Jen Na
  • Jen Na
  • Bon Aqua, TN
  • United States

This conversation is closed.

the Dumbing down of America

Why is the media so full of garbage these days? I can't seem to find ANY decent movies to relax and watch without being bombarded with trash. T.V. is no better and don't get me started on music! It's all garbage! What's going on?! Has mainstream American values really decreased this much? It makes me so angry to know that this is what the future generation is being brought up with.

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    Jan 13 2014: I understand what you are saying. It's an unfortunate characteristic of supply and demand. It seems as though stimulating and taxing the mind is uncool and too much hard work for many to cope with, and the media responds to that demand by supplying appropriate garbage.

    It's pretty much the same in the UK. The populist mainstream has always been prone to being dumbed down, and the prime purveyors of standardized mainstream mundanity are the TV, the media and possibly even education.

    However, I would say that the mundane can easily be avoided in favour of the extraordinary. The stimulus of the extraordinary is out there - it just needs to be sought out in places where other people are unused to - or unwilling - to look.
  • Jan 2 2014: I've thought about this and wonder if maybe it's market strategies for saturating minds with base subliminal triggering , that laced with food additive and residue might be coincidence but look at the average obese american who no longer is civil in actions, now merely consumers. It's gross, just gross.
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    Jan 2 2014: We (parents) got rid of the TV about 15 years ago when our children were aged 10 & 12. At first they went to friends to watch TV, then after a bit did not bother any more.
    As older teenagers we said they could have a TV in their rooms as long as they paid the licence and all other costs. They did for a couple of years, then ditched it. Now aged 25 & 28, and having left home, neither has a TV.
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      Jan 3 2014: That is really great! Good choice!
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      Jen Na

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      Jan 3 2014: That is awesome! I have not hit the power button on my t.v. in over a week and the last time was for soundscapes music channel.
  • Jan 2 2014: Tossed my TV in the 70's! I download BBC, PBS, NOVA, NASA, ESO, National geographic and an occasional movie and if I want to relax and be inspired for awhile maybe a Andrea Bocelli concert. No commercials, High Definition and play at will, did I mention, "free".
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      Jen Na

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      Jan 2 2014: Those are some great suggestions, thank you Keith. I just watched a Bocelli concert and I really enjoyed it! Do you have any favorite movies you could suggest?
      • Jan 2 2014: Avatar, American Beauty, Aviator, Beautiful mind, Coming to America, My Cousin Vinny, Good Will Hunting, Inside Job, Matrix, One flew over the cuckoo's nest, Pay it forward, Peaceful Warrior, Pretty woman, Princess bride, Rain man, Shawshank redemption, Silence of the lambs, Silver lining playbook, Titanic and if you want to see me in a movie watch Honeymoon in Vegas(Lihue airport scene).
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          Jan 2 2014: Great selection Keith!

          One movie that I recently saw that was different from what you usually see was "Ten Inch Hero". It was the best feel-good movie I've seen in a while.
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      Jan 2 2014: Way to go Keith!

      I tossed the TV 5 years ago, I either stream of download everything that I wish to watch. And I stay clear of almost any media source as a whole. Granted that there are gems in most of the better newspapers but as a whole it's poison for the mind. So I use Reddit as my source for information, /r/UpliftingNews is particularity good.

  • Dec 31 2013: its called conditioning Jen. we are not dumbed down .we are lab mice
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      Jan 11 2014: Not really lab mice as much as milk cows I would think. Is there a better animal to farm resources from?
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    Dec 31 2013: It has a lot to do with the birth of tabloid journalism. And basically one man, Alfred Harmsworth, is to blame for this. Although it would probably have happened either way sooner or later. When tabloid material first emerged in the 1910's there was great interest among readers as this was the first insight that people actually got into other's life that was "dirty" and in mass print.

    The gossipers, a very normal mentality even then, finally had sources and insights other then their neighbors to talk about. finally you could gossip about people who you had never met and the things you read about was always the most sensational.

    I read a really long (about 40 pages) article on the whole history of this a couple of months ago, sadly I'm unable to find it.

    But to get some kind of overview I recommend this Article

    The mainstream media of the time fought against this kind of thinking that tabloid material was newsworthy, they felt that they had a societal responsibility, but sooner or later they were all forced to succumb to the capitalistic forces that favored tabloids.
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      Jen Na

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      Jan 1 2014: Thank you for the recommendation, I read it and now I know what to call this so called "trash" that has taken over the media....tabloid journalism! I suppose Americans are getting what they want and it's sad that the majority want tabloid journalism a.k.a. trash. Sometimes I would like to veg out and watch some entertaining shows or a movie, but they don't exist anymore. Maybe the media hasn't changed, maybe it's me that has changed. Thank you again for your comment
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        Jan 1 2014: You are most welcome!

