A mind asleep creates monsters
This is not about some lack of knowledge or skills. This is about an incurable disease- the Ignorance in Heart.
Tommy Smothers at the Emmy awards 2008 ceremony said that the scariest thing possible was to witness Ignorance in action. The US certainly is unique in this aspect because unlike in other countries where though in abundance Ignorance in Heart tries to hide itself as an obvious vice, here it is a virtue, something to acquire, nourish and cherish as an invaluable tool on the path to success.
In the otherwise pretty decent movie An American President there is an episode of the official dinner in the White House with the President of France. During the dinner he comments that Louis the XVI would guillotine anyone who would not dance at his court. Everyone around laugh at the joke.
That statement was total nonsense. Guillotine was used for execution far further in time, during the spike of the French Revolution. King Louis himself and Queen Marie- Antoinette were both executed by the professional executioner Sanson. To put such words into the mouth of the French President character is total Ignorance because there is no way in Hell a real French President would have made such a mistake. French are obsessed with their history, study it thoroughly and it is a must for a French govt official to know such thing. Obviously it is a must for someone who wants to show something French on the screen to know about that French feature also. What happened was a typical lack of respect and it showed.
Ignorance in Heart is based on disrespect and nowhere that foundation manifests itself so openly as in the US. I would dare to hypothesize that total lack of arts education is one of the reasons for it because arts teach respect. The US religious tradition is by definition anti- arts and as such we have many generations of people (even in the showbiz here) who by all standards are subhuman- they totally lack the human appreciation of the efforts of the others and do not understand beauty. As such disrespect thrives and the devilish trifecta of arrogance/hubris/malice naturally fill the void.
Of course, this is very well reflected in the mass- culture of the movies. In the movie A Few Good Men we see the bright manifestation of that. In the end the smart attorney pushes the SOB colonel to testify that he gave an illegal order to administer Code Red (torture by proxy) to one of their ‘substandard’ comrades. At that moment the movie stops. It never investigates a simple conclusion that although the colonel surely gave that order he also surely did not tell them HOW to do that. They stuck the rug into the victim’s throat by themselves. That was their ingenuity. By all God’s and human laws lance –corporal Dawson and pfc Downey committed murder and they were murderers. But the movie as well as spectators clearly exonerate those two. There is even a strain of sympathy because ‘they stand on the wall’. The simple idea that none of us can feel safe if those standing on the wall are murderers does not materialize in any head whether on this or that side of the screen.
In the highly revered West Wing series President Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen is supposefully a very bright man. So bright that he ‘teaches’ democracy to the delegation from Byelorussia. The historical fact that the nation of Byelorussians had existed as a coherent one and had its own institutions for thousands of years is never mentioned. President Bartlett represents the West ' wing' and the West is 'good' by default.
Life imitates art. During the recent debates between the presidential candidates Ignorance in Heart filled the room so much that sometimes it could be physically felt. It was in questions and answers alike. What kind of a question is that if the future President sends the troops to the sovereign nation of Pakistan to ‘get’ someone we do not like? And what kind of an answer is that yes, surely if necessary? What kind of a question is that if our President unilaterally goes to war if Iran attacks Israel and what kind of an answer is yes, surely?