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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/9/13

Dumb Is The New Black

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Message Stephen Pizzo
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Okay, let's cut the BS and get to the uncomfortable truth:

The governing mess the country now finds itself stuck with is the direct result of the over-romanticizing of the all-too common-man.

  You know damn well the kind of folks I'm talking about. And, contrary to what you often hear, they really are  not  "a minority of the minority." There are, in reality, a helluva lot of them. 

  You can verify this simply by looking at the marketing decisions made by some very smart bean-counters at the giant cable TV companies.  The History Channel  started with history documentaries. But no one watched, so now they have shows that make real historians sick to stomach -  Ancient Aliens ... bet you didn't know that spacemen taught the ancient people all manner of high-tech stuff, and  Pawn Stars,  about a Las Vegas pawn shop. 

  Or  The Learning Channel , where they quickly discovered most folks had little or no interest in learning a damn thing. So now they feature such very low-brow programming like the  Long Island Medium,   featuring a cheap dyed blond gal who talks to the dead, And  Little People , about all things midget, and Alaska Women Looking for Love... the title says it all. And then there's the show for aspiring child molesters,  Toddlers in Tiaras, featuring  five year old little girls dressed up like high-price hookers. That's "The LEARNING Channel?"

  So there you have the dollars and cents evidence that the lowest common denominator types are driving much of what you see on TV these days. Expensive programming has been re-aimed to  an audience they know they can capture, day in and day out, week in and week out.  

  So, they are  not a minority of a minority . They may be a minority, but not a small one. And they have power, the power of numbers and the power to shift an entire nation's broadcasting focus.  This is no powerless minority . They watch, they buy and the vote.

  Then there's the rest of us. What do we do in response to all this? Well, we turn off and try to tune it out. We find it all offensive, insulting, demeaning, stupid, tiresome and, as content, worthless. It's not an unreasonable response, but it does have the result of ceding the field to "them."

  Which is why, I believe, we now have in public office some of the most certifiably ignorant legislators in our history. And they wear that ignorance, not as a shame, but as a badge of credibility. 

  These folks and the people they represent are not interested in learning anything. They know what they know and that's all they want to know. Even when the stuff they know is easily disproven. (As the saying goes, "In the information age, ignorance is a choice.) 

  They know, for example, that climate change is a hoax. They know that god hates gays and same-sex marriages. They know that Obama was born outside the US, no matter what the documents say. They know that the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) is "the most sinister law in the history of man." Really? I can think of dozens of laws through history that were really sinister. But then they wouldn't know that, since Pawn Stars doesn't cover that kind of stuff on the "History Channel."

  Maybe cable company programming decisions are not enough to convince you that the nation is being held hostage by our lowest common denominators. Okay, there's more:

 U.S. Adults Fare Poorly in a Study of Skills

October 8, 2012- New York Times

  American adults lag well behind their counterparts in most other developed countries in the mathematical and technical skills needed for a modern workplace, according to  a study  released Tuesday.The study, perhaps the most detailed of its kind, shows that the well-documented pattern of several other countries surging past the United States in  students' test scores and young people's  college graduation rates corresponds to a skills gap, extending far beyond school. In the United States, young adults in particular fare poorly compared with their international competitors of the same ages - not just in math and technology, but also in literacy.

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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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