or what is not taught), how much emphasis is placed on learning, reading, world affairs, hard work, completing homework, how much the schools (teacher and administrators) are really helping the students who need help (and not preparing students in passing some state mandated test), and
at home - how much are the parents really helping the kids? All parents think that their kids are geniuses but how many are sitting down and working with their kids to see where the kids need help and that the kids have complete homework, have done reading etc etc. A Lot of parents seems to be caught in the bubble of PTA and GT/Magnet/Blue Ribbon programs but are they personally setting an example(by reading, by visiting libraries, museums etc) for their kids and do they demand better performance from their schools and kids?
IMO, We are raising our next generation of kids with sub-par education, poor parenting, and a bad influence of media and video games. They are bound to be anti-intellectual.
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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Yes many are anti-intellectual and not only that but there is no common sense and very poor social skills these days. Really sad.
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:20 PM
 
Location: ATL suburb
1,366 posts, read 3,450,637 times
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There are so many possible causes.
1. There is a generation of teenagers whose goal is to party and have a good time, while their parents continue to foot the bill. They'll put in the bare minimum necessary in school in order to pass. There are the ones who want to be Paris Hilton's BFF and consider her their role model.
2. We are bombarded with images of wealthy people who aren't particularly intelligent, so why strive to go into higher education if I can just play a sport or get on reality tv and make a living doing appearances.
3. K-12 doesn't teach you how to think anymore. It's just rote memorization or figuring out the "tricks" to scoring high on standardized tests.
4. Let's face it. Most people are of average intelligence. If you are an intellectual, it's much easier to recognize the lack of inherent intelligence of people.
5. To be able to contribute to an intelligent discussion, people need some base knowledge, and frankly, things like finances, politics, economics, history, and geography are either not taught or are given very little emphasis in K-12. Once you get to college, many of those subjects would be electives, and NOT the easy ones.
6. Some people just don't give sh*t about anything outside of their own little bubble.
7. TV shows that attempt to be cerebral or thoughtful don't do well in the ratings, so the show either gets cancelled or revamped, in which case they lose their core audience and the show still gets cancelled. People complain that they "can't follow the storyline".
8. As I have gotten older, people who I once thought were quite intelligent when I was younger, turn out not to be so. I've gotten older and wiser. They have not.
9. There is still a stigma attached to be intellectual. This can be problematic or even dangerous in some places.
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Fla
1,889 posts, read 6,710,179 times
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The dumbing-down of America (as I like to call it) has alot to do with the idea that we don't want to exclude or offend anyone so we have to lower standards to ensure that no one feels left out. Great idea (about not leaving anyone out) but we went about it the wrong way. Have you noticed, in the public school system at least, there's seems to be this idea that 'everyone's a winner'? We don't address the fact that if you come in last place, you ought to try harder next time. We give everyone a pat on the back and crown them winners. Sort of ridiculous, you think? So it starts young and spills over into just about every area in life (not just academics but competition in a global marketplace, too).
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Old 10-04-2008, 10:03 PM
 
3,367 posts, read 9,496,020 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prettygyrl777 View Post
The dumbing-down of America (as I like to call it) has alot to do with the idea that we don't want to exclude or offend anyone so we have to lower standards to ensure that no one feels left out. Great idea (about not leaving anyone out) but we went about it the wrong way. Have you noticed, in the public school system at least, there's seems to be this idea that 'everyone's a winner'? We don't address the fact that if you come in last place, you ought to try harder next time. We give everyone a pat on the back and crown them winners. Sort of ridiculous, you think? So it starts young and spills over into just about every area in life (not just academics but competition in a global marketplace, too).
Very true.

A teacher friend of mine told me that some of her Asian students' parents have asked the teachers not to do this - not to tell kids they are 'doing really well', they are 'winners' etc - when they are not.

They say it gives their children a false impression and stops them from working harder. They (the Asian parents) think their kids should be told exactly how bad they are, that they should knuckle down and strive to improve themselves.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles (Hollywood)
174 posts, read 437,325 times
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Quote:
A teacher friend of mine told me that some of her Asian students' parents have asked the teachers not to do this - not to tell kids they are 'doing really well', they are 'winners' etc - when they are not.

They say it gives their children a false impression and stops them from working harder. They (the Asian parents) think their kids should be told exactly how bad they are, that they should knuckle down and strive to improve themselves.
Amen to this post. Gee, in a few more generations who is going to rule the world?

I think a few posters have already suggested this, but I agree that the phenomenon that we observe as "dumbing down" is the end result of democracy being applied to areas that are not fitting for democratic ideals - not every opinion is of equal value - truth is not necessarily (and not often) what the majority survey says that it is. Scientific research is not the result of democratic voting. The Bill of Rights was added to the constitution as a safe guard against mob rule, not just despotism.

