The Dumbing Down of Entertainment

Shock value has become the simple minded avenue through which writers attempt to nab viewers.  Perhaps the “shock” paradigm is working because there are few other choices and so few engaged viewers; but I think it’s a flashing neon sign that creativity is dead and intelligent thought is a dead activity.  I believe people are becoming less ABLE to think, because nobody really has to anymore.  Everyone wins, everybody gets to retake tests until they “pass”, everybody’s entitled, the fun thing is to pull one over on the world and put an unqualified body in a position of power and importance, and if you can read it online somehow that qualifies you as an expert.  Faking it and lying have become art, an aspiration.  What happened to America?  Even a college degree has become unimportant and therefore a useless waste of time because universities are giving them away for financial benefits.   So now?  BS degree?  No big deal.  My dog has one.

By the way, a REAL college experience develops creativity and by “real” I mean one where you actually work and lean something.  We might be on to something here.

Some of my saddest moments are when I look around at the sheer laziness of people, and some of my most frightened ones are when I see creativity either dying or being killed, before my eyes.  People are lazier and dumber by the year, and it seems to be okay, because dumb is a whole lot easier than smart and inquisitive and engaged.  But it is also far less rewarding, and unfortunately these unengaged lazies are the ones making rules and running the show.  I want a renaissance!  I want an end to entitlements and I miss intelligent, engaged people!   I miss original thinking, creativity, NEW ideas.

I know I am not the only one who has noticed “remakes” ad nauseam, to the point where we are thrust back in time to think about what led up to the great story someone ELSE once wrote.  And I am tired of the practice of  ‘sampling’ of others artists’ works because musicians have no talent to create their own good body of work.  Forget great; I’ve given up on great.  But “sampling” used to be called plagiarism and was not only frowned upon, but also was illegal.  EVEN if you gave credit to the person from whom you ‘borrowed’ ideas.  Commercials, also known as television, are reduced to using sex and violence as the draws.  Why?  Because it takes no ingenuity nor creativity to know that men respond to sex and violence.  You’ve heard it:  Sex sells.  And it does, because that’s the norm now.  It’s what we teach our children is most important.  You know, base animal behavior. That’ll get you a great job.  Be an animal.

There’s nothing wrong with sex, but you don’t put man on Mars by watching sexy commercials or porn.  You do that by physics, chemistry, action, fitness, bravery, ingenuity and plain old hard work!  OH, and lets not forget competition!  That’s a dirty word unless you’re talking sports.  By the way sports was one way dictators controlled the masses, did you know that?  Think gladiators.  And now think about how important the NFL has become.  We are lemmings.

And don’t tell me there’s nothing new under the sun; there’s new, we are just too lazy and uncreative to search for it.

We used to exist in what we were told was the golden age of television, and perhaps it once was.  We saw the birth and development of talk shows with substance, news shows that were truly balanced, and television shows that made you think at least a little bit, about life and circumstances.  We saw shows that made you laugh, about real life, not some twisted idea to garner ratings.  I recall watching talk shows with political themes where the commentator was almost invisible in the grand scheme, because he (yes usually he) intended the spotlight to be on the guests.  Now, the commentator has to be the STAR, and their political views are thought to be somehow more important than anyone else because they have the microphone.  But lets face it; reading a teleprompter or a stack of notes does not make you smarter than I, nor entitled to make up MY mind about what’s happening in the world.  I need you to stand down and let me listen to the people who may or may not be qualified to make laws by which I will be required to live.

Do you remember Firing Line with William F. Buckley?  He was the person who really started the whole idea of political talk shows.  His show was truly a show for intellectuals, but what he did was provide a platform for ALL of the views.  Everyone came prepared to state his position and to defend it, in a civilized manner, and everyone expected to be treated with dignity because anything else was unheard of.  It was the audience who made up their minds, not some commentator doing it for them.   Now, if you want to watch politics, you choose the one that repeats back to you what you want to hear, which adds NO intellectual value at all, and you nod and drool at the oracle commentator who thinks just like you!  Nobody wants to entertain the other views or God forbid actually give them a platform, because it has become all about emotion.  No brains needed.  Dumbed down.  Next they’ll just sing it to us as they serve alcohol or drugs.

Lately we see commercials with peoples’ heads exploding, or cannibal cereal bites.  Are you kidding me?  Do we have ten year old boys writing this stuff?  It’s not cute; it’s not amusing; it’s subliminal violence and it’s a red flag, waving frantically, that the creators are unintelligent and uncreative and juvenile, and WE, the consumers are idiots for watching this mess.  I don’t.  I turn it off.  And I wonder where the creative ones are.

And while we are on the subject of turning it off, let’s talk about TV again.  I called the cable provider to fire them, and of course they asked me why.  I told them I was tired of paying for advertisements.  I don’t CARE about what this medication or that medication does, and no I won’t ask my doctor to prescribe it because I also hear the side effects in those ads…which the pharmaceutical companies are trying to make go away, by the way.  So far their efforts haven’t worked because there are still some intelligent people out there.  But watch. Pretty soon they will disappear from the ads.  Why?  Because the masses have become so lazy and dumb, so enamored by drugs, that they would rather memorize the ACTUAL names of the plethora of drugs in their cabinet, than get an education and see that these drugs CAUSE most of what ails us these days.  Bottom line?  Most people clearly don’t mind a continuous stream of advertisements AND don’t mind paying big bucks for them.  I’m shaking my head.  Where is the substantive content?  No longer on TV.

All I’m saying is that I lived in the world where innovation was natural, where great ideas bloomed every day.  I lived in the world where people used their imagination and intelligence and enjoyed it.  I lived in the world where competition was fostered and where it fomented even greater ideas as a result. I didn’t live in the world where everyone ran around with a bloodsucker raised, frantic to insert it, at any cost, into a host.

Sanders keeps citing Scandinavia as the blueprint for a utopian America, but what he fails to report, or fess up as it were, is that these countries are stumbling under the weight of all of the bloodsuckers weakening the host, and under the weight of the demise of work ethic, which made these countries great to begin with.  So their recoveries happened when they adopted more “right leaning” policies…in other words to scrap the entitlements and send the bloodsuckers elsewhere, stop paying people to NOT work.  Reward innovation, creativity, a desire to become better!

There’s no such thing as utopia.  Instead there’s steady decline as the host dies, unless people get busy and start using their god-given brains.  I barely tolerate lazy, and I rage against extortion.  But mostly I feel sad at how dumb and lazy we have become, and I know I might see the day that this behavior causes this country to fall. In the meantime, I watch documentaries on Amazon.  At least there’s usually some good information there.

What it boils down to is this:  The entertainment we are served is a recipe for the environment in which we live.  What I’m seeing makes me very sad, because I have seen the “golden age” and this?  Nothing like it.





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