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Old 04-03-2008, 08:23 PM
 
455 posts, read 886,762 times
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It seems to me that there has been a trend towards 'dumbing' things down in popular culture. The obsessions with celebrities (Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson), scripted "reality" shows, over-produced Top40 music (performed by people with little musical ability outside of singing and sometimes thats even suspect), increasingly formulaic movies from the major studios, etc.

I know I'm probably coming off as an old man (i'm 24) ranting, but lately I am finding that nothing that any of the major studios/labels/networks are putting out are interesting at all to me. They are all just so formulaic and shallow. I understand the nature of the game is making money, but come on. Why are people eating this stuff up?

It just feels like we are cultivating a 'culture of stupid' among the youth/masses. I don't know, just an observation I've noticed in our society. What say you?
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Old 04-04-2008, 02:53 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, which as I understand was once upon a time ago part of the United States of America
849 posts, read 736,679 times
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Welcome to a Post-American America.

I watched a bit of the lie detector show last night
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Old 04-04-2008, 07:43 AM
 
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Well...I think a lot of it is our wretched education system. Plus we're encouraged to mindlessly consume and lie in front of our gigantic TV screens like Julie Christie in Farenheit 451. We have no reason to have to think, everything's done for us. In fact we're punished for thinking for ourselves.

Your first paragraph is talking about commercial products. The answer is in the old sixties adage "turn on, tune in, drop out" (= don't consume, look to yourself for your happiness). There's still plenty of creativity and originality among kids today - just got to get that next cultural revolution started .

Last edited by delusianne; 04-04-2008 at 07:53 AM..
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Old 04-04-2008, 08:13 AM
 
221 posts, read 903,478 times
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I thought dumbing down was the definition of pop culture....

My grandparents thought Elvis was the AntiChrist. Their parents had similar thoughts about skirts that went above the knee. Pop culture is all about tantalizing the youth- it has mostly been brainless. What shocked and horrified the last generation is silly and benign to the next.

It's choice and balance. There is still amazing literature and fine wine, classical music and history. If the latest from Hollywood is depressing you, try heading to the library and read something that was written 100 years ago. Find an afternoon to lose yourself in a museum. Attend a college lecture, or head to Gettysburg or Valley Forge (sorry, I'm here in PA). Turn off the tv and the computer and take a nature walk. There is MUCH to countermand the idiocy of pop culture of today. But, in all fairness, when I was younger, you couldn't tear the headphones off my head, bopping around to Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper, and Rick Springfield- classics, in my book, at the time. And all that was pretty mindless stuff.

Do I think pop culture has coursened over the years? Yes. But, it's only one form of entertainment. There are plenty of other wonderful things to keep you occupied, so, don't lose hope. Just turn off the tv, stop reading the silly tabloids, and get on with life. It's amazing, actually......
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:02 AM
 
Location: SoFlo to SoCal (Hacienda Heights)
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I understand where Rick is coming from, and I agree. I too am 24, and have been pretty much clueless about who's who today, because I honestly just dont care. I also think tv/magazines/movies are shallow, and too much of the same thing (ie 15 'reality' tv shows basically about the same thing). I just started watching actual (2) tv shows again, because not even that interested me for a long time.

But, I also agree with Oldie. There are a ton of other things to do. Hike, go to the beach, museum, library, etc. Unfortunately most young people could care less about these things. I know I didnt care when I was in my teens. I'd read all kinds of magazines, watch at least 4-5 hours of tv a day, and my favorite movies were 'She's All That', 'Clueless' and etc. I think as every generation gets older, they realize what pop culture is all about and come to their senses. But it'll always be around, and we just have to deal with it, just as the previous generation had to deal with our pop culture.
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:34 PM
 
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I don't know when it's been any different.
Intellectuals have been saying the same things regarding the entertainment industry for at least a half-century - probably much longer.
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Old 04-04-2008, 01:28 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,374 posts, read 40,188,488 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b. frank View Post
I don't know when it's been any different.
Intellectuals have been saying the same things regarding the entertainment industry for at least a half-century - probably much longer.
I agree--probably longer.
I think we're just more saturated with dumbed-downedness, and the saturation is because the Amighty Dollar seems to matter more than it ever did before.

