Monday, March 15, 2010

To: Scholars of the Future. In the Future.

As you Future Scholars look back into the archaic Internet archives at this generation's peculiar spelling irregularities and shake your heads (or nodules or units or tentacles or whatever), I entreat you to remember that we here in the early nanomoments of the Twenty-First Century are good people who tended to conflate "Right to Freedom of Speech" with "Right to Whine Like a Brat." And often confuse "Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble" with "Right to Stand around Town Meetings Dressed Like a Pirate and Whine Like a Brat." And sometimes mistake "Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances" for "Demand Impeachment of Socialist Alien the Day After the Election and Whine Like a Brat." Some incorporate all three and unassumingly fashion bewildering signs with unintelligible slogans and brandish them; the media publish mortifying images later. (Oh, and there was this momentary obsession with brusque women performing pedestrian dance music. As they say,"It's all fun and games until someone loses a dignity.") Seem like nice enough guys...At this juncture in our history, many broadcasters had no means of discourse other than hollering swear words and showing expensive, flashy -- but ultimately inaccurate -- graphics. This led to widespread knowledge shortages and something that you probably know as "The Dumb Bubble."
"The Dumb Bubble" required entertainers to display little talent -- other than insipid uninspired mimicry -- and news outlets to just plain make shit up, especially their own self-identification as "news outlets." This did not keep them from profiting off of the widespread dopeyness. Politicians didn't even bother with those apocryphal "smoke-filled rooms," but downloaded their dealings with their now-corporate constituents directly to CNBC.
Eventually Dumb reached critical mass when an Objectivist called his Socialist neighbor "a Communist." But rather than retort with antagonistic comments about Ayn Rand -- as was the practice in those days -- the neighbor proffered challenging and illuminating reading materials and painstakingly explained their differences in ideologies. This was the turning point. Rather than "agreeing to disagree" (also a common argument-ending ruse in those days which was interchangeable with "STFU"), they mutually manufactured a synthesis, became Socially-Progressive-True-Fair-Market Capitalists, and married. You just wait'll I get back to my parents' basement and BLOG about this!!1!You may think, Scholars of the Future, from your perches way above the various strata of imbecility that we have left for you over the ages, that the nascent Internet was an incubator for ignorance. That so many nuts and fringers have deluded themselves into believing that their wacky precepts are widespread due to easy availability on the Web. That the entire culture's principles became so relaxed as to languish untended.
Studying this sort of thing from their "unique" perspective, the Simon Weisenthal Center for Tolerance found that in 2009, there were 11,500 "problematic" websites (blogs, social networks, forums, et cetera) with "hate content." They had only counted 10,000 in 2008. But has this churlishness and bigotry affected the world at large? It's no surprise that Twitter and them are fifteen percent meaner (fifteen percent of my facebook friends are loutish boors, I admit it); but has this coarseness made the world fifteen percent dumber?

"We are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan -- he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last 20 years because he lowered taxes."

-- Dr. Don McLeroy,
Chairman of the Texas Board of Education

Nothing to worry about here.


Karie said...

Thank you - for being intelligent. For sludging through the gunk that has become our media and adding some cogent comments to counter the downward spiral. Even when no one seems to read or respond, I believe you are getting important words out there and making points, and a diference!

PJ said...

That's awfully nice.

There are far more with more eloquence. Many more with more influence. Some with more common sense. But few with a better partner.