        However I do wish to point out that people are not really getting what they want, rather we are getting what best suits our primitive needs and that is now supplied by the mass media because of capitalism.

        You see things that we might perceive as threats, murder, accidents and such has a very biological explanation, it's located in our amygdala, the part of the brain that is also responsible for our "flee or fight" instinct. Basically anything that might somehow be perceived as a threat will get attention and if it gets attention it will increase the likelihood of selling, out-competing what we really want and therefore need to read about. The other part is the Idolization of other people, also probably something primitively rooted in us.
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          Jen Na

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          Jan 2 2014: I like the way you think. You use logic rather than emotion and I have to say that it's a breath of fresh air for me. Thank you. I have enjoyed reading what you have to say. Unfortunately I have nothing more to add to the conversation except for an appreciative listening ear. If you get bored and would like to talk to someone feel free to send me an email sometime.
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        Jan 2 2014: Thanks for the feedback Jen, it's always nice to be appreciated!

        I'm not saying that I was about to send you an email since I'm quite occupied at the moment. But did you know that you have a protected profile which means that no one can view it and therefor you can't revive emails.
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          Jen Na

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          Jan 2 2014: Hmm, I did not know that, but I believe I have fixed it. The offer still stands. If you come across anything of interest send me an email, I would love to hear about it from a logical point of view. If you have time of course.
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        Jan 2 2014: Yep, you fixed it!

        I come across things of interest all the time, like hundreds of interesting stuff every day. I advice joining in on some other conversations for starters to learn a bit about everything. :)
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    Jan 12 2014: I very much agree with you. We need more television programs that inspire people to be physicists, engineers, philosophers, writers. astronauts, astrologists, firemen, paleontologists, psychologists, marine biologists, and doctors. Instead they endorse teen pregnancy, gang violence, the belief in magical powers, and just a hole bunch of bull crap. I personally would prefer a day in the woods, to a day watching T.V.
    In the end we can not blame T.V. for our life long mistakes, because we chose to lead by an example that we know, or at least should know is ridiculous, and most of the time being different gets you a lot of attention, either in a good way or a bad way, but with attention comes success that inspires others to encourage your differentness, then it wont be so different after all.
    There is a good and bad side to every storry, its what you make of it that counts
  • Jan 9 2014: We have a society that is growing its valuation of comfort while neglecting other values. We strive to make everyone happy rather than focusing on who should be happy. I believe this is rooted in the parental desire to give your kids a better life than you had. This mantra has outlived its usefulness to a point where people are spoiled. As such, media has adapted to bright flashy entertaining (less practical) communication, and movies have more stimulation that requires less work. We lower our standards rather than force those who fail to meet them to work harder. This mindset, I'm told, is what got this country started. We have lost our way. We have people who spend hours playing games, choose to not take initiative to better themselves, and then complain when those who do end up with more money (many other aspects aside).
  • Jan 9 2014: Perspective plays a huge role in your opinion. What may seem as "garbage" to you, could be the opposite for one other. Just like what may be seen as "garbage" by someone else, could in fact be liked very much by you. You did bring up your opinion on mainstream music. As a teenager myself, I have a strong opinion when it comes to music. The music that interests me may be perceived as obscene to others but is anything but for me. The music I listen to speaks to me. It teaches me to have an opinion, it teaches me to question the "truth", but most of all it teaches me that I can do whatever it is that I dream to do. So please, before you start judging the media, and our generation as a whole. Ask yourself whether it is the media you hate, or if it is really a new sense of independence coming from our youth that you hate.
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    Jan 7 2014: Take a look at the onset of the Progressive movement in America. The very fact that people are starting to believe the propaganda that "America" is dumber is silly. You always have a choice, and it is easy to throw stones at leaders. My question would be then what are people doing to change it?
    What is smart anyway? Making a lot of money at the expense of others and the environment? Or actually participating in conversation and making a small move to change.
    In the 1980's New York was filled with trash everywhere, ankle deep in some places. People used to just throw trash on the ground. The judgment was that people were too dumb to know the difference, and were to selfish to do the right thing. Mayor Koch at the time started a positive campaign to ask New Yorkers to pick up the trash, and they did. It might be a small gesture that enables others to do the right thing, and what may be seen as dumb is just miscommunication. If no one asks then no one knows...if you don't trust people then how do you expect them to move in one direction that it deemed as "right".
    I will argue all day with the person who deems Americans as "dumb". It is quite entertaining actually, propaganda always is.
  • Jan 5 2014: Very interesting topic. I have a video that shows the current state of consciousness in American news. If these are the people that tell you what's up, you better starting looking down. Skip to 3:16
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      Jan 5 2014: Interesting about Youtube, When you share a link you can choose to make that link start at any mark in a video.