Advertising sells. Infotainment sells. So that's what the media give us.
How they sell, I don't know. But it seems that they do.

One thing I do like is YouTube. Sure, there is a lot of junk on it, but the good stuff gets sent from person to person--I've learned about some good bands and seen some really cool animation that way.

About TV: just turn it off. I keep up with the Daily Show/Colbert by going to YouTube or Comedy Central.

Movies: I thought 2007 was a decent year for movies. Maybe things are getting better.
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Sheffield, England
2,639 posts, read 5,934,142 times
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Nah, you don't sound like an old man at all, I'm 17 and I totally see where you're coming from.

Last year I finished my 12 years of mandatory schooling and stayed on to do my A-levels (I'm not sure what the equivalent American qualifications are but it's basically 11th and 12th grade) so because it isn't compulsory most of the people who couldn't be bothered to work have left. When I was in the lower school though there was this culture which basically said that if you got good grades you were some kind of nerdy loner and if you got crap grades that somehow made you 'cool'. Although that doesn't apply in the upper school now because everyone who's there chose to be, I know it's still prevalent among the 8th, 9th and 10th graders. It really sucks because people are being discouraged by their peers when really they should be being praised!

It's just a sad reflection of today's society I'm afraid where the 'populars' are the people who look the best and the people who even so much as attempt anything vaguely considered intellectual are labelled as dorks and nerds. It's a real shame that it's got this far and needs to be reversed quickly or generation after generation of today's youth are going to grow up to be clueless idiots. Unfortunately I don't have any ideas as to how it can be done.
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:42 AM
 
34,990 posts, read 33,885,620 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boycew02 View Post
Nah, you don't sound like an old man at all, I'm 17 and I totally see where you're coming from.

Last year I finished my 12 years of mandatory schooling and stayed on to do my A-levels (I'm not sure what the equivalent American qualifications are but it's basically 11th and 12th grade) so because it isn't compulsory most of the people who couldn't be bothered to work have left. When I was in the lower school though there was this culture which basically said that if you got good grades you were some kind of nerdy loner and if you got crap grades that somehow made you 'cool'. Although that doesn't apply in the upper school now because everyone who's there chose to be, I know it's still prevalent among the 8th, 9th and 10th graders. It really sucks because people are being discouraged by their peers when really they should be being praised!

It's just a sad reflection of today's society I'm afraid where the 'populars' are the people who look the best and the people who even so much as attempt anything vaguely considered intellectual are labelled as dorks and nerds. It's a real shame that it's got this far and needs to be reversed quickly or generation after generation of today's youth are going to grow up to be clueless idiots. Unfortunately I don't have any ideas as to how it can be done.
It's always been that way. Then the values reverse in adulthood - starting right about where you are now. If you go on to university and come back for your first Christmas break and you see those "popular" kids still living at home and not likely to leave town ever...you'll see.

The ant and the grasshopper. It's a cruel trap for those once "cool" kids.
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:44 AM
 
1,820 posts, read 4,336,169 times
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Things are getting worse, but they've been this way for a long time. Look at the movie industry. Movies like Dumb and Dumber, Dodgeball or other movies with Jim Carey, Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Ben Stiller, etc., all help contribute to the dumbing down of America. These moronic, fratboy, drunk, over-sexed, potty-humor, sexual inuendo-type movies do big business in America and it's hugely embarrassing for America. So are TV shows like South Park, Beavis and Butthead, reality TV, etc., I quit watching television years ago and haven't been to a movie since Lord of the Rings. Daytime, prime time and cable/satellite television are all like having open sewer lines flowing through your living room. I don't have to lift the lid off the sewer to know what's inside.

It's been going on for years. It's just that you're starting to mature and recognize these things. It's sad, isn't it?
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