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Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:48 AM

Are You Dumber than an American?

http://watchingamerica.com/News/184212/are-you-dumber-than-an-american/




Are You Dumber than an American?
Expressen, Sweden
By Ann-Charlotte Marteus
Translated By Grace Olaison
7 November 2012
Edited by Natalie Clager

Sometimes one is a little afraid of the United States. Not because it possesses nuclear weapons or anything along those lines, but because many Americans, beside the brilliant elite, seem so… well… foolish.

How can 46 percent of the population reject the theory of evolution? How can half the people want a rogue like Mitt Romney as president? How can Sarah Palin even exist? How could doubt about Obama's citizenship and religion become a perpetual point of mobilization, despite the total lack of common sense and evidence?

The deep distrust of reason, science and facts that many Americans wallow in today, is purely detrimental to society. You cannot raise a democratic discussion when preposterous lies are given the same credence as truths.

And never have politicians gotten away with so many lies as during the 2012 election campaign. The exaggerated distrust seems paradoxically to have made people so misguided that they have become gullible.

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Reply Are You Dumber than an American? (Original post)
unhappycamper Nov 2012 OP
Flashmann Nov 2012 #1
xtraxritical Nov 2012 #138
AlbertCat Nov 2012 #152
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #177
ReRe Nov 2012 #164
EmeraldCityGrl Nov 2012 #272
ReRe Nov 2012 #274
EmeraldCityGrl Nov 2012 #276
ReRe Nov 2012 #277
ReRe Nov 2012 #278
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EmeraldCityGrl Nov 2012 #290
redgreenandblue Nov 2012 #292
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #2
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #4
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Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #10
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #12
DFW Nov 2012 #20
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #27
Demeter Nov 2012 #46
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #52
liberalmuse Nov 2012 #84
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #88
xtraxritical Nov 2012 #139
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #218
thesquanderer Nov 2012 #149
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #161
Lars77 Nov 2012 #72
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #97
treestar Nov 2012 #96
go west young man Nov 2012 #187
sibelian Nov 2012 #263
Demeter Nov 2012 #275
DFW Nov 2012 #111
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #117
xocet Nov 2012 #123
xocet Nov 2012 #121
DFW Nov 2012 #134
xocet Nov 2012 #159
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DFW Nov 2012 #179
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defacto7 Nov 2012 #223
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Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #35
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #42
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Fumesucker Nov 2012 #47
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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:56 AM

1. despite the total lack of common sense and evidence?

The 3 decade plus long and still ongoing,concerted dumbing down of America......

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Response to Flashmann (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:38 PM

138. The problem is ubiquitous even on DU.

 

This video was posted yesterday and how many people just love this low brow humor here? It's not satire and it's not funny. Bob Newhart was funny, Bill Maher is funny, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are funny. Not this stuff.

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #138)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:00 PM

152. It's not satire and it's not funny

Making fun of Southern (and elsewhere.... but mainly Southern) ignorance is like shooting fish in a barrel.... boring and most unfunny.

It's like all those films about how "funny" Southern rednecks are (not). That dreadful and stupid and most unfunny film "Sordid Lives" is a perfect example. All my friends just LOVE it. It is crap. Not even remotely convincing at any moment. Does anyone think any of those people in it are not actors acting...at any time? Spongebob Squarepants is cleverer. And more interesting.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #152)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:11 PM

177. maybe it's not funny to YOU- but a LOT of others seem to like it.

 

jeff foxworthy is one rich redneck...and larry the cable guy isn't hurting either.

different strokes for different folks.

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #138)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:50 PM

164. I absolutely agree!

I make a motion that it not be be shown on DU anymore. I think I watched it once just to see what it was. There is nothing funny about ignorance. They even show this kind of stuff on PBS now, it's in commercials (currently the Prilosec commercial.) The sad thing is that these kind of people actually exist in this country. They are the Republicon' base. They are PROUD of their ignorance. They wear it like a gold medal. At first it might have been funny, like on SNL. There are those here that might this kind of humor. I, for one, choose to not watch it. Give me Lewis Black and the ones you mentioned above.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #164)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:39 PM

272. Why can't you choose to simply not watch it and allow those that

appreciate that humor enjoy it ? You seriously want to make this an issue worthy of a "motion" that it not be allowed?
That seems like a petty waste of time.

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Response to EmeraldCityGrl (Reply #272)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:47 PM

274. Whew.... I hit a nerve...

... and I assume you are one of those who do enjoy that kind of humor? Well, excuse the Hell of of me, OK? How dare I even suggest that we not laugh at ignorance. I watched exactly one of those clips and never watched another. Instead of laughing at ignorance, shouldn't we be thinking about how on earth to get all those people educated? Call me petty. I'll call you shallow. How 'bout that?

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Response to ReRe (Reply #274)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:18 PM

276. No, hardly. I'm just tolerant of other

peoples sense of humor. I didn't call you petty, but might have to reconsider after this last post.

Besides, making a "motion" to ban isn't how it's done here at DU. But after 14 days of membership
you must be an expert on that matter.


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Response to EmeraldCityGrl (Reply #276)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:45 PM

277. I think you did use the word "petty", no?

Yes, I did just sign up on election day, but I've been reading DU since it's beginning, some 11 years ago. I promise I will go look up the DU rules of posting so I won't make the mistake of stepping on someone's sensibilities, as I seem to have with yours. What is this, war-on-newbies day? Lets just part ways. I don't say things to incite arguments, OK? I like to discuss and join in conversations on the issues, not fight. I will search DU for the rules of posting and learn them by heart. I wish you peace, EmeraldCityGrl.

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Response to EmeraldCityGrl (Reply #276)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:52 PM

278. P.S.

You like the rednecks, I like Lewis Black. Nothing wrong with that, huh? Each to their own humor.

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Response to EmeraldCityGrl (Reply #276)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:56 PM

279. P.S.S.

BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #279)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:10 PM

290. Welcome. You have a Happy Thanksgiving as well.

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #138)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:28 PM

292. Oh, come on. I'm from the South and I find that hilarious.

I'd almost say that you would have to be from the South to fully appreciate those guys.

I might pass that video on to my dad (self identifies as redneck). I bet he'd totally dig it...

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:01 AM

2. what a stupid article. yeah, all americans are stupid except for "the brilliant elite".

 

who just recently sent the world economy into the shitter and are still pushing the same medicine.

the "brilliant elite" are the most useless people on the planet, and that goes for journalists that write stupid, denigrative articles like this.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:06 AM

4. I think you misinterpreted the description. It isn't that the American elite are brilliant, rather

 

that we do have an elite of brilliant people.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:08 AM

5. use of definite rather than indefinite article suggests otherwise.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:26 AM

10. It is a translation done by a volunteer from Swedish. But if you want to get all freaked out by it,

 

you are certainly free to do so.

But then again, wouldn't that be kind of making their point?

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:29 AM

12. well then all bets are off. do you read swedish? because all we have is the english

 

& it's my impression that the writer is a stupid twerp.

how does an egalitarian find anything admirable in an article themed around the stupidity of non-elites?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #12)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:44 AM

20. I found the original

"av den briljanta eliten,"

"of the brilliant elite"

For what that's worth to anyone.

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Response to DFW (Reply #20)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:53 AM

27. thank you. "av" is what is translated as "beside"? what are the various senses of "av"?

 

does it have the sense of possession?

could it be translated as "other than"?

what's the entire sentence? do you have a link?

weird, i could have guessed the meaning of that phrase and recognized it as a scandanavian language without ever seeing a lick of swedish in print. i didn't realize it was so similar.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #27)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:22 AM

46. "av" means "Of"

And Swedes are notorious for having their noses up in the air and looking down on everyone, especially Americans. It's a European sport, actually. A reflexive reaction to having their collective asses and fortunes saved in the previous century.

World War II, anyone?

This is how one covers up a sense of overwhelming inferiority.

And while the US does have a brilliant elite of intellectuals and humanists, they are NOT the people in charge...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #46)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:41 AM

52. google translates the sentence in question as:

 

"but for many Americans, along with the brilliant elite, seems so - senseless."

meaning all americans, including the brilliant elite, seem stupid. which actually makes more sense than any of the other translations offered.

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.expressen.se%2Fledare%2Fann-charlotte-marteus%2Fmarteus-ar-du-dummare-an-en-amerikan%2F&act=url

the writer seems kind of stupid herself. she says americans are stupid and believe lies, and the reason is that the long history of capitalism/marketing/advertising makes them suspicious.

which doesn't really make sense, as being suspicious of marketing and advertising is what we usually call "critical thinking".

but americans are "suspicious of reason". but how is suspicion of advertising related to suspicion of reason? when you start thinking about what she's actually saying, it doesn't really make sense.

all is well though, the point of the article is really to compare swedes and americans, find swedes superior, note that american type marketing culture has invaded sweden and encourage swedes to keep to their own 'trusting' culture with its higher degree of social capital.

which doesn't make sense either -- if there's a high sense of trust, people are more likely to believe lies from their leaders and rely less on reason.

it's kind of a mess as an exercise in logic, imo.

just throwaway nationalistic pap of the same type you might find in america, actually.


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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #52)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:50 AM

84. Point of the article demonstrated above.

Good Almighty GOD.

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Response to liberalmuse (Reply #84)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:01 AM

88. care to expound on what you find so stupid? or perhaps contribute your own summary?

 

How can 46 per cent of the population reject the theory of evolution...? The deep distrust of reason, science and facts that many Americans do in the day, is purely detrimental to a society.... The exaggerated distrust seems paradoxically to have made people so misguided that they have become gullible....

Americans are real veterans in terms of market thinking. And they have learned what is true: "Caveat emptor", ie: "Buyer beware..." In short, capitalism has given us wealth and diversity, but we should not be stupid and let himself be used. The question is how people are affected in the length of living in a chronic "Watch out, do not be fooled" mode. Increases distrust between people, generally? Will you finally just reflexively suspicious of the (scientific/legitimate) researcher...?

Sweden has lagged behind the U.S. in terms of commercialization, but in recent decades, we have in some respects surpassed...More and more venues we become customers rather than citizens. The idea behind the system change is attractive: we have the power and may choose, instead of elected representatives choose for us.... I must have my critical eye on me.

Sweden has traditionally had much more social capital than the U.S.. That is, human beings have relied heavily on each other. And we have a relatively high degree trusted politicians, managers and scientists. On the whole, the trust has served us well. It is a capital which must not be squandered.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #88)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:41 PM

139. LoPointDem would be a better handle for you.

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #139)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:02 AM

218. unfortunately, i'm unable to respond in kind. some posters are allowed to

 

directly attack other posters, some aren't.

you're apparently one of the in crowd.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #52)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:31 PM

149. be careful with google translate

It gives you a rough approximation, and can easily provide a wrong impression, especially on more subtle phrasings. It's amazing that it works as well as it does, but it's still only about as trustworthy for academic work as wikipedia. I wouldn't base any argument on a google translation!

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Response to thesquanderer (Reply #149)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:33 PM

161. i appreciate dfw's translation, which clarified the passage.

 

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Response to Demeter (Reply #46)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:31 AM

72. "European Sport". Really? All europeans do this?

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Response to Lars77 (Reply #72)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:17 AM

97. about as many as there are stupid americans...

 

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Response to Demeter (Reply #46)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:16 AM

96. 70 years ago now

We can't get around every legitimate observation of our idiocracy with that.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #46)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:43 PM

187. 28 million dead Russians may disagree with your post.

How many Americans died? Maybe you could do the math for us.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #46)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:35 PM

263. The thing about accusing people who criticise you of having


an "overwhelming sense of inferiority" is that it only makes sense if you believe yourself to be clearly, unambiguously superior to them, while "modestly" avoiding saying so.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #263)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:50 PM

275. I married a Swede

I speak from the personal experience of living there, interacting with the Swedish Elite.

I have no idea what you thought you were saying, so I will let it pass...

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #27)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:57 AM

111. Swedish is very easy for an English-speaking person to learn

If it were as practical for residents of North America as Spanish, we'd all speak it fluently.