I might add that I don't think that truth is necessarily "politically correct" either.

Democracy applied to "higher" learning has a dumbing down effect - reduce to the lowest common denominator. Hopefully, I'm not really saying anything new or novel here, but I am sometimes surprised by reactions on this board.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:10 PM
 
Location: southern california
53,432 posts, read 68,333,696 times
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rejection of traditional european/american culture
basic hatred of family values, work ethic inc academics
hip hop instead of calculus.
just guessing
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:16 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,864 posts, read 27,391,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Refugee56 View Post
What has caused the dumbing down of the American Culture? Is it just me or do people in general seem less interested in thinking, learning and knowledge than ever before. I also noticed a general movement towards apathy in many Americans. It seems like we are not really all that concerned about anything outside of our own little world.

Sure there is a share of people who complain about things but they do so with so little knowledge or insight. I can not believe much of what I read on Internet Message Boards. So many people have so little knowledge about the topics of the day.

Look at TV and the movies. The shows are getting more insane and mind numbing every year. This has to be a reflexion of our culture.

Is there an increasing level of anti intellectualism in our culture or has it always been that way?
Actually, that is "reflection" although I have to admit that is the most creative spelling error I have seen a long time.

Anyway, to answer your question. It is popular culture and the media, plain and simple. Parents are not participating in their children's education like they used to. Now it is "cool" to be an illiterate gangsta and people who are intelligent and have a future are "geeks or nerds".

20yrsinBranson
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:35 PM
 
Location: Midwest
2,603 posts, read 6,060,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southdown View Post
Very true.

A teacher friend of mine told me that some of her Asian students' parents have asked the teachers not to do this - not to tell kids they are 'doing really well', they are 'winners' etc - when they are not.

They say it gives their children a false impression and stops them from working harder. They (the Asian parents) think their kids should be told exactly how bad they are, that they should knuckle down and strive to improve themselves.
Good points. When I worked in a largely black school, there was a very strong anti-study attitude, it was called "acting white." Getting As and Bs could get you a good beating or two, and generalized social ostracization.

One reason Asians excel IMO is that they strive for excellence.
They don't dwell on long-past injustices--there is long and brutal history of how Asians were treated in the US, before and after TR was president--but the parents are not of the "everyone is speshul" idiotic mindset.
It was Chinese coolies who built the transcontinental railroad, I don't believe any other race could stand up to the brutal conditions for as long.
Knuckle down, work hard, work harder next week, never let up.
That is how people get ahead, and they generally have a work ethic. Many are also succeptible to the gang culture, unfortunately. That goes with all cultures, although I believe hispanic and blacks have the heaviest gang participation, followed by Asians and then whites.
That's a dead end for most, unless you get into management or politics.


Mmmm, back to the OP's topic.
With the NEA-controlled dumbing down of our schools, I'm not sure most kids would even know what you meant by intellectual.
Or many adults either. While Jay Leno's Jaywalking segment probably picks the dumbest of the dumb, it's mind-boggling that so many knowledge-free idiots are walking around without adult supervision.
Well, it IS Hollywood, maybe that helps.

America has been pretty well stupidified and greedified. When a set of $3000 22" wheels for the Escalade, plus a home theater w/55" TV, plus a deck and sprinkler system, are more important than having a few hundred good books in the house, we can consider our civilization on the skids.

Look at the "thinkers" who are TV role models. They chatter mindlessly and interrupt constantly. Whether the View, Oprah, or a panel of CNN or Fox reporters, it's often the same gibberish, different day.

The only presidential candidate who was grounded in the constitution, showed he understood and respected it, and referred back to it for guidance time and again, was dissed and ignored and made fun of.
Yet he was the most serious intellect on the trail.

But the focus kept going back to the knuckleheads who were going to "make life better for Americans" which is not the role--nor generally within the capabilities--of the federal government. Freebies, class envy, race entitlement, not paying consequences for stupid actions (the mortgage scandal), on it goes.
Don't think, grab.

Ethical behavior is never discussed, real issues get 5% air time. By comparison, Huntley-Brinkley were absolute paragons of honesty and straightforwardness.

Programming the proles, or distracting them with foolishness, seems to be Job #1.

I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams of a dysfunctional society how Paris Hilton or any of the top 100 celebridiots could ever seriously be considered "news."
Yet their wacky hijinx are always reported during the news hour, with a straight face, as if they were people of any substance.

Incredible.

And have you noticed, in the "born on this date" section of the newspapers, it's all celebridiots. No more towering figures of historic US accomplishment. They are not important. Fame is important.

Surely our many enemies are encouraged, cheering on the stupidification of our society.
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