Though that's sort of redundant, really, isn't it? CNN = the stupid. The proof? France Conquers Europe Under Cover of Riots
. I laughed and laughed. Someone suggested that they just used the wrong map underneath the other graphics, but in fact I don't think these cities are in anything close to the proper relationships to each other.
This reminds me of an article I saw online from Esquire
about Idiot America, Creationism, and the weird hostility now rampant in the US toward education, expertise and competence
. I'm not sure what nation(s) are the leading beacons of rationality and science now. Almost all of Europe is beset by serious immigration issues that worry me greatly. Japan's very technologically advanced but aspects of their society give me the creeps, and they're quite backward in gender relations and environmental issues. I guess Canada, Australia and/or New Zealand may be our only hopes. And Canada is uncomfortable close to the US. I don't really know much about the cultures of Australia and New Zealand. Here's what I know about New Zealand: home of sheep and enormous artistic genius in the persons of Neil Finn, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, and the Weta people. But seriously, if civilization collapses, who better than Jackson and his team to rebuild it? They're very resourceful and detail-oriented.
Hey, there's a premise for a novel or a movie. World goes up in flames for whatever reason, take your pick. A large team of incredibly creative movie makers are shooting in a remote location and are spared. It's their job to figure out what to do next. What do they do? Do they keep making their movie?
I know that people have been saying civilization was on the verge of collapse since it started, basically. Maybe things aren't any more precarious right now than they usually are. But civilizations *do* collapse. It's the one constant of civilizations, in fact. More and more, I get the feeling that we're due. Superstition and aggressive ignorance are oozing over the globe like the blob, slowly swallowing everything up.
I know, I should be heartened that the Republicans got their asses handed to them last week in the elections. But I don't see that anything but some kind of systematic cultural change is going to make any real difference. People in the US might vote for Democrats now that the Republicans have fucked things up so badly that even those who are incredibly gullible, stupid, and get their news from CNN (or even worse, Fox) can see it. But they don't understand the root causes and issues any better now than they did two years ago. Public decisions aren't being made on the basis of rational thought any more. The few people left who have a capacity for rational thought are considered suspect for that very ability. There's no way that this is going to end happily. As long as so much of the culture of the US is proudly, aggressively ignorant, I don't see how things are really going to change.
You might say that US culture has always been that way, but I don't think that's true. Even the South used to have a tradition of gentleman farmers, people who were educated and lettered and also worked the land. Or forced other people to work the land for them. You know, whatever. I'm not saying that the US didn't make horrific, genocidal decisions throughout its history. The US has never been a particularly moral or ethical country to my mind. But the decisions at least were based in some kind of rational public discourse. People actually understood the issues, followed debates, expected their leaders to make decisions based on reason and some minimal understanding of the good of the people they considered their constituents. The problem was mainly that "constituent" was too narrowly defined. They were extremely keen on tossing people out of the human race so they could steal all their stuff guilt-free. That was a Bad Thing. But at least they actually talked about what should be done about things and people generally gave a shit. Maybe they didn't give a shit about their fellow human beings, but they gave a shit about the course of their society in general.
People have been complaining about the state of education and public intelligence for at least as long as there has been writing. But it seems to me there are cycles, and that we're in a cycle where ignorance is starting to be ascendent. The last time that happened, we got the Dark Ages. In the next fifty years, I think we'll be facing global environmental and energy crises that will require the best and the brightest, the most innovation, the greatest resourcefulness, the highest ingenuity, all the collected knowledge we've managed to gather together in the last five or six hundred years. I'm not sure how we can do that if our cultures have abandoned all of those things as having no value.
::sigh:: CNN brings the stupid; I just bring the bleak.
Personal updates: having been given an extension on the Cartier thing (a couple, actually), I'm trying to finish it today and then get enough marking done that I can go see Octavia Butler read on Tuesday night. Thus, I shouldn't be here at all. Knees are getting better. They're showing enough improvement that I'm planning on going back to a gym routine soon. There's someone at the University gym who specializes in physical training for people with special needs; ima go see him. Family stuff has been trying. Mom's dad is probably dying and all kinds of historical baggage makes that especially awkward and painful. On a selfish level, if I end up having to go back to Tulsa before the end of the semester, it's really going to suck, in purely practical terms. I feel bad about not being there but financially and logistically it would be very difficult to go back before the middle of December. Financially, going back at all is going to be problematic. I still haven't heard anything about the union issue thingy. So that's where I am. I'm trying to remember two things. One, happiness does not rest on material conditions; it is internal and eternal. Two, I have much for which to be grateful. Including all of you.