Author Topic: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?  (Read 33247 times)

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Offline Florestan

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2008, 01:40:17 AM »
I lived in France for almost two years and met there people whose knowledge of French geography was fragmentary, to say the least.

I'd elaborate a bit this one, since it's so funny. I was having a beer with some young folks who were going to ski next day.

Me: "What's the name of the resort?"
One of them: (names the resort)
Me: "Where is that?"
They look at each other in astonishment. After a minute or two or silence, the smart guy of the group answers: "Up there in the mountains!"

 :D
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Offline Daverz

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2008, 02:39:49 AM »
Laughters and fun aside, I don't think Americans are a priori "stupid" or "hostile to knowledge". I believe those people in the video have never been offered an opportunity to have knowledge and value it in the first place, thanks to the relentless war on reason, education and authority fought by a (sadly) enormously influential leftist intelligentsia (not only in US but in Europe as well).

Do you even realize how stupid this sounds?  The "leftist intelligentsia" has no affect on how stupid the American public is.  It has no effect on the American public period.  Zip.  Nada.  Nothing.  Either you are pulling our chain, or this is some kind of studied obtuseness on your part.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 02:48:42 AM by Daverz »

Offline Florestan

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2008, 03:08:53 AM »
Do you even realize how stupid this sounds?  The "leftist intelligentsia" has no affect on how stupid the American public is.  It has no effect on the American public period.  Zip.  Nada.  Nothing.  Either you are pulling our chain, or this is some kind of studied obtuseness on your part.

When you'll have time and will to think, I'll be glad to talk to you. Until then, cheers!
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline carlos

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2008, 03:42:13 AM »
You can always put the blame on the jews. After all, they are guilty of everything on Earth. You can say that they control education and don't leave nothing to the rest. Ignorance of the youth is a jewish-marxist-leninist-maoist plot,financed by the islamic terrorism. What about that, as an idea to sell to the Republicans?
Piantale a la leche hermano, que eso arruina el corazón! (from a tango's letter)

Offline The new erato

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2008, 03:50:30 AM »
Do you even realize how stupid this sounds?  The "leftist intelligentsia" has no affect on how stupid the American public is.  It has no effect on the American public period.  Zip.  Nada.  Nothing.  Either you are pulling our chain, or this is some kind of studied obtuseness on your part.
I'll chime in with Daverz here.

A far more probable influence is the narrow US focus on all things international provided by the American right. Not to mention the science critical Bible Belt.

Ephemerid

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2008, 05:07:03 AM »
Another one, from a show in Canada: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4EDZNlTPpg

(I cannot find a similar clip except the people interviewed are university students and even a few professors)

I think another disturbing aspect of this is not merely ignorance, but a giving into so-called "authority"-- if you have a microphone and a camera, you can spout anything and they won't question any nonsense you spout (except for the kid at the 5 minute mark, who does say "Hey, wait minute, Canada has provinces, not states!"  :D )  You can say Canada just recently got electricity for its Parliament building.  You can also say "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, Saddam has ties to Osama bin Laden, and we do not torture."  How many people will actually QUESTION it when they don't even know any better?

I have no time to dig up the statistics now (perhaps someone could oblige?) but the US's educational standards are somewhere at the low end of the scale compared to other OECD nations.  Hostility to science is certainly one factor.  Sports doesn't even need to be in the high school curriculum IMO & you get civics class (one of the most important classes to be taught!) with a coach for a teacher. 

The fact that we are physically isolated from a huge part of the world plus the lack of questioning plus the ACCEPTABILITY of ignorance make invading a country on the other side of the world more abstract, more acceptable.  Its easier to lie to people ignorant of history, geography and science.  Keep 'em stupid.  Hey, it worked in the dark ages...



Offline RebLem

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2008, 05:24:52 AM »
We spent 2 months in Canada and USA a year ago.

It struck me that the television in the USA had ONLY shows from the USA. Also, news programs featured ONLY stories from the USA (and I think you will agree that stories about Iraq are actually stories about the USA).

