Is the definition of smart going down the drain?
There’s these things called books, it’s like television for smart people
Bill Bryson, Movie A Walk in The Woods
A few days ago, we watched the movie A Walk in the Woods, bearing some similarities to Wild (a much better movie in my opinion). It, however, had a wonderful exchange which I jotted down immediately and reproduced as the quote above.
At first, I found it funny but it also occurred at the same time Sarah Palin gave her approval of Donald Trump for his bid to be the Republican candidate to the next presidential election. Suddenly got a bit more depressed…The current debates among the Republican candidates are about at the same intellectual level as an episode of the TV show the Big Brother. It does make for a good spectacle but really?
There was a short snippet of the Republican campaign between George Bush (father) and Ronald Reagan on Facebook about a week ago where the level of the exchange was not only extremely good but apparent that these guys would now be considered too much to the left of the political spectrum for the 2016 Republican Party. If fact considering the level of the discussion on the various social media when it comes to USA politics, it is clear that many have not had basic rhetoric education growing up: personal attacks and name calling is now the first line of response. Well, that and the fact that a large fraction of those who write on those forum does not seem to know what is right and left on the political scale or what is communism and fascism for that matter. So there might be indeed some basic book reading time missing somewhere along the way…
Back to the topics, we are citizens of the most developed countries where our education systems are supposed to be among the best. Children can usually read by their first year of elementary school (I know simple texts but still). Yet, a new definition of smart people, corresponding to those who read books, truly seems to make inroads in our culture…
Considering that it should obviously be the norm, I find it quite sad. It this a sign of a possible collective failure?