"av" has both the functions of the English "of" and the German "ab." It can be used, depending on context, to mean "of," "from," or "starting with"

"vid" is one of those all-purpose prepositions that drive foreigners nuts until you just get a feel for when to use it. "opposite from" or "at" are two of many uses. It could also be used, as in the case, to mean "as opposed to."

Ibland blir man lite rädd för USA.

Inte för att landet har kärnvapen eller något i den stilen, utan för att många amerikaner, vid sidan av den briljanta eliten, framstår som så - oförnuftiga.

Sometimes one gets a little afraid of the USA (Swedish uses "afraid before--rädd för" where we just say "afraid of")

Not because the country has nuclear weapons or anything like that (literally "something in that style"-- in Swedish "något" or "någonting" can mean "something" or "anything"), but rather ("utan" is literally translated as "without," but can be correctly used in context to mean "rather than," much like the German "sondern") because many Americans, as opposed to the brilliant elite, come across as so--not sensible.

Swedish and German have this great word förnuftig (vernünftig in German) which basically means "having common sense." The negative, oförnuftig (unvernünftig in German), means "lacking common sense." We don't really have one word that encompasses the meaning.

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Response to DFW (Reply #111)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:24 AM

117. thank you. i appreciate the discussion of the individual words.

 

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Response to DFW (Reply #111)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:55 AM

123. Nice post!! I just saw it after posting my own attempt at translation through German. n/t

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #27)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:52 AM

121. Greetings...(now to the "I'm not an expert, but I play one on the internet"-segment of the thread)

Here is an attempt at a word-for-word translation from Swedish into German cognates and into English:

Inte för att landet har kärnvapen eller något i den stilen,
xxxx für xxx Land hat Kernwaffen oder xxxxx in dem Stil,
Not for the country has nuclear weapons or anything in the style,


utan för att många amerikaner, vid sidan av den briljanta eliten,
xxxx für xxx xxxxx Amerikaner, xxx Seite xx die brillanten Eliten
but for the many Americans, at side of the brilliant elites


framstår som så - oförnuftiga.
xxxxxxxx xxx so - unvernünftig.
appear as so - irrational.


"Är du dummare än en amerikan?
Ann-Charlotte Marteus (ann-charlotte.marteus@expressen.se)

Not because it possesses nuclear weapons or anything along those lines, but because many Americans, beside the brilliant elite, seem so… well… foolish. ..."

From: http://www.expressen.se/ledare/ann-charlotte-marteus/marteus-ar-du-dummare-an-en-amerikan/



The phrase that you have mentioned (vid sidan av den briljanta eliten) might be seen as:

the ones who are set apart as special due to their intelligence
the intelligent ones of the class that is set apart

This phrase could also be meant sarcastically which would be even more biting than what you noted earlier.



It would be nice to have someone who speaks Swedish and English fluently comment on the semantics of that sentence. I have tried to fill in shades of meaning by using German, but that does not always work very well - idioms can be difficult: n.b., the well-known phrase 'lost in translation'. However, if Swedish is very similar to German and if I am not misunderstanding the phrase or the intention of the author, the phrase may be read as an acknowledgement of the fact that there are some exceptionally well-educated people in the USA and not as a praising of the wealthy 1% in the USA.

I am not quite interested to the point of emailing the author and asking her directly about the meaning of her article (pun intended), but maybe you would???

Anyway, you raised an interesting point (p.i.) today.

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Response to xocet (Reply #121)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:22 PM

134. See my dissection above (post 111)

My Swedish may not be completely fluent, but I took it for years in college (only Swedish allowed in class), read the classics in Swedish, traveled there quite a bit, and can speak it well enough to have Swedes tell me "you've almost lost your accent, but I can still tell that you're originally from Norway (not bad for a Texas boy who has never lived in Norway)."

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Response to DFW (Reply #134)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:09 PM

159. Thanks.

I would not have guessed "av" as a cognate of "ab". That is interesting. Is the replacement of the German "b" with the Swedish "v" something that can be relied upon?

Also, can the replacements of German "un-" with Swedish "o-" and German "ver-" with Swedish "för-" be generally trusted?

Lastly, if I may ask, do you happen to know what the standard dictionary for Swedish is that would have etymologies? I am generally interested in languages.

P.S. Oddly, a town in Iowa that I am very familiar with has a Santa Lucia festival ever year and up until recently had a gift shop at which one could buy Dala horses. All the children were taught Swedish Christmas carols, Swedish dances and, in springtime, the Sköna Maj singers would parade around the town singing.

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Response to xocet (Reply #159)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:48 PM

162. There are a LOT of similarities in the basics of German and Swedish

"av is very much a cognate of the German "ab" though not always parallel to the fullest. "För" as a prefix" very closely follows the German "ver" and is even pretty much pronounced the same way. "O" and "Un" as prefixes are very much similar, with the Swedish "O" being pronounced as our long "oo" as in toon (not as in "book").

I'm sure there such a dictionary as you are asking about, but when I was taking it in college, I only took it up through the first semester of my junior year, when I had to concentrate on the necessary number of credits for my major. We read literature, but didn't delve deeply into etymology. Our professor did quite a lot of telling the German majors among us what the German equivalent was to many Swedish words as we learned them, but as I learned Swedish first, and German second, I didn't get the references. We read a lot of literature (Strindberg to Moberg), watched contemporary films--7th Seal, Ådalen 31 (still one of my favorite films), etc. She spoke to us ONLY in Swedish from the first day of class, but Swedish is really that easy to learn. By the end of my freshman year, I returned to Sweden in the summer to visit Swedish friends I had visited the year before, when I didn't speak a word of Swedish. They couldn't believe I had learned enough to hold a coherent conversation in just 10 months, but it really is that easy to learn.

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Response to DFW (Reply #162)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:22 PM

173. That is really cool. I need to check out Swedish grammar.

Out of curiosity, have you ever been to Belgium? I found that by being able to speak German (after a year in Germany) and English, I could almost understand the spoken Flemish of the nightly news - it was a really odd feeling. Had I had time to learn some of the equivalences that we have been speaking of and their vowel system, it might not have been too hard to go directly into listening to Flemish for comprehension. Have you ever had that experience?

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Response to xocet (Reply #173)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:21 PM

179. Have I ever been to Belgium?

Oh, only once or twice a week for my work for the last 30 years! (not your typical day job, don't ask) It is a two hour drive (3 by train) from my house in the Rheinland to Brussels (and another 2 hours to find a legal parking space, which is why I prefer the train).

I speak Dutch, so the Flemish version is no problem for me unless it's one of the oddball dialects that survive to this day in some small villages. Even big town Flemings can hardly understand those people.

I get the same thing to some degree when I'm in Romania. I understand Italian, Catalan, French and Spanish, so I get some, but far from all Romanian. Their language, though Latin based, evolved far away from the western Romance languages, and it is quite different--far more so than Dutch/Flemish is from German. I can grasp words here and there, but following a news broadcast or a conversation is impossible for me. Same goes for Russian and Polish. Though both are Slavic, Polish is western Slavic (close to Czech), where Russian is eastern Slavic (like Bulgarian and Serbian). When listening to Poles, I can grasp some of what they're saying, but I can't hold or understand a conversation or watch the evening news and follow what's going on.

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Response to DFW (Reply #179)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:25 AM

217. You must have a very interesting existence - I won't ask what you do....

I remember taking the train from Brussels to Aachen and on to Köln. That cathedral is extraordinarily impressive, and there are some nice art museums nearby. I went back to Belgium and Germany the next year, went to Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden and Finland) too, returned to the USA after the summer and then made the unfortunate mistake of having the local K-mart develop my photos - the negatives of the Belgian waffles etc. were never seen again.

Since you mention Romania, I have to ask if you have ever had a chance to speak with anyone there who speaks the Sächsisch dialect, and, if so, what your impression of it is. Back in the 1980's, I met a woman in Würzburg who was originally from Romania. Normally, she and I would speak German in conversation. One day she called home: parts of her conversation were intelligible, so later I asked her what she had been speaking. She told me that it was Sächsisch. I did not get the chance to hear much more of the dialect, since I moved to Stuttgart shortly after that, but it was interesting to find out how widespread German dialects are.







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Response to xocet (Reply #217)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:23 AM

223. The Sächsisch dialect is from the area of Leipzig.

Not a well appreciated dialect by most Germans.

If there is one basic problems I find when Americans try to translate most languages it is the misunderstanding that it's some sort of math, as if each word = another word. Because we live in a country that has one major language and we sit in the middle of this huge island with no understanding of how culture effects language it seems easy to fall into the trap of word for word meaning as exact and specific. To make the jump from basic "what's for breakfast" to politics and the state of humanity, you can't translate anything without understanding the cultural usage of those languages. Americans haven't had the experience of dealing with many "friendly" language communities on a daily basis as has been gong on in Europe for generations. So we find ourselves expecting those translated words and phrases to be the same weight and concept and thus derive opinions or bias based on what it means in English. This just does not work without understanding the cultural variances. We can't jump to conclusions because it "sounds" a certain way in English. This can fail many times.

Here's an example... When I was living in Stockholm some time back, as a performer, the director once asked me (in English), "would you please shave your beard for this scene?" I answered her, "No problem!" The director looked at me puzzled, "Please would you shave for this scene?" Again I repeated,"yes, I have no problem with this". At this point there was a heated discussion in Swedish which was finally settled, and one of the stage crew approached and apologized saying, "The director didn't understand your answer because we do not use a negative to answer a yes question. In out language, that translates to a most emphatic refusal.

Another example which I have found to be incredibly important. There is an old cliché about Germans being cold and difficult. This is a perfect example of how translation and cultural meanings are lost. If we English speakers have a light disagreement, it may sound like this, "Oh, I really like what you're saying, and you make a good point but I don't think I agree with you... blah, blah." If you said this to a German in Deutch or English he would probably react as if you were insulting him... in his mind, he thinks you are talking down to him like a child, and probably wouldn't want to continue or would continue as if insulted. The Germanic speaker would expect you to say, "No, you are wrong because... blah....". If they said this to an English speaker, the English speaker would probably be saying under his breath, "What a stuck up asshole." But in both of these cases, the intent and respect for the other speaker is exactly the same and if the culture of the language is understood, then you would know you are speaking with the same attitude. If not, then the German is likely to feel insulted and the English speaker will think the German is cold and dismissing.

Whatever the intent of the article above, unless you understand the culture behind the language, don't expect to understand the mind of the writer. And don't make the premature mistake of pinning the entire Swedish population with a prejudice based on how the words translate in English. Language just doesn't work that way.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #223)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:30 AM

224. just for a note

I probably should have posted this to the OP rather than this part of the thread. I just got carried away after the subject line and got lost in the moment... it's late.

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Response to xocet (Reply #217)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:19 PM

260. "Sächsisch" just means "Saxon"

It's the dialect spoken in Saxony (Dresden, Leipzig). Many of the old East German political kommissars, including Walter Ulbricht, came from there, and the dialect is hated in many parts of the old East Germany, especially Berlin.

But Romania is a special case. Several centuries ago, a large number of people from Saxony were invited to move and settle in Siebenbürgen (Transylvania, if you wish--the Hungarian-speaking part of what is now Romania). The few remaining German-speakers left there are sort of a linguistic museum, as their Saxon dialect is the one spoken in the 18th century, much as the French spoken in the outlying areas of Québec is a linguistic museum of 18th century French. The Sächsisch spoken in Romania is not to be confused with the modern version spoken in 21st century Saxony, which is now mostly assimilated with modern high German, retaining little more than a distinctive accent.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #12)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:02 AM

35. I deal with Americans every day. It's rare to find one that can speak in complete sentences

 

or do simple arithmetic, and most of those I meet are fiercely proud of their profound ignorance.

Egalitarianism is about true equality, it does not exclude judgment nor acceptance of reality.

Living here, I meet people from all over the world all the time and I can honestly say that I rarely meet international tourists that are as jaw-droppingly dumb as the vast majority of my fellow citizens. OK, to be completely honest, I've never met a single one, but I'm sure that they are out there.

