The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stupidity on Parade

Cue the drum major!

Call out the clowns!

Strike up the band!

And don't forget the floats!

That's right Oral Report fans, it's a parade!! (And it's not even St. Stupid's Day!) I've been inundated with ignorance, shrouded in senselessness, and removed from the reasonable! Lucky you, too, because now I shall share my adventures so that you may be stupified as well!

I've never been a fan of John Stossel. If you have, you should likely leave now. Today, I saw a story that nearly made my brain explode.

Known for his hard-hitting investigative style (please note the irony there) John Stossel (of ABC's 20/20) doesn't see the problem with 'global warming'. Okay, okay, he'll admit that there likely is global warming, but isn't ready to acknowledge that it's a "bad thing", or...get this...that we have to turn our freedom over to Al Gore.

::blink:: ::blink::

What the hell is he talking about? Does he think that if he agrees that there is global warming that, because Al Gore tried to bring this information to the public that he's only doing it to be the secret police or something? Al Gore will sit in some tower somewhere and decide who shall be worthy to receive fossil fuels?

Is this really who ABC wants fronting for them? Seriously?

I hate it when Americans (or anyone else in the world, actually) need to have their news watered down and spoonfed to them like pablum. Why is analytical thought...intelligence...a stigma?

It all makes my brain hurt!

Then there's this new quiz show that starts tonight. You've all seen the commercials, but none of you is talking about it. (I'm not blaming you. I'm trying to ignore it, too.) ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER? is clearly setting the bar even lower than Black. White. And that's really going some.

Are adults supposed to feel vindicated if they can beat 10 year olds in a match of wits? Have we really sunk that low?

The new show premieres tonight, but I'm pretty sure I have a root canal or a tax audit that I'd rather be doing, so I'll be missing it.

Now, I'm not the FORREST GUMP hater that my fiance' is, but maybe...just maybe...he's on to something. When I watch FORREST GUMP, I don't so much see the idolization of the unintelligent that he sees. I see a mentally handicapped man mastering life's challenges and making the best of what comes. Those are life lessons that we can all use. Certainly, the fictional character gets more breaks and opportunities than most of us do, and he has a heaping helping of luck, as well.

Are we, as a culture, willing to just accept that smart really isn't impressive? I hope not. I hope this is just a phase. Or a bad dream. Because smart is all that and a bag of chips. Smart is cool and sexy and has FAR more oomph than a set of 12-pack abs sitting in a ferrari with a bag of cash on the seat. That is said with no irony whatsoever. Smart can imagine and invent things. Smart has a biting sense of humor and a sense of wit that makes you think, too. Smart can tackle problems and resolve issues. Smart is creative and lyrical. Smart is an engaging conversationalist and a talented thinker. Smart is full of discoveries and interesting explorations.

Are we, as a people, so insecure that we are threatened by intellectualism? So much so that we want the world around us to be dumbed down so that we can feel superior in it? I have no difficulty living with the fact that I hit somewhere in the middle. I'd rather live in a world that strives toward the high end of that scale, instead of catering to the low end of it. I'm not saying that I (or anyone else) should expect that every single person is capable of the same results. That's never gonna be the case. But that doesn't mean that we can't reward the efforts.

Ironically, John Stossel did a segment on 20/20 last year called "Stupid in America" outlining problems with public schools in America and how our children were suffering because of it.

Government bureaucracy, student behavioral problems disrupting learning and incompetent teachers (...Klein [head of the New York City public school system] said he employs dozens of teachers who he's afraid to let near the kids, so he has them sit in what are called rubber rooms. This year he will spend $20 million dollars to warehouse teachers in five rubber rooms. It's an alternative to firing them. In the last four years, only two teachers out of 80,000 were fired for incompetence...) are only part of the problem. We continue to cultivate a society that denegrates people like Stephen Hawking, while exalting the Paris Hilton's.

Star athletes feel the love. Celebrities feel the love. But Al Gore? Well, he's clearly trying to take over the world with his histrionics and can't be taken seriously. (I'm curious, though. Does that make Tippy "Pinky"?) Sure there's global warming, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, right?

Maybe you're right, John.

It must be all in how you look at it.


Blogger Highlander said...

Gore's a far more serious threat to the Repubservative movement right now than anyone else on the Left. FOX and ABC are both heavily in the right wing tank, so you have to expect that both networks will be pulling on their motorhuckle boots to do some serious Gore stomping over the next couple of years.

Obama and Hillary will get their share, but those who pull the strings on Red State America are currently more terrified of Al than of both the other two put together, so Al's going to start taking the brunt of it.

2/27/2007 5:03 PM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Sadly, "smart" isn't what sells in today's sex and scandal obsessed media. "Smart" is big and scary and doesn't fit into sound bytes and doesn't sell tabloids or tease the evening news. The really "smart" people are too smart to run for public office. I'm truly frightened by shows like "Are You Smarter Than A Third Grader" (Husband had it on and like a slo-mo train wreck, I was caught by it momentarily), especially when 1. people get the questions wrong (in these cases there should be a special room in the back where they are taken to be sterilized); and 2. When they feel vindicated that they get a question right (in which case they should be slapped repeatedly).

But there are "smart" people around and "smart" ideas. Plenty more than there used to be. These people are making brilliant discoveries and finding ways to save peoples' lives and ways to make us less dependent on petroleum.

Unfortunately, they don't get the press that the pretty, stupid people get.

And that's a damned shame. And that's why we get the politicians we get, and the policies that we get, and the entertainment that we get.

That's why more people watched movies where things get blown up and women are naked than all five of the Oscar nominees combined.

3/04/2007 10:47 AM  

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