The disgruntled American started as I watched a recent debate between the GOP candidates. The idea formed in my head, and it wasn’t out of spite towards a certain loud mouthed candidate or childish insults about one another’s groin. I was sincerely miffed at the American public. The reason Mr. Trump is still in this, is because of the American public. I’ve grown tired and weary of the dumbing down of the American mindset. I must not be the only one to think it is obvious, am I? The common conception of “dumbing down” is more ignorantly construed to the insult of calling others “sheeple”, apparently because they cannot see the grand conspiracy of the “Illuminati” or the “NWO”. I firmly believe those people are grade A crazy, but I also do agree with them that there is a dumbing down of American culture.
The dumbing down of the culture did not start with the radio, the “boob tube” (as my grandmother used to call it), comics, cartoons, or even the internet. It started when the media started to think for us, ironically when new forms of mass communication came out, so was the ability to broadcast to a wider audience. Oh that the kings of Rome could have had the ability to not only speak to their capital but to all of their subjects, but I digress. In fact the very evolution of this epidemic of naivete, or shall I say regression, is due to the more powerful forms of mass communication. As televisions became more common and radios were almost in every car, people would become inundated with the latest news. Back then, I firmly believe it was just that, news. What happened next, would exponetially increase the speed in which this epidemic would travel.
Although generally slow, this epidemic of popular idiocracy and mediocrity, did not start plowing it’s way through people’s minds until the late turn of the century to the early millenia. It almost has a snowball effect, although it may have started in the 50’s every generation after would become more ignorant in general, therefore they would become oblivious to how much their children did not indeed know.
The first reason for the exponential increase of ignorance among the American public, is the greed of men. This created a bias within mass communication channels, especially the ones that promise to deliver the news and unbiased information to keep the population at large informed. The bias wasn’t instant as to be obvious, but it grew slowly through the decades. As the media corporations grew, so did their ability to reach out and touch people’s minds.
The media eventually bought up backlots and paid for pilots to television shows. Soon, these same networks would be in control of movies, T.V. shows, and radio programs. As I told you all before, this is not a grand conspiracy, but is basically a fault of man. It happened so gradually, that the CEO’s of these corporations most likely didn’t realize it was happening.
You see, the people who owned these corporations would hire people that think like them, who would in turn hire producers and script writers who match their line of thinking. These producers and script writers would in turn hire the actors that would portray their scripts and in a more subtle way their values and beliefs in the best light. Then this turns full circle into people getting “tunnel vision”, for lack of a better phrase, by watching the same media that rings true to their beliefs.
As different types of mass communication became more prevalent and different forms of distractions became norms, so did the level of reading and research that would go into all forms of life and academia. In 2004, a study was done by Indiana University, labeled the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) in which a recorded 90,000 students from all over the country participated in. This work of academia set out to understand the current struggles college students were going through. 90 percent of respondents which were enrolled in “college prep/ap/honors” courses only participated in six hours or under of reading and general study a week. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which was done in 1999 and by the same company, found that it was almost equally split between 40 percent of students studying, in college mind you, between 5-10 hours a week, and 40 percent studying 11-20 hours. What is even more disheartening is over 50 percent, even in 1999, across all schools, read less than 5 books not assigned to them. In 2015, this situation is even worse, 81 percent of all students surveyed read less than 15 hours a week of their assigned reading. I’ve been to college, and I’ve been in the military. Dry reading takes time, a lot more time than anyone would like. However, to tell me that someone is adequately prepared for a class from less than 15 hours of assigned reading is ridiculous.
So, how did this large disparity happen? It became more prominent when the internet broke into the mainstream. At about the turn of the century, after Y2K (remember that fiasco?), people started buying computers more and more as they dropped in price. Soon, a majority of American’s had a computer in which they could access the wealth of information the world provided. The real problem hit when a power outage would no longer stop our obsession with the internet. Mr. Steve Jobs soon rolled out the first iPhone in 2007 and the world would never be the same.