Whether this one article is accurate or not is as irrelevant as your opinion of it, or mine. What does matter however, is that this is the growing perception of us around the world and almost everything we do as a nation makes that impression stronger.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #35)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:13 AM

42. what "we do as a nation" has nothing to do with the intelligence of individual

 

americans, or americans as a group, no more than the nazi party is some kind of definitive reflection on the character of germans as individuals or mass.

the thrust of your post seems a mirror of the very thing it criticizes.

on edit: i've lived in several countries and worked closely with a lot of foreign students in the us (hundreds).

i've found no general stupidity, just as i've found no general stupidity in the us. what i've found is pretty universal to every group, and your post is similar. there are, however, countervailing tendencies, and those are what i'd define as egalitarian.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:17 AM

43. You didn't even read it, did you? Enjoy your outrage. n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #43)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:21 AM

45. your post? i read every word. i'm not outraged. you appear to be the outraged

 

one.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #45)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:25 AM

47. I thought this paragraph made a good point.

Whether this one article is accurate or not is as irrelevant as your opinion of it, or mine. What does matter however, is that this is the growing perception of us around the world and almost everything we do as a nation makes that impression stronger.


When your nation keeps repeated doing really stupid stuff it's hard for people who live in other nations to recognize that you are actually really really smart and not as stupid as your nation's actions make you look.


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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #47)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:54 AM

57. i think it's pretty easy not to to so. i think israel, as a nation, does plenty of shitty

 

stupid things. i don't think israelis as a group are stupid or evil.

ditto britain, france, sweden, etc.

all the developed countries in the world are slowly making the neoliberal turn; they're all on the same path the us is on, just in different stages of development. and that is going to affect the behavior and thinking of individuals.

i've lived in greece; it was wonderful, the people were wonderful.

which is why it hurts so much to hear reports of the rise of the fascist golden dawn, the beatings of immigrants, etc. does that mean that "greeks" are stupid fascists? no stupider or more fascistic than anyone else under similar circumstances.

sweden's got some similar problems. they got charter schools long before we did. in some ways there ahead of us in the international marketized education game. they've got the same anti-immigrant stuff going on.

http://www.thelocal.se/42828/20120826/

it's all manipulative bullshit. behind articles like this in all the papers in the world is the puppet hand of elites duking it out over things we peons aren't exactly privy to. positing a "them" to our "us" in order to rally the troups.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #57)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:03 AM

59. Which one of those nations has a military equal to the rest of the planet combined?

I can't really think of anything much more idiotic than what we do with our military.

Afghanistan eleven years in is still a fucking disaster.

Iraq?

Look at our news media, they have gone to court to defend their right to knowingly lie to us and they won.

I mean there's stupid and then there's world class blue ribbon full metal jacket dumbass, we have the latter, in spades.







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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #59)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:07 AM

60. none, but that seems to me irrelevant. or perhaps relevant in this way: if they did,

 

they would probably behave remarkably similarly to how the us does now.

because most hegemons do, historically, and the general culture reflects that fact as well, historically.

i think you've seen my posts; i am as critical of the us as anyone on this board i think. but i don't attribute the actions of the us to some stupidity located in americans as a whole, nor the stupid actions of other countries to some generalized characteristics of their inhabitants.

actually, i think that is a very lazy, reflexive habit reflecting a lack of real thought.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #60)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:15 AM

66. And because most hegemons have acted that way it's not amazingly dumbass?

We have the advantage of education and a perspective on history that other nations in a similar situation in the past have not had.

I don't think Americans are biologically any less intelligent than the rest of the world but we have a popular culture which is jaw-droppingly brilliant at inculcating rank stupidity and/or ignorance in the population.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #66)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:21 AM

68. how many other places have you lived? it's not that different from anywhere else.

 

seriously. a lot of people don't think so because they live in a class bubble when they live overseas. but it's not.

and most of it is manufactured hoo-haa. "popular culture" in modern society is manufactured culture: it comes mostly from elites, through media channels. or perhaps certain aspects are selected for amplification you could say.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #68)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:32 AM

73. Try not paying attention to that stuff and then having social conversation with people

Practically anything other than sports or entertainment has become a political minefield these days, from the weather to your aches and pains there is a political angle to every single thing and the more ignorant the person you're talking to is of the issues the more likely they are to share their opinion with you.

Other western nations aren't seriously arguing over whether religion belongs in high school science textbooks.





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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #73)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:45 AM

80. i haven't found it such a terrible minefield if i discuss rather than lecture (contrary

 

to my posture on du, lol.) of course, there are always fanatics with whom its impossible to discuss anything. but they're not all sarah palin fans. i find some liberals & lefties are equally fanatical and closed. and there are topics on which i know i'm closed as well.

i find most people are more interested in their own opinions than mine, so in real life i try to do more listening and questioning when i'm allowed to. there are some people who don't like questions either and take them as a challenge. in that case you're sort of confined to nodding and moving on to pleasantries, i agree.


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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #80)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:47 PM

140. More listening, less lecturing.

 

"so in real life i try to do more listening" "real life", "more listening", ha

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #140)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:12 PM

143. yes. as i acknowledge. du is not real life.

 

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #73)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:11 PM

178. Or try not watching television and carrying on a conversation with the majority

 

of our fellow Americans.

I had an unpleasant encounter with a DUer just a couple of days ago that went completely sideways because Real Housewives of various places is the only show I could think of that people constantly talk about. I've never even seen it, but this person is absolutely certain that I used that reference because I am a sexist pig.

Is Dancing With The Stars still on?

What can you do?

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #178)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:27 PM

183. Yeah, that was my point

If you're not up on the TV schedule there isn't all that much light conversational material to talk about with most people these days, particularly if your'e not into the popular sports as well.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #183)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:35 PM

185. You got me. I skipped over a lot of the rant.

 

Still, it was another kick.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #68)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:43 PM

294. That is absurd.


There is a hubristic manifest destiny that lots of average Americans live in that cannot be found anywhere else.

The "only in America" phrase that accomplishes almost any story of simple good will on the local TV station (especially around holidays) is mind boggling and vomit inducing, and absent outside US borders. Simple stories of neighbors helping neighbor are invariably ruined by the ultimate 'only in America'.

The truly only thing that is unique to America is the self congratulatory back slapping of the phrase "only in America" where people are continually lulled into the syrupy mythology that the US is just over flowing with instances of overwhelming generosity and that the rest of the world is without basic human decencies. I have found the reverse to be true, that poorer simpler cultures who are less consumerist in nature to be a great deal more generous.

I have spent more of my adult life outside of the US than in it and while I enjoy everywhere I have lived, including the US, I can't wait to retire and return living in a world that is less caught up in congratulating itself in its moral loftiness and living with people who are more interested in simply connecting with each other in a much less superficial way.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #294)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:49 PM

302. i've heard the "only in..." line from people from every country that i've met.

 

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Response to grantcart (Reply #294)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:01 PM

309. "Only in America" refers to a Horatio Alger type rags-to-riches story. Not generosity.



Of course, the phrase is typically deployed in an ironic fashion, these days.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #35)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:58 AM

87. Are you including yourself and your family in your stereotype?

 

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Response to lalalu (Reply #87)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:22 AM

99. none of the people on this thread are the dumb ones, of course. the dumb ones

 

are all those who don't believe in evolution, like sarah palin, can't write a grammatical sentence or do basic math, etc etc etc.

iow, lower class southern rednecks or some similar stereotypical type from central casting.

only intelligent people like those on this thread are in a position to judge how stupid the others are.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #99)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:24 AM

100. I just find it interesting that

 

people call all Americans dumb and don't realize they are including themselves. Of course they are the exception

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #99)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:54 PM

141. If only you could see how far off the mark you are

Stereotypical redneck here, my home has the wheels to prove it.

And I live in the South, go figure.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #87)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:02 PM

175. Myself, no. Most of my family, most definitely. n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #175)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:55 PM

191. No exceptions, this is stereotyping all Americans.

 

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Response to lalalu (Reply #191)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:10 PM

194. Nice try, but this pathetic attempt to re-write what was written to suit your defense will not fly.

 

No one but you defenders of idiocy are saying all. Read it again, slowly.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #194)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:25 PM

197. You reread.

 

"Are You Dumber Than An American" does not contain any qualifiers such as the word "some".

The only qualifier used later is the word "many" which leads to the assertion of most if not all Americans. The author should have paid more attention to the election and would have known the majority chose President Obama. There are plenty of idiots in her native country and they attack immigrants at an alarming rate.

Such a disparaging article could be written about every country but it seems some people take relish in saying such things about Americans. It say more about their insecurity. It also says a lot about a lack of manners when a guest disparages their host.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #197)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:38 PM

199. And another fail from the outraged illiterate.

 

"but because many Americans, beside the brilliant elite, seem so… well… foolish."

Want to try again?

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #199)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:41 PM

202. When you can't defend your position then personal attacks are all you have.

 

You have failed miserably.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #202)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:30 AM

221. I provided the evidentiary quotation in the reply.

 

Now, you're begging the question.

And if that is too difficult for you to grasp;How about, I know you are, but what am I?

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #221)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:16 AM

234. How ironic that you are the one behaving like a dumb American.

 

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Response to lalalu (Reply #234)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:19 AM

235. I know you are, but what am I?

 


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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #235)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:36 AM

236. I just told you what you are.

 

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Response to lalalu (Reply #236)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:50 AM

237. I know you are, but what am I?

 


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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #35)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:45 PM

215. It's "rare" to find an American who can speak in complete sentences? What does that say about

college education these days? Not much I guess... Can you give me some indication as to just how rarely you encounter Americans who communicate using complete sentences? 1 in 10? Less?

Also, I'm a little curious about how you come to guage a person's mathematical skills. Do you pose simple arithmetic problems to them during your dealings? And just what do you consider to be "simple arithmetic"? Is it addition? Subtraction? Single-place multiplication? Long division? That one really has my curiosity piqued... I interact with people all day long every day and never realized that I walk away from the encounter no wiser about what their math skill are. I wonder if any of them will think me strange if I ask "What's 7x9?"

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #12)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:03 PM

153. do you read swedish

I wonder how many of them read English....

which sorta confirms the article, y'know...

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #153)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:04 PM

158. hardly. it's a function of location and economics, nothing to do with intelligence.

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:34 AM

14. Swedish is tricky with its articles

The definite article comes as an attachment at the end of a noun, and the indefinite article comes before the noun as a separate word.*

You have to pay close attention when translating. The rest of the language is amazingly easy, but that one little detail sets the 3 Scandinavian languages apart from the rest of the Germanic family. Is there a link to the original? My Swedish is good enough to figure it out.

* in Swedish: en bok, boken--a book, the book
ett hus, huset--a house, the house


On edit--I found the link at the top--will check it out

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Response to DFW (Reply #14)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:00 PM

124. The Scand. languages have also conveniently simplified verb conjugations

I am=Jeg er (Dan., Norw.); är (Sw)
You are=du er/är
He is=han er/är
they are=de er/är
etc.

Danish has also ditched one of the original 3 genders, retaining only neuter & common (male + female).
There is a west Jutland dialect that has only 1 grammatical gender, like English.

There are 2 unique problems with Danish, though--the pronunciation has diverged a lot from the spelling, and they speak in a way that other Scandinavians describe (not inaccurately) as "gurgling."

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #124)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:24 PM

136. Verbs are a joy for sure, no conjugation at all

One form for all 3 persons, singular and plural, what's not to like? Plus they've almost done away with the subjunctive (if only the Germans would do likewise!).

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Response to DFW (Reply #136)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:59 PM

151. I was gonna mention the subjunctive

but thought I had gotten dorky enough with the conjugations.

BTW, what about Icelandic? Did Old Norse have all those linguistic furbelows & fripperies like the rest of the Germanic languages?

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #151)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:28 PM

156. Oh, yeah.

Icelandic is to the modern Scandinavian languages what a hermit living in a cave in northern Idaho is to a Manhattan socialite. They're from the same species, but just barely. Icelandic is not only old Norse, but they take pains to keep it that way. They even retain the voiced "th (as in "broTHer") as a separate letter: ð

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Response to DFW (Reply #156)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:04 PM

165. I was sorta aware of ðat.

I once struggled through parts of the Elder Edda in ON, with Norwegian & English translations handy. But I never really got into the grammar enough to figure out the conjugations.

