Monday, September 08, 2008

The Stupidity Crisis

Arts and Letters Daily points to an article (part 2 here) about the stupidity crisis that is supposed to be plaguing American culture, forcing certain academics to write books with titles like "The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future." The culprits are familiar: institutionalized anti-intellectualism, entertainment industry, consumerism, religious fundamentalism, political correctness, postmodernism, course-work centered around grades, google, youtube etc.

6 comments:

Szerelem said...

I just think there's a general lack of curiosity about anything - and it's not necessarily restricted to American culture. I have to deal with similar idiots every day of the week.

Alok said...

:) it's true. it's not limited to america. I was just wondering if it is something that is getting worse and what role if anything internet or digital media has to play in it.

praymont said...

The stupidity crisis is even worse here in Canada, where it's exacerbated by people in public administration.

"To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid; you must also be well-mannered." (Voltaire)

Alok said...

haha. nice one. One of my famourite quotes about stupidity is from flaubert:

"To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost."

Antonia said...

strange. for i don't think this is altogether true. of course there is always complaining about how everything goes so very much downhill which it also does to some extent, but having worked in an antiquarian bookshop for quite a while i was surprised by the amount of people who wanted to have all the great important and difficult books, only those books were most of the time difficult to order. so the demand is there, somewhere, hidden...

Alok said...

I think like all sociological analysis this is based on broad generalization too. But I do think that the original arguments make sense mainly that internet and in general digital media, gadgets and all the noise and hum of modern life make it harder to concentrate your thought on any single topic for any significant period of time resulting in shallowness. may be "stupidity" is a stronger word, not totally justified in this case.

then there is also consumerism, mass popular culture, general social conformity all of which has definitely become worse there is no doubt about that. Another symptom of the so called "late captitalism" may be...

I also don't think this complaint is anything new. Weren't all those philosophers like Adorno doing the same thing more than fifty years ago? Unlike them i don't think it is apocalypse or the end of the world...rather just a natural course of things but still one can see areas of hope.