I recently read an article in Psychology Today that discussed the “dumbing down of America,” something I have witnessed for quite some time. Believe me when I tell you I am not an intellectual snob, although I do love to be around individuals that are interested in developing their minds. I am a very curious person and was brought up by a mother who encouraged me to broaden my horizons. She always advocated for finding people whom could bring me to a higher standard of consciousness rather than those who might bring me down. It reminds me of a quote I once heard by a motivational speaker “You can fly with the eagles or soar with the turkeys.”
Bill Keller, writing in the New York Times states, “Realty TV and pop culture presented in magazines and online sites claim to provide useful information about the importance of the Housewives of Wherever that can somehow enrich our lives. After all, how else can one explain the insipid and pointless stories that tout divorces, cheating and weight gain? How else can we explain the Kardashians or Paris Hilton are known for being famous without actually contributing anything worth discussing? The artificial events of their lives become the mainstay of populist media to distract the real issues and concerns facing us.”
I know that if my grandmother had laid her eyes on one of the myriad of Kim Kardashian’s “almost dressed” photos, she would have immediately grabbed her rosary beads and prayed for her. I realize that times have changed but what are we thinking? Basically I don’t think we are.
Numbers of people now consider themselves experts in some area of life. Blogging, Vlogging, You Tube and Twitter are loaded with misinformation for informations sake. Want to know if Gorillas get pimples? Just look it up on google or wherever and you’ll find someone who knows not only the answer, but the cure. You’ll be seduced into their site with some soundbites and then they begin their sales pitch. For only $25 a month you can get all you ever wanted to know about Gorilla acne, and special creams to eliminate it. Some of which have been found to eliminate wrinkles on human skin.
There is more acceptance of information that is spewed night and day that often does not have much basis in fact. The misinformation becomes valid in lieu of getting it quickly. The more it becomes the status quo, the more we will see intellectual complacency grow. As the author of several books, I was at the mercy of editors, fact checkers, and lawyers. My Sicilian mother and grandmother could have had their jobs. I’m glad they demanded critical thinking and common sense rather than fostering a mentality that seeks millions of twitter followers who are following the proverbial lemming off the cliff.