I can still read the runes, though.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #165)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:11 PM

168. If you can really read the runes, kudos

I stopped at Cyrillic.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #169)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:20 PM

171. OK, now I'm REALLY impressed!

Kudos duly awarded. Interestingly enough, the husband of my Swedish professor was one of the greatest living experts on reading Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets. And here I though reading Dostoyevsky in the original was a big deal. Talk about making me feel small!!

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:13 PM

145. Making their point indeed!

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:40 AM

17. Brilliant people are not necessarily

elite, unless their definition of elite is much different than mine.

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Response to FlaGranny (Reply #17)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:11 AM

41. My reply was badly worded, or at least not specific enough.

 

I meant that the way I read it was that we do have a minority of brilliant people. You are absolutely right that very few of our elite (I don't even like that word) are brilliant.

In fact, I would argue the opposite. I think that exceptional intellect in America is, more often than not, a tremendous liability.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:37 AM

15. What exactly are you pissed about?....

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #15)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:31 AM

49. i'm not pissed. i think the article's stupid, at least the title & excerpt i read in

 

translation. for the same reasons i think essays about evil muslims, straight white males, ballbreaking women, angry black men and all the other silly labels in the world are stupid.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:27 AM

69. I too have lived and

worked in several different countries (mostly in Africa and the Middle East) and I understand where this overall perception of the US populace comes from. I have been asked on many occasions, "is it true that ALL Americans carry guns?"

When the rest of the world reads about the Kansas school board mandating the teaching of "creationism," or the Tea Party's racist birther statements, or about record number of gun deaths in the USA, they tend to believe those facts are representative of ALL Americans.

Because a substantial number (45% - 50%) of Americans vote for Republicans who espouse these right-wing "values" it is entirely understandable why a Swede would write this article.

A large number of Americans ARE willfully stupid, and are proud of being so.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #69)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:33 AM

76. i understand where it comes from as well. it comes from selective media reports,

 

class orientation, personal/familial orientation, the same place americans' perceptions come from.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #69)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:50 AM

83. Right you are

And there are forces that want to continue cutting our education budgets, even the Department of Education, to keep the willfully stupid stupid. And most of those forces voted for Mitt Romney who vowed to cut much more.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:17 AM

98. Exactly

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:51 AM

110. That is not what was said.

"The brilliant elite" refers to exactly that . The BRILLIANT elite. Not the financial elite. Not the political elite. Not the social elite.

The INTELLECTUAL elite.

Try re-reading the rest of the article without skewing it to your own personal perspective. It isn't wrong.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #110)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:37 AM

119. You may be right. However, in which country is it that average citizens don't

 

appear "stupider" than the brilliant intellectual elite?

Does this brilliant intellectual elite include the posters often found here at DU discussing how stupid/uneducated/illiterate/wrong-thinking other americans are, particularly southerners/religious/straight white males/republicans/smokers/people who don't eat correctly/fat people/teachers?

i imagine that kind of class-linked bias may have parallels in sweden.

sweden adopted the charter school model years ago & is already exporting its charter school corporations into the global market.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #119)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:04 PM

132. None of them. Not the point at all.

Stop focusing on that one line. It wasn't even important. It was an off the cuff qualifier that had nothing to do with the rest of the article.

"sweden adopted the charter school model years ago & is already exporting its charter school corporations into the global market. "

Which, if you were paying attention to the article, is exactly the kind of thing the author is concerned about.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #132)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:22 PM

160. sweden 1st ventured into neoliberalization decades ago, and not just in ed. not something new, e.g.

 

Neoliberalization of Housing in Sweden: Gentrification, Filtering
and Social Polarization

During the last twenty-five years, housing policy in Sweden has radically changed. Once forming a pillar of the comprehensive welfare system, abbreviated the “Swedish model,” neoliberal housing politics have established market-governed housing provision with a minimum of state engagement.

This shift has had consequences on the social geography of housing
conditions. The research reported here analyzes social geographic change in Sweden’s three
largest cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö, between 1986 and 2001, relating observed patterns of gentrification and filtering to cycles of accumulation and to neoliberalization of housing policies.


http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=1776771&fileOId=2796177


DH: But here's the interesting thing: it's unreasonable to think that actually the US imposed neoliberalization on Mexico. What happened was that the US was putting noeliberalizing pressures on Mexico and an elite inside of Mexico seized the opportunity to say: yes, that's what we want... And actually if you look at the pattern, it's very rare for there to be a straight imposition of neoliberalizing policies through the IMF or the US. It's nearly always an alliance between an internal elite, as it had been in Chile, and US forces that put this thing together. And it's the internal elite who are as much to blame for neoliberalization as the international institutions.

SL: That point turns on its head a lot of the assumptions the left tends to make about neoliberalism being imposed on countries by the United States. One of the cases where this also was illustrated was Sweden, which had one of the most socialistic welfare states, and where ruling elites forced through neoliberal policies.

DH: There was a really serious threat to the ownership structure in Sweden during the 1970s, in effect, there was a proposal to buy out ownership entirely and turn it into a sort of worker-owned democracy. The political elites in Sweden were horrified by this and fought a tremendous battled against it. The way they fought was partly, again, through ideological mechanisms. The bankers controlled the Nobel Prize in economics, that went to Hayek, went to Friedman, that went to all the neoliberal figures to try to give legitimacy to all the neoliberal arguments. But then also the Swedes organized themselves as a confederacy of industrial magnates, organized themselves, built think tanks and the like. And every time there was any kind of crisis or difficulty in the Swedish economy, and all of these economies run into difficulties at some point or other, they would really push the argument: the problem is the strength of the welfare state, it's the huge expenditures of the welfare state. But they never actually managed to make it work too well. So they came up with the interesting strategy of going into the European Union, because the European Union had a very neoliberal structure -- through the Maastricht Treaty -- so the Swedish Confederation persuaded everyone they should go into Europe, and then it was the European rules that allowed the more neoliberal policies to be introduced into Sweden in the 1990s. It hasn't gone very far in Sweden because the unions are still very strong and the political history is very strong over social democracy and the like. But, nevertheless, there has been a process towards a limited neoliberalization in Sweden as a result of the activities of these political elites and their strategy of taking Sweden into Europe...

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2006/lilley190606.html




Reportedly sweden's neoliberalization is a bit 'kinder and gentler' than the american model, but once that train leaves it's hard to stop. The writer's "we must all value traditional swedish value of trust etc" is weak tea, the same kind of weak tea served in the good old usa, where people used to leave their doors unlocked, etc.

Exhorting people to retain traditional value systems in the face of economic restructuring that changes people's material & social relations to each other is just window dressing on the train.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:13 PM

144. You quibble and miss the big picture:

The article's point is that there are vast parts of the American populace, possibly a majority, that are dumber than a box of rocks: the ones that don't believe in evolution, the ones who believe that Obama is a secret Muslim, and the ones who believe that voting against their own interests to give freebies to millionaires is a great idea.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:14 PM

252. Martin Bashir has a commercial where he basically says:

 

Amercians care about each other more than other people in other countries do – (they are that special, ya know). That in a disaster - they run toward each other to help and not run away from each other (like we cowardly Canadian, Swedish and West African people do - and all the rest all over the planet?) We are all weak and Amurka is strong.

Wow. I thought Bashir was a kind of smart guy but this is magnificently stupid of him to say.

HPD: sorry, this post may not fit the topic or your response so well but I thought it would be as good a place as any to plop this in.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:06 AM

3. smug and stupid article.

sweeping generalizations are rarely useful or intelligent.

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Response to cali (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:45 AM

21. She said in a sweeping generalization

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #21)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:51 AM

25. really? so you actually think that sweeping generalizations are an intelligent way

to make an argument, particularly about people?

Blacks are lazy.

Jews are miserly.

Yes, indeedy. Brilliant, hon.

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Response to cali (Reply #25)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:57 AM

31. And Palestinians are violent

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1847362

Just pointing out the fact you made a sweeping generalization while condemning sweeping generalizations, I thought it was more than a little ironic.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #31)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:04 AM

89. Really? I don't see Cali making that assertion & I don't see her name on the link you provided.

Criticizing one article for broad brushing a nation of 310 million hardly qualifies

as a "sweeping generalization".

Calling 310 million people "stupid" certainly does.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #89)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:10 AM

91. The link I provided was to a DUer calling Palestinians "naturally violent"

Which I thought was an interesting application of broad brushing just like the examples cali had given.

And to quote Forrest Gump, stupid is as stupid does sir.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #91)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:37 PM

127. Um, yeah, whatever.

The problem is I addressed the fact that you accused Cali of something she didn't do. Would you like to read your own words?


"Just pointing out the fact you made a sweeping generalization while condemning sweeping generalizations, I thought it was more than a little ironic".


Get it now?

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Response to whathehell (Reply #127)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:50 PM

128. I had it to start with and I think you're wrong

Opinions differ, cali is the last one who should be talking about making sweeping generalizations because she practically has a black belt in it here on DU.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #128)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:50 PM

189. I think not, and even if what you say about Cali is true,

you needed an "example" and her response wasn't it.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #189)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:24 AM

324. Example of sweeping generalization by cali

As I said, she practically has a black belt in sweeping generalizations, all I had to do was wait for a few days and she would come out with a good one.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021871652

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #21)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:56 AM

29. "rarely" is a qualifier.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #29)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:59 AM

33. It's still a sweeping generalization

Rarely isn't exactly a strong qualifier.

Americans are rarely intelligent.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #33)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:03 AM

37. however, it has the merit of truth value. which the propositon that americans are

 

rarely intelligent doesn't.

americans are as intelligent as any other population.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #37)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:18 AM

44. I just find it humorous that cali of all people denounces sweeping generalizations

Since she is one of the more egregious violators of the doctrine of never making sweeping generalizations.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #44)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:32 AM

50. hmm. you may have a point there.

 

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Response to cali (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:09 AM

40. +1. Ironically, it's one of those OPs that

makes DU look dumb.

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Response to sufrommich (Reply #40)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:45 AM

81. LOL.

I guess it's for the haters, self and otherwise.

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Response to cali (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:43 PM

203. Agree 100%

 

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:10 AM

6. Television, the drug of the nation. Breeding ignorance, fear, and anti-intellectualism. n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:14 AM

63. Yep. No country in the world has the superior marketing strategies of the U.S.

The United States is the mecca of capitalism and expert marketing strategies. Countries from all over the globe come to the United States to learn how to market. Then we have propaganda disguised as "free speech" that exacerbates things even more, making things more problematic for the average American to separate the wheat from the chaff - something Murdoch capitalized on.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #63)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:48 AM

82. and I guess no other country in the world has television either.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #82)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:39 AM

104. And you guessed wrong.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #104)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:50 AM

109. Oh my. I guess I should remember that sarcasm thingy.

I often forget the "irony impaired".

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Response to whathehell (Reply #82)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:43 AM

106. they have it, but they never watch it. well, not very much. oh wait -

 

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #63)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:39 AM

103. have you seen commercials in other countries? they do just fine. they have all the

 

things we do. murdoch started his empire in those superior countries, you know.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #103)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:48 AM

108. Yes, actually I *have* seen commercials in the other countries of the world. Lived in some of.

them, too. But when I mention marketing, I wasn't referring to commercial goods. I was referring to political marketing.

As pertaining to the news and unlike the United States extinct 4th Estate, there is a real journalism still alive and well in those countries despite Murdoch's buying up magazines in the UK. That's why the people won't let the government take away their universal health care coverage, and laugh at us here in the states.

In the United States, corporate media filter and frame the news for broad American brainwashing. There's a reason why half of the country doesn't believe in universal health care or caring for the vulnerable among us. That's why we still have slave-wages (minimum wage instead of living wage), and that's why it's a-okay for powerful people to avoid prison time for stealing billions in fraudulent-but-made-legal trades, whereas people with a baggie of weed are locked up and get a lifetime prison record to hamper the rest of their lives.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #108)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:13 AM

113. there may be a real journalism still alive in europe, i actually don't know. but the right

 

movement in the us began when there was still some real journalism alive here as well.

the same forces are at work in europe and have been moving toward the same neoliberal model, inexorably, for quite a while. and with the support of a segment of the population, same as here.

those countries have wage slaves too, mostly minorities and immigrants; social measures are being defunded, and powerful people avoid prison though they stole millions.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #113)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:54 AM

122. Wage slaves in Europe

perhaps only in Spain, Greece, Italy, and maybe the UK, but not in the more affluent countries such as Holland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Greenland, Finland, Norway, and Iceland.