Canada was marginally better in its global coverage, but not a lot, unless you tuned in to the Government subsidised stations.

In Australia, we get TV shows from (of course) Australia, and (of course) USA, but also England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, and there are is one national (free to air) TV station that broadcasts TV shows (series and movies, with subtitles) from everywhere around the world - in fact it is uncommon to have an English-speaking show on that channel.

Not only that, our News shows (especially the Australian ABC and SBS channels) feature stories from all around the world - usually the first 10 minutes is dedicated to Australian news, the next 10-15 minutes on international news and the final few minutes are sport and weather.

Maybe we were tuning to the wrong channels in the USA, but while we were there, it seemed like the rest of the world simply did not exist!

cheers  Rob

Quality news reporting is obtainable in the US if you look for it; how many people watch it is another question.  PBS shows a half hour of BBC World News every night on either side of the Jim Lehrer News Hour, except on Friday, when the first showing is replaced by Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria.  CSPAN is another great source for news.  On weekends, BookTV has authors of books making detailed presentations of their new offerings and taking questions from people in the audience.  Every Thursday morning, CSPAN carries Question Time in the British House of Commons.  And the History Channel is always there to give folks some perspective.

How many people watch?  I don't know.  But it is available for those who want it.

Now, my favorite personal stupid story.

Sometime in the early 1990's, I was browsing in a small video store on Belmont near Clark, in Chicago,  where I lived at the time.  There were two female clerks at the checkout desk.  The younger one, about 17, was on the phone talking with a potential customer.

"I don't know, I'll ask," she said.
She turned to the other clerk, obviously the supervisor who was maybe in her early twenties, and asked, "Do we have a movie called 'Stalin'?"
"Yes, we do," said the second clerk.
"How do you spell that?" asked the 17 year old.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 05:35:14 AM by RebLem »
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Ephemerid

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2008, 05:30:44 AM »
As far as anti-intellectualism in the US goes, people may recall the common trope in 2000 of how Gore was portrayed as a boring intellectual egghead and Bush was portrayed as a down to earth good ol' boy, the kind of man you'd like to have a beer with. 


Offline Florestan

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2008, 05:34:12 AM »
As far as anti-intellectualism in the US goes, people may recall the common trope in 2000 of how Gore was portrayed as a boring intellectual egghead and Bush was portrayed as a down to earth good ol' boy, the kind of man you'd like to have a beer with

A lie if there ever was one: isn't he the guy who haven't been drinking alcohol ever since he was born again?  :D
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Hector

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2008, 05:41:07 AM »
Clearly, then, it is not just Americans as all of us can cite examples from our own country.

It was recently reported that Network Rail in the UK had faced increased costs for bridge maintenance and repair in recent years because of HGV drivers relying on satnavs to guide them under or through low or narrow bridges.

We still receive 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' and one of my favourite answers, from a female university student, to the question 'The Archbishop of Canterbury is also known as the '....... of All England?'

Given a choice between Primate and Marsupial she opted for the latter.

Personally, I think she should have asked the audience ;D

Offline MishaK

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2008, 07:51:37 AM »
This one's from Canada and happened to me about 16 years ago. 

Cop: Hey! You're not allowed to cross the driveway here.
Me: Sorry, I just arrived from Germany and don't know my way around here.
Cop: I don't care if you're from Germany or from Tiran [pronounced tie-ran], you can't cross here.
Me: [cracking up]
Cop: There IS a Tiran!

This is a conversation my sister had during a visit to San Diego (whereupon she promptly decided not to follow her older brother to college in the US):

Stupid person: So you're from Germany?
Sis: yes.
SP: What do people eat there?
Sis: Errm... food.

I believe those people in the video have never been offered an opportunity to have knowledge and value it in the first place, thanks to the relentless war on reason, education and authority fought by a (sadly) enormously influential leftist intelligentsia (not only in US but in Europe as well).

...

IMHO, there is a direct connection between cultural leftism and decadence of education.

F, that is nonsense on a Sean & Saul level. Go wash those fingers you typed that with!

