There seems to be a concentrated effort by the media to "dumb down" the population of the United States. I'm going to offer a few disconnected examples. Trust me, they're endless.
Gig mentioned how she was concerned about the background music in today's cartoons. I really didn't give it much of a thought until we were zipping through the channels and landed on an old Pink Panther episode. The background music was this risque jazz. Then we flipped to a Dora the Explorer cartoon and it was just a series of quirky noises - eerily similar to the noises you might hear at Wheeling Downs Casino. Take a minute and reflect on the old Bugs Bunny cartoons - they all employ Beethoven, Mozart, etc. The music is vastly more stimulating. These new Teletubby cartoons don't really even have actual music. It's more of a blipping feed of silliness, designed to leave you in a trance. I wouldn't describe the music as good or bad, but rather fun or sad.
This phenomenon seems to have spilled over to the popular social networking site Facebook. There are two different types of status updates. Some people try and provide a comical quip or something insightful about current events. But for most people, this is far too difficult. The lack of creativity is truly mesmerizing. Let's check out an example...
Status update: I just ate some chicken lo mien - YUMMY!
Aside from pressing the "like this" button (truly an indicative marker of higher consciousness)...
here are 5 typical follow up comments.
1) I just had shrimp lo mien yesterday. Mmmmm.
2) Stop it! Your making me hungry! (always with the incorrect usage of "you're")
3) LOL - my cat's nickname is fried rice!
4) I'm so jealous! My stomach is growling! Hee hee.
5) I always thought were a Kung pao kinda girl.
My point is this. People seem satisfied to just make these relatively innocuous, meaningless observations. It's the more popular way to engage in discussion or touching base with a friend and it's becoming increasingly socially acceptable. I'm curious if you asked these facebook addicts, "When was the last time you sent someone an email which had 10 or more sentences?" I seriously doubt any of them has. Constructing anything of length or substance might require too much exertion. I'd actually have to think about what I want to say and put it in writing. Isn't it just easier to make a follow-up comment about the weather or how tired you are?
This generally simplistic mindset has been a force in the national media. Think about it - when the Bush administration sold us on the war in Iraq they used incredibly simple tag lines.
We must fight them there, so we don't have to fight them here.
They hate us because they hate our freedom.
You're either with us or against us.
This is a battle for civilization - good vs. evil.
Osama Bin Laden - wanted dead or alive.
And you hear it today with regard to the Obama administration. The regurgitation of key buzzwords - socialist, fascist, elitist, racist, etc. With the consistent "dumbing down" of the U.S. population, the trend of defining incredibly complex problems with brash slogans and endless zippy refrains continues unabated (Drill Baby Drill was the rallying cry for 40% of the fucking country). Think about it - Why on earth would I want to reflect on a problem when I can be force fed the answer from the political commentator of my choice? It's just so much easier.
Facebook has made it even more efficient. If you want to be informed, it's not a problem. You can take a quiz specifically designed to for you. My favorite one is "God wants you to know..." WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? Do people really achieve some sense of gratification or self-fulfillment when the result comes back - "God wants you to know... that even when things seem darkest, you are loved by many. God thinks that you can pull through any hardship because God loves you and knows that you're a fighter." Are people really unable to ascertain that this is a group of English majors/techies sitting in an office in Mountain View, California spewing forth this drivel? Why are people perpetually compelled to take these quizes? I guess it's kind of a modern day horoscope - something I've always found equally revolting. Oh wait, now I get it - I'll fill out the questionnaire where I describe myself as yippety, outgoing, affectionate, and then lo and behold, the answer "Golden Retriever" comes up. That "what kind of dog are you" quiz was spot on. F'in A!
My favorite example of this will always be the sub-humans who pay the yearly fee for their personalized license plates. What did they put on it? Well, their initials of course! JWL - stands for John William Lewis. Wow, how cool is that? This could be the most uninspired gesture of all time. Well, unless it was JWL II. Yes! The father/son combo vanity plates. As if it couldn't get any worse. Yet is is consistent with the 2 precepts of our new societal trend - Keep it quick and simple and for the love of Christ, don't make me think about it! This is America - I don't need to think. I will buy the Abercrombie & Fitch shirt because it says "Abercrombie and Fitch" on it. What more could I possibly want? And look, it was marked down 70%. What a steal!