The more southern countries are known for their corruption and suppression of the people, though, and yes, they've instituted austerity measures that has only weakened their already weak economies.

But in the countries as I've listed above, there is no such thing as minimum wage, even if you're an immigrant. Equal work for equal pay - women earning the same as men for the same work, too - is seen as normal in those countries. No special law had to be passed in order to get that basic human right. Real journalism is freely broadcast and you don't have to buy a premium cable channel (like here to get CurrentTV and MSNBC) to get the truth.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #122)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:49 PM

163. ....

 

...Germany has depended heavily on low-skilled immigrants for their economic muscle, but the country has been slow to accept them as full members of society. At a time when Germany is once again embroiled in a heated immigration debate, immigrants, especially Turkish and other Muslims, are often accused of not doing enough to integrate: not learning German sufficiently and living in parallel societies, isolated from mainstream German culture....

Thilo Sarrazin, a top member of Germany's central bank, just published a book accusing immigrants of "dumbing down" German society. He also claimed that Germany's Turkish and Arab immigrants, most of them Muslims, were reluctant to integrate.

Turks tend to be less integrated on average than other immigrant groups, according to studies by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, an independent research organization. Turks are also more likely to be poorly educated, underpaid and unemployed, the study said. Housing and job discrimination also has been widely reported against Turks.

Demiragli said it's easy to blame immigrants but the German system also shares blame because historically even the children of immigrants born in Germany have been treated like foreigners.

For example, even though she was born in Germany, Demiragli said she was classified as the "child of a guest worker" on her passport until she turned 16. And then she was classified as merely a guest worker. It took years for her to become a German citizen

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/global-immigration-germany.html#ixzz2ChvXsJfw

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #163)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:02 PM

251. There's a difference between Guest Workers and your average German employee.

But I'll bet you dollars to donuts that even a guest worker makes more than the equivalent of an American citizen on minimum wage, and they can actually survive well on what they make in Germany. Also, rents are subsidized IF their income is too low. So are utilities.

They're also entitled to universal health care, dental care, full hospitalization, pharmaceuticals, paid sick days, vacation pay, etc - things American employees can't even imagine.

Also, when I lived in Holland, Germans were well-known for their prejudices toward anyone who wasn't blond and blue-eyed Germans. This "dislike" has gone from the Jewish people to the Turkish, Moroccan, Greek, and other dark-skinned "undesirables".

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:23 PM

135. Love the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy reference. nt

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #135)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:01 PM

174. There aren't many of us that recognize that, although since LCD displays have become nearly

 

ubiquitous, I had to drop the radiation.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #174)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:26 PM

182. I've got the four song EP/maxi single

and "Spare Ass Annie," the album where they backed up William S. Burroughs.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:21 AM

7. I'm thinking of Theodore White's first book:

The Making of a President

He was widely mocked for noting that selling a President was very much like marketing a brand of peanut butter. It was all media and marketing...target markets and focus groups...Madison Avenue writ large...

This article tells me we have reached the apex of that syndrome...we have, indeed, become consumers instead of citizens. And now there are sophisticated software networks that target us right down to our specific location at a specific hour to make sure we buy the product/politician.

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Response to ewagner (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:23 AM

8. +1 nt

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Response to ewagner (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:46 AM

107. Indeed we have become consumers instead of citizens.

While cleaning out my father in law's stuff, I came across a box of "Life" magazines from 1945. Between the black and white pages describing the horrors and atrocities of war were the beautiful color pages selling everything from bright shiny kitchens to cigarettes. This from a generation who actually sacrificed for the war effort. No matter how large the tragedy or human suffering, there is always the opportunity to sell shit, whether it's a dishwasher or political lies.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:24 AM

9. I was hoping this was a TV show. -nt-

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Response to DireStrike (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:27 AM

11. LOL! +1

 


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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:32 AM

13. No, because I grew up in Massachusetts, or as the Tea Party calls it "The most liberal Country in

world". XD

I still have my "Don't Blame Me. I'm from Massachusetts!" Bumper sticker some where. Never actually stuck on my car.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:39 AM

16. DURec

 

(No further comment.)

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:41 AM

18. I love this country.

No America bashing from me. It's easy for someone in other countries to criticize from the outside looking in.

And I can't stand Palin's politics--but she does have a right to exist. What are we going to do--become totalitarians and destroy everyone who has different beliefs?

Some people are going down a dangerous path and they don't see where it could lead.

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Response to brokechris (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:12 PM

133. Re: Palin--the "exist" wasn't meant to be taken literally

The meaning was more like the English equivalent of "why is she even on the map?"

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Response to DFW (Reply #133)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:22 PM

180. I didn't know you wrote the article

thanks for explaining what you meant by that.

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Response to brokechris (Reply #180)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:46 PM

216. I didn't know you read Swedish

Mine is near fluent, and I read the article in the original, instead of using some computer translation, as, obviously, did you, right?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:44 AM

19. I'm actually much smarter than the average American

That's why I long to be Canadian. Sometimes the desire breaks my heart a little. Born 1000 miles too far south.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #19)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:48 AM

23. if you long to be a Canadian

why not live there?

I am an Anglophile and lived for 6 years in Britain (2000-2006). Still love pretty much everything about Britain--but ultimately am happy to be an American.

The way I did it was to get a job with an international company, then I requested to be sent abroad.

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Response to brokechris (Reply #23)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:56 AM

30. Because I'm poly with an autistic child

They want me as I'm a nurse, but they don't want my family. Though with the amazing crises our house is going through right now, who knows, I might just be Vancouver bound, Vancouver, BC. that is.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #30)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:08 AM

39. if they want you and you can

be employed--then I don't see how they can say--"oh but leave your child"

I know for Britain (I think similar laws), I would have been good bringing family (but my kids are with my ex). There would have been restrictions about visas and stuff though. (Americans have a hard time finding work in Britain--it is easier to find employment before you go).

There is always a way.

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Response to brokechris (Reply #39)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:15 PM

195. I spent years trying to find that way

I understand Canada's emigration laws better than I wish I did. I don't mean to be argumentative but my circumstances are actually unique. If my family would stop wrecking cars on a semi annual basis and my kid would stop requiring very expensive meds that are only partially covered by my insurance, we might well be able to move up there with a proof of a substantial nest egg.

Thanks for the pep talk. Interestingly enough, my family seems headed for splitsville, so this may well come up again. I've restarted my research.

I don't hate America. I just don't believe in what she stands for anymore. We have atrophied and no longer live under a living constitution. If it seemed like we might actually call a constitutional convention, I would put aside my personal dream to help my birth country. But I don't see that happening, do you?

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Response to tavalon (Reply #30)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:16 PM

146. "poly" = ?

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #146)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:09 PM

192. While it's currently going to hell in a handbasket,

poly is short for polyamory which is a made up word to distinguish us from polygamists who usually apply their multipartner situation based on religion with a sprinkle of mysogyny. I have two husbands and there is a new person in the house as well, one of my husbands girlfriends.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #192)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:29 AM

230. Ah, thanks. Know of polyamory; please use the word not the abbreviation except in contexts

I know the concept of polyamory, but could not make the connection in your post. Please use the word not the abbreviation except in contexts where it is crystal clear or circles that routinely use the short form.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #230)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:10 AM

232. Yeah, you're right

We tend to isolate and congregate so I forget that the abbreviation makes no sense outside the community.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #30)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:42 AM

222. Vancouver is wonderful...

...or was, when last I lived there. Absolutely spectacular setting, but it's now sprawled, congested, but most of all EXPENSIVE. Most unaffordable city in North America, according to recent data. On the West Side, where you would prefer to live, prepare to spend a million dollars for a bungalow.

Still...it's expensive for a reason. People WANT to be there.

Best of luck to you, whatever you decide.

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Response to BobTheSubgenius (Reply #222)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:12 AM

233. Currently living in one of the most expensive places in the US

One of the reasons I rent.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #30)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 04:23 PM

258. If they don't want your family, why would you want to move there?

I certainly wouldn't choose to be a part of any group/society/country that didn't want my family.

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Response to Dr. Strange (Reply #258)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:36 PM

267. discussion groups are poor places to explain the intricacies of a situation such as mine.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #19)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:42 AM

105. .Well, thanks for telling us that, Tav, especially since it's not especially apparent.

I do hope you're being facetious. If not, you certainly sound more

foolish than the "average American", whoever you imagine

that to be, as well as a self-superior bore.

Do try and emigrate to Canada, dear.

We'd hate to have your heart continue to "break a little".

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Response to tavalon (Reply #19)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:34 AM

118. Please... for the love of all that is good and just... be joking.

You are much smarter than the average American... and you posted this... in earnest... please let this be tongue-in-cheek because I'm going to die laughing otherwise.

You do realize that Canadians have the same intellectual diversity as the United States, right? So I'm not exactly certain as to how your Canada envy is going to sate you intellectually.

So, how far north do you think you will need to go to be amongst intellectual equals?

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #118)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:21 PM

126. Yes, I had hoped for the same

but with the utter, and IMO, despicable, contempt so many here hold for there own countrymen,

it's hard to know.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #118)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:19 PM

196. Vancouver specifically

I've been there a lot and yeah, I probably self select for the same sort I self select here in Washington state - for those who are erudite and politically aware. I am also aware of their politics and right now, they suck. But, they have something big going for them, universal healthcare. And have you seen their stats on gun violence vs. ours?

The discussion was about intellectual "superiority" but my envy is on many other levels. Vancouver is Seattle but cooler.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #196)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:55 PM

205. I doubt that will be far enough.

Perhaps the northern Yukon?

Comparing nations is like comparing pocket lint to the lunar regolith and then to a small puppy.

It is much harder to get political unity out of a country that is as culturally diverse as ours and which has 30 times more people than our neighbors to the north. This nation is a grand experiment (ongoing). I take it you don't like the early results. Does the idea of idiots having the right to seek office or other idiots to vote for them offend you in some way?

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #205)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:22 PM

207. Does my expressing an opinion offend you in some way?

Listen to your patron saint, and chill, okay?

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Response to tavalon (Reply #207)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:34 AM

243. Well, I guess it depends on how you express it, now doesn't it?

Offensive? I wouldn't go that far. Unless you've managed to miss the intimation, I don't think you have a clue what you think it is you're getting into, even though you demonstrate a certain cocksure attitude that you will find a liberal intellectual enclave north of your current position more suited to your personality and level of intelligence.

Of course, that's where the bemusement comes from. Sometimes it's better to take away a person's shovel. Sometimes it's better to hand them a bigger one.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #243)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:43 PM

268. Did you not get the part where it's merely a pipe dream and not going to happen?

You do better to hand me Bob, the subgenius's pipe, wouldn't you think?

I can see it's hard for you to stand that someone, somewhere on the internet might be wrong and that you can wittily explain to them just how wrong they are. I have the same problem.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #268)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:38 AM

280. "Pipe" dream. Ah, clever...

No, the whole "pipe dream" thing was pretty obvious from go.

A pipe dream is one which can't happen for whatever reason, and yes, of course it would be. You seem to be of the opinion that some magical intellectual liberal promised land exists north of the border and your situation and prevailing Canadian immigration requirements are preventing you from seeking membership in this enclave. Well, perhaps, but I would wager that its nonexistence presents the far greater obstacle.

It is very easy for me to accept that someone somewhere on the internet is wrong. Happens all the time. I could let that go, of course. But what fun would that be?

You know what, I think I'll keep the pipe.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #280)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:58 PM

308. Well, you are bright if not kind.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #118)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:34 PM

214. I've found that people who talk like that,

about getting away from the awful US and finding a refuge in the intellectual progressive utopia of ________, have mostly never traveled to those places.