      Like I did with he one you shared at 3:16 here:

      If you go to the "Share" tab in Youtube and scroll down just a little bit, you'll see "Start at" followed by time, choose the time and copy the link address that shows up and you're good to go.

      Just thought that you might find that helpful.
  • Jan 2 2014: We are the Media and the Media is us.
    We are society and society is us.
    We are a Walmart nation.
    We are a Walmart world.
    Acknowledgement of what we, ALL of us, Truly Are, leads to transformation in subsequent generations.
    The REASONS for our State of being are completely irrelevant.
    There is nothing to 'do' about it beyond acknowledgement.
    We are primitive. It's quite natural.
  • Dec 31 2013: Welcome to 1990.
    Welcome to 1980.
    Welcome to 1970.
    Welcome to 1960.
    Welcome to 1950.
    Welcome to 1940.
    Welcome to 1930.
    Welcome to 1920.

    Gettting my point?
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      Jan 2 2014: That it's been like this since the 1910's? If so, you sir are spot on!
      • Jan 11 2014: It's been like this since there has been any discourse.
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          Jan 11 2014: Yeah, but the rise of it in mainstream media came with the birth of tabloid journalism, which was in the 1910s.
  • Jan 11 2014: Think we have been hearing this since the very beginning. Even Shakespeare had to through in lines to keep the groundlings happy. There are things but as always you have to search and if there is nothing, there is always so many books to read.
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    Jan 10 2014: I think this is nonsense. If you want to find intellectually stimulating things to watch or read or consume, it is not that difficult to find. There's something out there for everyone and I don't think that has changed much over time.
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    Jan 5 2014: I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean by saying the media is full of "garbage"? Nor do I know what you mean by saying you can't find ANY decent movies to relax and watch without being bombarded with trash? You're saying there's not a single movie you can watch that doesn't have a lot of "trash" in it? What is this "trash" you're talking about? What are your own values, what would you like to see in a movie that wouldn't be "trash"?
  • Jan 4 2014: I believe that dumbing down of the media materials is originated from the dumbing down of our K-12 educational institutions. The media have to cater to the viewers interest and taste. When most of the high school graduates couldn't even read or write well, and have very little sense of ethics or morality, then they won't have the appreciative taste on the materials you and I like to watch with joy and appreciation. Suppose that from a survey, we know that 55% of the viewers prefer sexual and violence content, and 45% don't. The media managers chose to change the programs to mostly with sex and violence, or some silly comedies. But the viewing ratings wouldn't come up because they lost the 45% viewers permanently. The better approach is to improve the program catering to both categories of viewers, but they increased more of the violence and sex instead, in a vicious downward rating cycle! See reference to the dumb-down education below.

    Common Core Doesn't Add Up to STEM Success
    By Sandra Stotsky. Wall Street Journal, Opinion Section, Jan.3, 2013
    Common Core's deficiencies also plague its English standards, though its proponents have been selling the opposite line. Under the Common Core, complex literary study—literature close to or at a college reading level—is reduced to about 50% of reading instructional time in high school English class. The rest of the time is to be spent on "informational" texts, and more writing than reading is required at all grade levels.
    Why leaders of these organizations would endorse standards that will not prepare students for college majors in mathematics, science, engineering and mathematics-dependent fields is a puzzle. But no educational reform that leads to fewer engineers, scientists and doctors (or other professionals) is worthy of the name.
    (Ms. Stotsky was a member of Common Core's Validation Committee from 2009-10. She is professor emerita at the University of Arkansas.)
  • Jan 3 2014: The media today is becoming increasingly popular among youths.I believe the reason for these shows and songs are to appeal to a younger audience and to also gain popularity and revenue from this.The shoes today are increasingly dumb but the television stations make them stay because of the viewers they don't care if the show is dumb.
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    Jan 1 2014: Why are you still watching movies and TV?
    Don't you know they write that stuff at the 6th grade level?
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    Jan 1 2014: IT's not really a recent trend, Jen. It's just that you're smarter than the average bear, and can see things for what they are.
  • Dec 31 2013: Its mostly your nostalgia talking.
    The past always seems better in retrospect, but a closer look usually reveals things used to be at least as bad as they are now.