So, I was about to write about something else. Still, the Newsweek slide (really, article is too strong of a word for it) was too much of a temptation. Although the right name of should be On American Ignorance, well, there is nothing like a provocative name to give a boost, like the You Tube posts features close ups of butts, breast in the little link. So, the question is: Are Americans really ignorant?
The right answer is probably. For example, the earth rotates around the sun, we cannot see it for sure, it seems like the other way around but science has proved it, and we all feel its effects. The effects of American ignorance can be seen through the way it fed satire, shift culture and changed history.
The amazing Daily Show argument of whether Fox News was dumb or evil is a good example. It was just hilarious to see them debate and prove their case. Still, one can argue that Fox is both evil and ignorant but that is another blog entry. The most amazing piece of satire on the subject was from the Onion News where the headline Happy Healthy Obamas out of Touch with Miserable Americans really set the tone. It is a telling segment in more than one ways.
First, Obama as a whole is an insult to the average American. His impeccable image of a gifted who earns his place in history the hard way is both inspiring and heartbreaking to all the Homer Simpsons of America. Yea, you can be against the dude or even disappointed on him but come on, he is the first damn black president of the US of A! And only a Homer Simpson would believe he got a pass for being black. And probably he is the best dude for the job because come on, McCain got crazy and he was with crazy and Hilary Clinton is with Mr. Smart but so horny is distracting us from her talent.
Oh God, please remember the Dark Ages when Bush was in office. Yea, his popularity dropped in the last year but it is common with all presidents. Maybe Gore won but he defeated Kerry fair and square. Bush got what he called "political capital" and we are still paying that expenditure, literally. Look at Sarah Palin who is Bush with a skirt and no, Bush ain't no pit bull. He is an idiot. What I am trying to say with these horrible, scarring memories is that Bush was liked among many people. Palin is quite popular. We love idiots because we are idiots. Smarts and talent remind us how useless we are. Yea for a while we saw the err of our actions but it prove too hard to change and we are back to our old habits.
Ana from The Young Turks, really nailed the coffin when complaining how The Situation was going to make an estimate of five million bucks while a bright dreamer was not able to get a college loan. In the common sense department, it shows that our beloved capitalistic system is in the highway to hell. In the way our cultural consciousness is wired, it makes perfect sense. The Situation is like us, probably because his capacities to display stupidity we can even look down on him and laugh, though he clearly has the last laugh. The other causes outrage and fear. Here is an over achiever who despite her many, many obstacles achieve a great thing. She reminds us of our mortal flaws. That is why she is someone to despise.
Even some of the comments from the MSN slide, really show this point. Many people keep self pitying themselves, complaining that politicians are out of touch with the middle class. Clearly, there is no distinction between education and wealth. George W. Bush was always rich. Most of the laws he did, deeply affected the middle class and benefited the richest 1% of the population. Obama in the other hand was a community organizer in Chicago. It was a long time ago but he actually met and had relationships with poor people. So, really understanding, what Bill Moyers poetically described as, the other America, the one we all deny but none the less most of us live in, is not a necessary condition for being one of us. Yet, Bush is one of us and Obama is an elitist. You can be rich and one of us or poor and one of them.
So who is at fault for our current state of affairs? Well, we can trace many culprits, for example the media, the school system, the working conditions, the Republican Party and, of course, heavy metal. After all, if the documentary the Power Elite was good for something, it was to remind us that the Clinton years were no good for the working poor, long hours of work for little pay. After the disastrous housing bubble the pain even got to the middle class. The anger that we see now through The Tea Party Movement is not a recent phenomenon but the bottled anger of decades of tricked down economics. Who has the time to get educated? Thus, who has the knowledge and time to figure out if the kids are getting educated? (This is a double tragedy because it assures yet another generation of idiots in the making.) Who has the time to check out if Sarah Palin's death panels are for real? Isn't it easier to believe in crazy conspiracy theories than to analyze reality?
Still, at least part of the causes can be found in our own laziness and arrogance. We are too lazy to get educated and too arrogant to prove ourselves wrong. As a result, we are willing to pay top buck to anyone willing to tell us how right we are. We want to hear how Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We want to hear how the cupacabra was really a inbreed experiment by the CIA. It is sometimes heart breaking to find out that many of the Jehovah witnesses that knock at my door have yet to finish reading the Bible. THE BOOK they use to PROVE everyone else wrong. They just hear that someone said that this is in the Bible and take it as it is without checking and they hear that someone says that something else is wrong and they take it as it without checking it. The result is disaster.
How many of the people who scream death panel could find out they were wrong by simply reading the damn bill which is freely available? How many people would have find out that there was no case for the war in Iraq if they have dig for information about the subject. How different the world would be if every one of us could take responsibility for the society we live in.
Being smart is not a factor or talent but of hard work. In life, no matter how talented you are, a person who is disciplined enough to work hard every day will always beat you. An educated person can turn into an ignorant idiot if the wealth is not constantly being reinvested. An ignorant person can become educated by just working hard.
Then again, it is wise to be ignorant if you choose not to be proven wrong.