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Response to Union Scribe (Reply #214)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:30 AM

316. + 10

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:47 AM

22. Home schooling

Some home schooling can be for a better education but, what it really is, is way way to teach children exactly what the parents want them to believe with no basis in what is real.My daughter in law is one. She does not know what happened during the depression, the revolution and founding fathers history is what her parents believe not based on any actual fact. There needs to be strict laws governing home schoolers. If the parents do not at least hold a bachelors degree they should not be allowed to teach period. Children need social connections and discussion and debate needs to be part of the education as it was in classical learning. It would be a great service to us all if Reagan and Bush's education reforms would be walked back and total re haul of our education system be done. I know teachers that cry in the break room because they can not teach. Field trips have to have certain no child left behind numbers or they can not go. It is putting hardships on zoos and museums also as well.

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Response to BlueinOhio (Reply #22)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:13 AM

92. You said it, and you said it well!

We must do all we can to save our public education system and public institutions of learning because they are under attack. Public education is money well spent.
The arguments on this thread make sense, on both sides, but this post about home schooling is the heart of this subject.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:49 AM

24. As long as our News Media is allowed to

lie to half this Nation we will have this problem.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:52 AM

26. no more so than any other nation. you have the educated and uneducated. the curious,

and the noninterested. you have those that focus on every day life and others that focus on every day issues.

i have seen video of dumb people in america. and yes, they can really cherry pick, making this nation appear dumb.

then i have seen the same of other nations and you know what?

no difference.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:58 AM

32. yep. no difference. i heard palinesque stuff 30 years ago from a pair of canadians

 

on a greyhound bus. i wondered what they were feeding them up there. this was before the rhetoric took over the us.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #32)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:18 PM

147. Oh, so now you think anecdotal evidence proves sweeping generalizations. Logic much?

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #147)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:21 PM

172. not at all. where did i say such a thing? but you know, there's a logical gap from "half the

 

population voted for romney" to "americans are stupid" as well.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #172)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:09 PM

176. The half that voted for Romney sure do drag the average down severely.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:09 PM

193. Thank you. Like many others here, I get very tired of the obligatory Five Minutes of Self Hate.

some here feel the need to indulge

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:54 AM

28. Appealing to America's ignorance and gullibility

is by design. Keeping the masses just smart enough to operate the means of production but unaware of who is exploiting them works for a greater bottom line profit/bonus.
The radical extreme greed driven policies of the wealthy elites have successfully influenced enough of the electorate to vote against their own best interests by appealing to the worst fears and lowest instincts, hence the unwarranted profits resulting from the deliberate dumbing down.
Fox News and hate radio have convinced enough people to vote for a guy because it might be fun to drink beer with him. It's kind of like casting fear at those who've dedicated a part of their lives to expanding their understanding of the world.
Republicans have turned the words education and liberal into invectives. In Republican code liberal and educated means heathen Jew. And it's easy to cast aspersions on the Jews because Jews have been blamed for killing Jesus as part of the common mythology used by religious demagogues for most of our history. This misconception has been ingrained in the unconscious of the Christian majority from birth. It's much easier to blame a scapegoat than actually working on realistic solutions to the day's real issues.
With our corporate media giving myth and fact equal credence so as to present a "fair and balanced" narrative, the average American is just as likely to believe nonsense as sense.
We have a chance to get beyond the stupidity if we change back to teaching critical thinking in public schools and get away from wasting education hours teaching to the "test."

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Response to The Wizard (Reply #28)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:00 AM

34. yep. most of the memes come from the "brilliant elite" themselves, and are used

 

to control thought and channel anger and discontent in ways that benefit the "brilliant elites"

we come into a world that we accept as given; it takes a long time to start looking behind the curtain.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:04 AM

38. Fundamentalist Christians

Believe getting an education and wanting to learn is from the devil. So there is a lesson to be learned. A cautionary tale from history. The Muslims used to be ahead of the west in medicine, science, literature and mathematics but the extremists in the religion determined what could be learned based on the Koran instead the fundamental christians want to use the bible. The jews on the other hand embrace learning and will give children cookies in the form of hebrew letters to make learning sweet and that learning is a virtue. On a light note some need to watch horrible movie Idiocracy.

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Response to BlueinOhio (Reply #38)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:46 AM

54. I've tried to make it through watching Idiocracy, but never have, one of my failings in

life ... Damn, I feel I'm getting more stupid just watching it ...

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #54)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:26 PM

181. A barely mediocre comedy staring Luke Wilson.

Why is this movie not only liked, but also referred to as some sort of political masterpiece?

I guess I'm not intelligent enough to get it (or at least that's what the pretentious tools on IMDB would tell me. lol)

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #54)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:39 PM

186. You're right, as a comedic film it is awful. But, as a social commentary, and possible

 

"closer to the truth than we'd like" prediction. It's worth the pain.

Of course, Ms. Thug has never made it through and maintains that nothing is worth that much pain.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #186)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:32 PM

286. Perhaps Ms. Thug .

doesn't enjoy pain as much as you.

No offense, but some of us just don't have the kind of self hating masochism

that tells us we "need" to be shat upon.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #286)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:37 PM

305. None taken, and I have always, on occasion, enjoyed a little pain. n/t

 


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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #305)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:50 PM

306. So you're a masochist?

How nice for you.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #306)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:52 AM

312. Hey, I'm a really left liberal, intellectual, and a member of DU.

 

What do you think?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:29 AM

48. Hmm...

It can be accurately said that there are a lot of stupid people in America. Of course, that could be accurately said of any Nation, depending on one's definition of stupidity. For instance, take our tea party conservatives - they undoubtedly see us liberals as incredibly stupid, though not for the reasons we find them to be, it has little to do with actual intellect. It depends on the context in which the word is used here.

To suggest that our "elite" are brilliant may be referencing their (generally) higher level of education (at least in regards to higher education, schools like Yale, Harvard, etc.), better availability of education and so on. If you take a look at how well our private and especially wealthy school districts perform, you'll find a significant difference between them and our working class schools. This has a lot to do with funding and a lot to do with the different atmosphere of "wealthier" schools.

It's a matter of perspective. The writer seems to be implying that those of us who reject the theory of evolution are stupid, that those who wanted Mitt Romney for president are stupid. That Sarah Palin's popularity indicates a stupid media (perhaps) and that religion can lead to stupidity. The writer seems to imply that those who sneer at science are stupid.

All that said, I agree that sweeping generalizations aimed at a very large group of people are stupid. However, without knowing the writer's mind or the way in which this was meant, I will not make any quick judgments about her character or her intellect, because it would be unfair.

I would suggest to the writer that the fact that we elected Obama demonstrates that there is hope for us. The fact that we voted for him in such numbers would seem to indicate that not all of us are stupid - that in fact, quite a lot of us are smart. I think that the writer has a fairly liberal point of view and that her use of the word stupid is primarily directed at American conservatives, rather than Americans as a whole. If I am wrong, then I would suggest to the writer that stupidity is universal and that we are in truth no more guilty of it than any other Nation.

It isn't simply raw potential or intellect, but how well our schools perform, how well we fund them and what our policies are like that generally determine our academic and intellectual ability. We have a long way to go and we're having a hell of a time with the reformation movement, the NCLB policy and so on. I suspect that if our system of education was run by those who better understood it, we would be far more successful in that regard.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:35 AM

51. Years before my wife and I got together

she lived in an apartment building that housed a lot of foreign students attending the local universities. She did typing for them and became friends with them. One more than one occasion while talking with them they referred to Americans as stupid and self-centered.

At first it made her angry to hear this, but then she slowly realized that there was a lot of truth in what they were saying.



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Response to chemenger (Reply #51)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:46 AM

55. you know something?

I have traveled a lot--and lived in several countries. There are stupid self-centered people EVERYWHERE. You can't escape them on this planet My own sister--not that stupid--butshe is totally and completely self centered and self absorbed (oh yeah--and she's a Democrat--so it isn't just THEM that have this problem)

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Response to chemenger (Reply #51)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:13 PM

125. "Stupid and self-centered"?

"At first it made her angry to hear this"

Gee.. I can't can't imagine WHY, especially since they were attending the "local universities", it seems, in her own country.

Were it me, after blasting them for unmitigated rudeness mos likely underscored by jealousy, I'd ask them why they chose to attend our

schools if we were so "dumb"? Duh.

"Stupid and self-centered" my ass. When civilized people TRULY feel superior to others, they're more inclined to


treat them with kindness and concern. It's only when people secretly envy that country for something they HAVE, that

their country does NOT, that they engage in this sort of "bullying". I mean, really, can you imagine the outrage and cries of


"ugly American" we'd hear were we to go to their countries and insult them to THEIR faces like this? .

I don't know how many years ago your wife experienced these jerks, and I know many will balk at my "jealousy"

theory as being part of the reason, but it's true, in my opinion. Oh, yes, they'll regale you with the superiority of their health and

social systems, and to a large extent, they're right, but, (and here's the big "but") one thing they do NOT have anymore is power,

and as much as they'll deny it, they resent and envy us for it.

In fact, the more "undeserving" they can convince themselves we are of it, the angrier it makes them,

and so the more anxious they are to "put us in our place"

Again, Europeans don't generally denigrate nations they really view as "inferior", especially not with the persistence the've

shown toward us Instead, they're inclined to a more "humanistic" approach to them and

if we were to lose our super power status, and if they did not, at the end of the day, have to depend

on it for their own safety, their attitude would change.

To summarize, I believe the constant ridicule and assertion of superiority is mostly a cover for intense resentment.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #125)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:53 PM

129. I can't disagree with anything you've stated in your response, however

as the OP pointed out

When 46% of the population rejects evolution

When 48% supported Romney for president (at the very least thaey should have been asking themselves how a man who made his personal forture eliminating/exporting jobs could suddenly create jobs in America)

When 46% supported the 2008 McCain/Palin ticket in spite of the fact that was and is an idiot (and still has a sizable audience)

How Obama's citizenship and religion became a point of mobilization to this day

The deep distrust of reason, science and facts that many Americans wallow in today

When at least 40% of the general population gets their news from FOX


YOU'VE GOT TO WONDER!!!

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:43 AM

53. I find most of humanity pretty stupid, so I don't think America has the only leading role when

it comes to STUPID.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #53)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:52 PM

204. +1000000 It's not an American issue...

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:47 AM

56. Ah, yes, the sensible Swedes, for whom child porn was legal until 1999.

well,

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:57 AM

58. To paraphrase George Carlin. . . .

Imagine how ignorant an "average" person is and then remember that HALF of people are dumber than THAT!

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Response to ncgrits (Reply #58)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:15 AM

65. and where do you stand in this hierarchy of smartness? as you are standing back

 

from it all judging i imagine your'e closer to the top than the bottom, right?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #65)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:00 PM

130. HA! I would like to think that I am in the top 1/2, but doing so probably qualifies me

for the bottom 1/2. (If George Carlin is there with me, I'm in good company).

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:10 AM

61. Forgive me

I have a problem with the whole Americans are stupid meme looking out at the world and having gone to other countries America is far from having the market cornered stupidity exists in all populations.

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Response to Arcanetrance (Reply #61)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:54 PM

190. No "forgiveness" needed

I've done the same and am in complete agreement.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:14 AM

62. For all the consternation the Swedish author is causing in this thread, I have to get a

little laugh. We are on DU and are known to decry the utter stupidity of the Right Wing in our country every day in at least one thread complaining about their spelling, their denial of science, their utter destructiveness with regard to public education, workers rights, women's rights, and on and on and on. Yet here is a Swedish author essentially making our own points and there are all these complaints?

Take a look around this board in all of the most popular categories and you'll see what I am talking about...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #62)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:32 AM

74. The author makes a very smart point.

"You cannot raise a democratic discussion when preposterous lies are given the same credence as truths."

A very succinct explanation of how RW lie factories are a threat to our democracy itself; and how lies are being used by the right to dismantle our democracy in favor of a plutocracy.

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Response to Barack_America (Reply #74)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:37 AM

77. I thought so too. I just can't understand the utter outrage here about what she wrote in this

article, when we say essentially the same things day in and day out here on DU.

