We Americans love a good show. Little do we know that we are actually part of the show now. Other people from around the world are watching our slow decline into a Third World nation. While we are busy arguing about the “big issues” like abortion, gay marriage, and evolution; our roads are being unpaved, we are becoming poorer, and more stupid. As the old Carl Sagan remarked in his book, Cosmos, we have more astrologists and psychics than astronomers. And why wouldn’t we, after all, astronomy requires serious thinking? Better to go with the gut feeling of an astrologist.
Just look at your newspaper, one-third of the newspaper is comprised of the sports pages these days! In fact, there’s more sports coverage than foreign news coverage! A whole page is devoted to a home run, while a suicide bomber in Afghanistan killing two Marines gets a paragraph. Charlie Sheen’s Truth Tour gets more exposure than a top general in Iraq discussing rebuilding efforts. The sad thing is we don’t realize that this is happening to us. And if we do, we don’t seem to care as long as the circus continues and we are “pacified” with cheap trinkets from China or entertainment in the form of Snooki. Never mind that Snooki got more money for giving a talk at Rutgers University than Nobel-Fucking-Prize-Winning-and-I-Got-A-Damned-Pulitzer-Too Toni Morrison! How the hell did that happen?
Richard Hofstadter wrote a book entitled Anti-Intellectualism in American Life back in 1963. If you haven’t read this book, I highly suggest you pick it up at your local public library. That’s if you still have a public library! In his book, Hofstadter laments the poor state of the American intellectual, and how he must contend with a rising tide of stupidity coming from his fellow countrymen. That’s a paraphrase of course, and a pretty dumbed down version of things, but hopefully it’s easy enough for people to understand.