Offline Florestan

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2008, 08:03:40 AM »
F, that is nonsense on a Sean & Saul level. Go wash those fingers you typed that with!

Come on, OM, you can do better than that. Prove me wrong.
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Offline MishaK

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #32 on: February 18, 2008, 08:06:43 AM »
Come on, OM, you can do better than that. Prove me wrong.

You'd have to define your terminology first. WTF is this ominous "influential leftist intelligentsia" that has conspired to make everyone stupid? Name its members and explain its manifesto.

paulb

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2008, 08:16:47 AM »
Bush  today announces he wants to renew  the war on AIDS.
How stupid can one be.
this is a  clear indication of the trickle down theory. Stupidity starts at the top goes into the middleclassses and the lower classes gets to eat what's left of the stupidity pie.

Russia is not much better, abysmal record of stupidity. Many russians thought then and still do think Stalin was the greatest leader to ever live.

head-case

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2008, 08:17:21 AM »
"Mike, where are you from?"
"From Germany."
"Do people there speak a different language?"
"No, they also speak English, but with a German accent, like in the movies."
"Oh, interesting."

Actually, that's consistent with my experience in a recent trip to Germany.
 ;)

greg

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2008, 08:21:17 AM »
It mostly depends on who you interview..... my dad and I used to talk a lot of history, at least when i had history class, since it was interesting. My stepdad loves watching anything involving WWII (i guess since his dad did, too). Then there's my pastor, who has extensively studied Greek and Hebrew, but also knows a few other languages, one being Hungarian since he's lived and preached in Hungary for awhile. So if they asked him about Hungary, he'd know and they wouldn't have put him in the video.

Ephemerid

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2008, 08:22:03 AM »
The "intellectual elite" is the sort of propagandistic jargon heard from the right, not the left, in the US.  You can see this stereotype bandied about easily by watching 15 minutes of any Fox News programme.

"Liberals" (such as they are in the US, I find them to be too conservative myself) are often painted with the "intellectual" brush, because, as all Americans "know," intellectualism is a bad thing.  If anyone is anti-intellectual in the US, its not people on the left, but on the right.

Gore being ridiculed as an egghead, people making all too much of the fact that Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar, etc.  Compare this to Reagan and the Bushes trying to come off as down to earth good ol' boys.  Conservativism in the US relies heavily on populism, which is the classic anti-intellectual moevement.

Offline Florestan

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2008, 08:22:32 AM »
You'd have to define your terminology first. WTF is this ominous "influential leftist intelligentsia" that has conspired to make everyone stupid? Name its members and explain its manifesto.

Correction: I did not use anywhere the word "conspiracy".

I call "cultural leftism" that school of thought which subscribes to the following tenets:

1. There is no such thing as truth, just opinions.
2. All cultures are equal.
3. All Western religious, cultural, political, economical and social traditions are opressive schemes devised by white European males and need to be discarded.
4. Traditional teaching methods are obsolete. There is no need for discipline, hard work and learning. There are no good or bad students.
5. If it feels good, just do it.

etc, etc, etc ad nauseam. I'm sure you can add more to the list.

Now, two questions.

Does it sound like Marx, Gramsci, Derrida, Foucault, The New Left, The School of Frankfurt and their followers, i.e. the Leftist intellectuals? (I use Leftist as distinct from Left: Foucault was Leftist, Francois Furet was Left.)

Are these not the prevalent ideas along which the educational system moves?

(For the record: I believe the American Right as embodied in Bush et Co. has been the most destructive, dumb and anti-intellectualist US administration ever.)

« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 08:27:54 AM by Florestan »
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head-case

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2008, 09:56:20 AM »
Are these not the prevalent ideas along which the educational system moves?
They are not.

Offline carlos

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Re: "Dumb and Dumber"- Are Americans hostile to knowledge?
« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2008, 10:10:12 AM »
Maybe many up there thinks that you don't need to be educated;
just to be powerful; and that to be good at sports or very "popular" is much more important that to be studious.
Piantale a la leche hermano, que eso arruina el corazón! (from a tango's letter)