I know, I know, it's different when a non-American says it, but really, Sweden? Of all places! A lot of people on this board, myself included, would probably say that they have a smarter and more humane society than we do. But to read some of the complaints here, I have to scratch my head and ask what happened...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #77)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:43 AM

79. If she had inserted "conservative" in the title we'd all be applauding this.

I also think there's an interesting misunderstanding in what she means by "brilliant elites". She's not talking about money, as most here assume; she's talking about intelligence, which is still respected by most countries on this earth.

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Response to Barack_America (Reply #79)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:54 AM

86. I tuned in on precisely that vibe from her.

I think it is understandable that people in progressive democratic countries with rich social programs, including universal health care, but also a lot more, would feel that we are somewhat ignorant about "socialized" medicine and a lot of Americans who believe the RW propaganda. This talk about "secession" is a case in point, just to pick one idiocy (but where to begin?).

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #86)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:04 PM

259. Rather than ask "where to begin", you might want to aks "Where to end".

We just voted Against the Idiots for the second time in a general election

and we are the only large western democracy I know of to have elected a man of color to our highest office

for the second time. Yes, Sweden, like many other European nations, have "people of color"

just as we do. I don't see any of them up for the Top Job.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #259)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:28 PM

262. It's great that we have elected a person of color to President, yes and good for us!

But this is apples to oranges. I was really talking about the Swedish socialized domestic policies, which I believe is the future and we should step up to it. Empirically, it makes sense. You have a strong democracy when people do not have such economic inequality, have good basic health care that is guaranteed, good public education, and the list goes on and you get my drift...

I think we can have both racial equality and strong social programs for all of our citizens.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #262)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:42 PM

264. Yes, it is and of course I know that it's not "everything", and as a progressive democrat

I'm DECIDEDLY in favor of socialized domestic policies and of far less inequality.

My point is just that many people have a tendency to see the "redneck" side of this

country as ALL of it, and that's clearly NOT the case, as much as that might

gratify an apparent need to feel superior

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Response to whathehell (Reply #264)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:36 PM

266. I feel that we are "evolving" on the social programs faster than we have on the

racial equality and marriage equality issues. But I feel confident that we will catch up on the former. The biggest fear of the RW is that the people already support "socialism" in their broad support for Medicare. That is why they want to instill insecurity among the electorate about the "viability" of such social programs.

You raise a good point. Why are the red state people continuing to vote against their own economic interests? As we know from Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas?" it is that social issues such as abortion and gay rights simply took over a whole section of the electorate in Kansas and cancelled out fading union, working class concerns. Why does this happen? How is it that people can just "give up" on their economic stake in society?

I ponder these questions.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #266)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:46 PM

273. People vote where they think they're given an actual choice

Essentially people didn't think there was enough difference between the parties on economic policy to make it worthwhile to base their vote on that, social issues then dominate.

The Democrats spent thirty years breathlessly chasing the Republicans to the right like a dog after a car on economic issues and then wonder why people choose social issues on which to base their vote?







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Response to Barack_America (Reply #74)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:09 PM

154. that observation gripped me too.

I want to re-read Neil Postman, "Amusing Ourselves to Death" and Charles Pierce, "Idiot America; How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free."

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Response to Barack_America (Reply #74)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:33 PM

310. What many under a certain age don't realize is that this idiocy, this "rejection of science", etc.

was not at ALL common in public life during the decades of the fifties, Sixties and Seventies.

It may have been in the some rural areas at the state level, but certainly NOT at the national one.

As someone who grew up during this period, I can tell you that the nation has gone backward

in a BIG way.

The America of the 1960's had the largest middle class in the world and the greatest number

of college graduates. It's even been suggested that during those VERY democratic (small AND big d) days

the "powers that be" became SO frightened by the "calamity" of it all, the

counterculture, the War protests, etc, they claimed there was "too much

democracy" and started a conservative "comeback".

Trust me....No one of the ilk of a Michelle Bachmann could have gotten NEAR a national

stage then, which is why Boomers like Chris Matthews & others are AMAZED that someone as

embarrassingly ignorant as she and some of the other wingnuts, are even holding office, and I understand

it completely, as we came from a far smarter, more liberal era.

The "dumbing down" of America started in earnest in the Eighties with Reagan and the "Religious Right".

The Republican Primaries, aka "The Republican Clown Show" is something no adult in the Sixties and Seventies

could have even IMAGINED.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #62)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:25 AM

101. Very true

And we can't get away from the fact that in this country, the stupid people still get a lot more influence. There might be stupid people everywhere, but they don't seem to get the upper hand. As someone posted upthread, is there another country where there is anyone in any position of power seriously trying to teach creationism rather than evolution? Or seriously cutting down the poor as just lazy?

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Response to treestar (Reply #101)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:14 AM

114. Stupid people do the bidding of the plutocrats.

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Response to Barack_America (Reply #114)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:12 PM

142. Oh, that apocalyptic dialect, really gets me

I love it when people speak of living in our country in ominous terms.

I got up this morning and went to work.
You are doing the bidding of the plutocrats supporting the free-capitalist corporate state.

I bought a cup of coffee and a pack of smokes at the 7-11.
You are the pawn of Big Tobacco and you enable commercial agricultural exploitation by not purchasing coffee your from a local co-op specializing in fair-trade blends.

I went to see a movie at the Regal/AMC/WhatTehFukEver Cinema.
You are supporting the destruction of the arts by not supporting independent filmmakers the media-entertainment-complex will never support.

After the movie was over, I was hungry, so I pulled into McDonalds and got a Big Mac.
You might as well inject the cholesterol right into your bloodstream. Here, have a quinoa salad. No, asshole, it's pronounced KEEN-WA. Those things? Bulgur groats. No I don't have phlegm in my throat, it's fucking wheat, you philistine..

Did it ever occur to you that rather than being best expressed by phraseology to which you almost always need to tack a MUWAHAHAHAHAHA on the end of, that the answer is far less... well... apocalyptic?

We are suffering a malaise caused by decades of unenlightened self interest and immediate gratification. It isn't just the plutocrats guilty of this. Not by a stretch.

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Response to Barack_America (Reply #114)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:18 PM

170. lol. yeah, it's all those stupid people serving as worker bees and managerial personnel in the

 

gov't, media, corporations, social services, research and academic establishment...

while the smart people -- i dunno -- somehow live on air in communes isolated from any connection with the bidding of the plutocrats. they're all up in maine making their own granola out of dirt or something.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #170)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:31 PM

184. You might consider reading the post I was responding to...

...as in "stupid people" don't believe in evolution or global warming. As in "stupid people" are created by sources like Fox News to do the bidding of the plutocrats.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #62)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:11 PM

167. +1000

color me baffled

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:15 AM

64. I was wondering why the Frisbee was getting bigger.

Then it hit me.

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Response to aandegoons (Reply #64)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:20 AM

67. LOL

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:28 AM

70. Stupid sells.

American stupidity is a coordinated effort by the controlling elites.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:29 AM

71. Only in America is the film Idiocracy not considered a satire. nt

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:32 AM

75. Americans aren't "stupid"

We are however, increasingly less educated, more importantly I think, we are uninterested. Most Americans I speak to and I feel is a pretty diverse group are "intelligent" enough to know that our political system is a puppet show engineered by the rich, for the rich.

They understand that in the final analysis our votes and our voices are not heard by the policians we elect.

They have little or no connection with a media that has become a purveyor of special interest stories of little or no substance or opinion shows which for the most part preach to the converted.

The media itself consists of a bunch of highly paid individuals who have no idea of what it's like to be a "real American". That is what Frum was pointing out a couple of weeks ago. They don't know what it's like to worry about the status of Medicare because you have a grandmother with senile dementia who requires 24 hour care and Medicare covers a portion of her nursing home costs.

In the 1960's Americans scored higher in achievement tests and college entrance exams than any other country in the world. Since then, education has been slashed to make room for more $ for the job creators. The media once a solid source of unbiased information has become a for profit infotainment industry through deregulation.

In the past thirty years there has been a systematic assault on the American people from the plutocracy. At every turn they have maximized their profits at the expense of the rest of society.

They now control the message and the messenger. They control America. The majority of American people know this, they just don't know how to combat it. Are we stupid? I think of us more as defeated and apathetic. I think it's hard to blame us for feeling so.

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Response to Liberal1975 (Reply #75)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:28 AM

102. i agree with the general thrust but i'd just like to say that america never scored

 

at the top of the pack. we've always been kind of middling.

As for the international test scores, which Rhee loves to recite to knock our public schools, she is obviously unaware that our nation has never had high scores on those tests. When the first international test was given in 1964, our students ranked 11th out of 12 nations. Yet our nation went on to become the most powerful economy in the world.

In the 50 years since then, we have regularly scored in the bottom quartile on the international tests or at best, at the international average. Clearly, the international scores do not predict our future as we are the dominant economy in the world despite the scores.


http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/09/my-view-rhee-is-wrong-and-misinformed/

Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University. Appointed by President Clinton, she served seven years on the National Assessment Governing Board which supervises the NAEP tests. She is the author of the best-selling book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education,” and blogs at dianeravitch.net.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #102)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:42 AM

120. Thanks

For the response. I was unaware that we had scored so poorly though the study does appear to hedge its findings somewhat do to inconsistent sample sizes etc.

That's what I get for basing my point on my parents recollection of things instead of looking it up!

Either way the international perception of us as lazy, fat and stupid is I think is incorrect. To judge the intelligence of our nation based on who voted for Romney is short sighted considering a large minority of Americans don't bother to vote at all.

I stand by my theory that we are much more disillusioned than stupid. We are as a people so disconnected from the centers of economic power that really govern us from the politicians that represent us and even from the soldiers and the military who sacrifice for us. (whether you believe they are out there fighting for the interests of the Plutocracy or the people their sacrifice is very real)

Even now, after the exit polls clearly showed that the majority of the people want the rich to pay more in taxes the corporate media is slowly but surely shaping the argument into some sort of equivalency between "entitlement programs" and "revenue increases".

So the uber rich get a trillion dollar hand out, deregulation leads to a catastrophic economic meltdown, job creation which the tax cuts were supposed to stimulate actually goes down during W, the 400 richest Americans increase their collective wealth by 200 billion dollars last year, but a "fair and balanced" approach requires a slashing of spending that generally benefit the poor and the middle class.

Is it a wonder Americans don't pay attention to the media and generally are of the opinion that politicians do nothing to really improve their lives?

Thanks again for the historical knowledge on international test scores, I never mind learning new things.

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Response to Liberal1975 (Reply #120)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:05 PM

166. "I stand by my theory that we are much more disillusioned than stupid." I agree.

 



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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #102)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:26 PM

148. US became most powerful economy in large part by attracting highly educated intelligent immigrants.

Native US entrepreneurship, a highly developed American innovation, requires a high degree of intelligence. But the next tier down, the top level managers and scientists and engineers, draw heavily from highly educated intelligent immigrants in great disproportion compared to the general population.

Without them, the US would be an ordinary major power, not dominant.

Of course there are many other factors like an abundance of natural resources and being shielded by two oceans, but Brazil has those but is not even a major power, yet.

Watch out when the immigrant stream dwindles.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:38 AM

78. Interesting discussion, lots of defensiveness.

I do not see the original post as carefully written, but more of a casual statement about how ignorant, mentally lazy, and uneducated so many Americans are. An amazing number of Americans watch Fox News and believe crazy things they hear from numerous sources. I see no way to deny this. For persons on the outside (other countries) looking in, I can imagine that 46 percent denying evolution and 50 percent ignoring the many lies of Mitt Romney, not to mention the other Republicans who are ignorant about conception and rape, "Americans", half of us, look pretty damn stupid. I agree. And, yes, religion leads the way. Enemies of religion, especially fundamentalism, are education, common sense, ethics, thoughtful philosophy, compromise, most new ideas, and respect for persons who believe something different. Almost any idea or belief that leaders of fundamentalism (like preachers, politicians, and TV evangelists) can use to generate donations and activism can become dogma not to be questioned regardless of how much it contradicts reality or evidence. High percentages of Americans cannot perform basic math and are uneducated (ignorant) about history and current events. We are led around by the nose by corporate and political marketing as if we are no smarter than fat wooly sheep. Speaking of fat...

The good news is we are not all fat and stupid.

On the other hand, will politicians stop defending and subsidizing dirty energy, unhealthy food, militarism, and dangerous health care profiteering?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:50 AM

85. Lighten up!

We say the same things here on DU all the time. We can't understand how anyone would support Romney, or how Palin became relevant or how so many people can reject science, evolution or plain facts. My take on it was humorous.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:05 AM

90. Margaret Thatcher, Sarkozy, soccer riots, Greek rightwing extremists,

 

Hitler, the banking scandal in Japan, Rupert Murdoch and the media scandal in England, Putin, Stephen Harper, Imelda Marcos, Idi Amin, the Eurozone, Sharia law,......

Yeah, only America has stupid people

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Response to lalalu (Reply #90)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 01:54 PM

323. Thank you. Although I've learned to expect a lot of knee-jerk anti-Americanism

from foreigners, I really can't STAND the drooling europhiles here with so little pride

and so much desire to curry favor with the Euros, that they denigrate their own people,

including themselves and those of us on DU.

It's simple bigotry, really, and I have had at least one "Americans are.....insert insult..." post hidden/deleted

here for exactly that reason.

I understand perfectly the frustrations and impressions of "ignorance"

when it comes to the Tea Party and the Far Right in general, but there ARE reasons for

that -- a 24 hour propaganda station called Fox, for one thing -- and, if I'm not mistaken,

I believe we bright and "informed" Americans just BEAT BACK the others in the last election!..

What a fucking downer to have to read more shit about "dumb Americans". Most of these people have never been here

and have NO real conception of how BIG America is and how diverse. We are, however, a super power,

and so make a perfect "whipping boy"


For what it's worth, I like Europe, have visited there several times and even have "right of return"

due to my ancestry. That being said, I'm a progressive American who does NOT "apologize" for her

nationality nor "genuflect" to others because of theirs. In the long run, I think that stance both reflects

and engenders more respect than that of self-effacing self-haters.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:14 AM

93. It is due to our misguided belief that disputation and argument lead to the truth

Our legal system is based, for example, on the notion that if parties A and B hire mouthpieces X and Y, then the rhetorical skills of X and Y exhibited in front of 12 citizens with no background in the matter will lead to the truth and a just verdict.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #93)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:16 AM

115. Funny...

...it usually does result in a just verdict. Counterintuitive, yes, but also true, nonetheless.

Which is why X and Y spend so much time and effort to settle things before it gets to 12 citizens with no background in the matter.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:14 AM

94. Customers rather than citizens

A good point.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:15 AM

95. We are ... (both)

We are smart enough to engineer food products (wheat, corn, etc.) that increase profitability, but dumb enough to eat the stuff that results.

We are smart enough to drill for oil and gas in amazing, sophisticated ways, but dumb enough to drill-baby-drill rather than get serious about green and renewable energy.

We are smart enough to create sophisticated chemicals, but dumb enough to swallow them because the pharmaceutical industry uses smiling people and pleasant music in their advertisements. And we give medical doctors control over our health even though they have become little more than drug dealers for the pharmaceutical industry.

We are smart enough to design smart phones, but dumb enough to stare at them when driving a car or truck, or a train.

We are smart enough to invent sophisticated techniques for marketing and manipulating public opinion, but dumb enough to fall for it.

In approximately 1960, a witty high school friend of mine wrote a poem titled, Ignorance is Real Relaxation. I fear this is the way many many Americans deal with the stresses of today's complex and challenging world. That may not work out very well.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:02 AM

112. Oh, dear. More of this shit...

It has come to my attention that DU has established a fetish for posting America bashing articles of European origin, implying more or less that we need to be more like them, whoever 'them' may be at the moment.

Most of these articles are snooty nationalistic pap along the lines of "all Americans are fat, lazy, and stupid and we must resist their social corruptions", which is just plain old intellectual laziness. This article linked is precisely that. A call to remind everyone to resist this American siren song of commercialization, and to be more traditionally Swedish. The article implies a certain superiority of Swedish culture without offering anything other than a vague sense of national pride as its support.

Please, to all who may read this, please stop reposting this nonsense. This is so brazenly stupid an article that even we dullard Americans are having our miniscule intellectual capacity insulted by it.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #112)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:03 PM

131. Maybe you missed this

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Response to valerief (Reply #131)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:37 PM

137. Quite amusing that...

...but irrelevant. Although, there may be quite a few scientists getting a chuckle out of the fact that this dimwit would even bother to make the comparison. As if there are a bunch of gobsmacked scientists sitting around the television going, "Really, he WASN'T a scientist? I would've lost that bet."

Your point is what... we have superstitious idiots in the United States? Gasp! The horror.

Somewhere outside of Stockholm, probably in some rustic rural village, there is Rubio's equal in intellect and belief. And much like Marco Rubio, he is probably the source of a lot of tragic comedy, the subject of laughter and derision. He is probably known as the village idiot. He may be forbidden from driving a car, or using power tools. He may have to eat his dinner with a fork that has a cork on the end so that he doesn't accidentally impale his face on it. His name might be Ruprecht, although, it may not.

We in the U.S. are very progressive compared to Sweden when it comes to our village idiots. While they hide their idiots from the world such that they do not shame them or their national pride or character, we allow them to seek jobs, drive motor vehicles, eat with unfettered flatware, and even run for public offices. Sure, this might seem quite odd to the European mindset and be seen as shameful by them, causing them to question our entire nation's sanity, but they are already wont to think the worst of us as is. It's apparently the trendy thing these days.

But in truth, when it comes to our village idiots, we are much more humane than the Swedes would ever dare be.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #137)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:47 PM

188. ...

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #188)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:40 PM

201. Always enjoyed that one...

Isn't democracy grand?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:19 AM

116. I guess it's a good thing we don't have a democracy then.......

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:58 PM

150. If you make one ethnic slur, you are embracing and tolerating ALL ethnic slurs

And yes, we are an ethnicity.

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Response to melody (Reply #150)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:27 PM

198. Correct, and the dummies eagerly embracing this self-hate shit sandwich would be excoriating

those who made such comments about ANY other country in the world.

Perhaps when they talk about "dumb Americans" they are really speaking of themselves.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #198)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:13 AM

220. Exactly, well said.

To hate Americans is as ignorant and corrupt as hating all French people, all plumbers or any other group of people.

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Response to melody (Reply #220)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:44 PM

256. Thank you. n/t

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Response to melody (Reply #150)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:55 PM

206. I'm allowed to point out the flaws of my own ethnicity

And by pasta, a dumb-as-a-post popular culture is a huge flaw of my ethnicity.

There just aren't all that many ethnicities where ignorance is considered a virtue and the ones where ignorance is considered a virtue are worthy of being mocked.

There's an entire major political party devoted to denying reality and they came scarily close to winning yet another presidency, that's not an indication of a real bright ethnicity on the average even if everyone who voted the other way is a damn genius

Damn, I'm drowning in a sea of fucking stupid here in red state hell and I'm not even supposed to mention it.




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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #206)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:12 AM

219. You're still a bigot

There are gay people who try to cure themselves, black people who turn into Godfathers pizza CEOs, and all manner of people who hate themselves. The moment you say ALL of any one group is stupid or bad or evil, you are making a rash assessment that is more about your own problems than it is the people you're perceiving. As for red state hell, my entire family is from Texas and Arkansas. My grandparents were staunch Christians AND Democrats. If you choose to apply stereotypes to all people of one type, you're being as ignorant as the racist who looks down on black people. You're not one iota different.

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Response to melody (Reply #219)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:03 AM

229. Aww, I love you too

There's no doubt in my mind that you carry at least as many prejudices as I do, I'm just being honest about mine.

I never said anyone at all was "bad" or "evil", what I said is that America has a bone deep stupid popular culture which celebrates ignorance, an undeniable fact.

The moment it really hit me was when Dubya was reelected in 2004 with more votes than he got in 2000, that was an election for the record books when it comes to jaw dropping displays of sheer dumbfuckery. At that moment I realized I lived in a nation that was full of people who couldn't think their way out of a wet paper bag. Remember, that was *after* Iraq had turned into a quagmire and the WMDs (remember them?) were discovered to be vaporware.

"The question is seldom asked: Is our children learning." -President George W Bush



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #229)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:16 AM

239. We must question our prejudices

You don't. That's the difference.

If you really wish to believe your own people are inferior to others, then I feel very sorry for you. I come from the very people you're making fun of. I'm a liberal Democrat and have been my whole life. You are the ignorant one. You're the one who refuses to accept the limits of your knowledge. You've just defined yourself as stupid.

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Response to melody (Reply #239)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:40 AM

240. What part of "popular culture" do you fail to understand?

That's what I'm talking about, the popular culture we have been for the most part been conditioned by the M$M to embrace, not any inherent inferiority in the people. Any people exposed to the level of toxic bullshit our culture is rampant with would be just as ignorant and act just as stupidly.

At least I know and admit I have prejudices, you are presenting yourself to me as someone who doesn't think they have any prejudices.

What makes you think the people I'm talking about aren't my people too?

Sweet suffering pasta al dente, my home has wheels under it.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #240)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:05 PM

245. Believe what you need to believe

It's still more about you than it is anyone else.

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Response to melody (Reply #245)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:19 PM

247. I'm rubber and you're glue your words bounce off me and stick to you..

Just as mature and logical as what you wrote.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #247)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:50 PM

250. I wasn't trying to be mature or logical -- simply concise and honest

And I ignore people who just want to cause fights and have nothing else to do with their lives.

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Response to melody (Reply #150)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:43 AM

227. No, "American" is not an ethnicity. It's a nationality. They are not the same thing.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #227)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:14 AM

238. An ethnic quality or affiliation resulting from racial or cultural ties

We are an ethnicity. It has nothing to do with pigment or biological associations. It is a culture.

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Response to melody (Reply #238)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:06 AM

242. Nope

African-American is an ethnicity; Mexican-American is an ethnicity. "American" is not an ethnicity because there is no "American" culture. Culturally? The South is not New England is not California, and the cultural experience of white, black, Asian and Hispanic people in all of those places is significantly different to the degree that attempting to say "American" is an ethnicity is deeply flawed at best.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #242)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:05 PM

244. My background is in cultural anthropology

The definition I posted is from the dictionary. Your assumptions about language are not always the literal truth.

If you need another source, here's dictionary.com --

Ethnicity:
ethnic traits, background, allegiance, or association.

When somebody insults all Americans, they are making an ethnic slur, just as surely if they made an ethnic joke about the French or the Polish.

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Response to melody (Reply #244)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:10 PM

246. Congratulations

you're still wrong. A Jew and an Arab can both be Israelis; Israeli is however a nationality, not an ethnicity. Same thing with American; it is decidedly not an ethnicity, it is a nationality. Anyone can be an American, regardless of ethnic or cultural background.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #246)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:49 PM

249. That's right, anthropoloogy and dictionaries are wrong ... you are right

People can be more than one ethnicity.

Why do I even bother pointing this stuff out on DU? You will insist to your last sentence that your mistaken assumption is truth, despite all evidence to contrary.

Welcome to my ignore list.

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Response to melody (Reply #249)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:09 PM

254. Show me an anthropologist who defines "American" as an ethnic group.

Anywhere. (It's not my field but a quick perusal of such of the recent literature as is available on Google Scholar talks of "American ethnic groups", "maintenance of ethnic identity by descendants of immigrants", and so on; you are very much wrong in claiming "American" is an ethnicity; when it's pointed out that you're wrong you proceed to wave your metaphorical dick around ("I have a background in anthropology", lol); you're apparently so childishly incapable of being told you're wrong that you go "waah, I'm putting you on ignore!" to get the last word...which is pretty fucking lame, sorry.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #254)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 04:14 PM

257. In regard to Melody's point, It's a distinction without much of a difference

Last edited Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:56 PM - Edit history (1)

and if you want to take "ethnicity" from Americans you would not only have to do the

same for other traditional "immigrant" populations like those in Canada and Australia,

you would now have to do the same for certain European counties who

presently have sizable "immigrant" populations of their own.

Are "English" and "French" still ethnicities?...It would be odd if they were,

since being born and bred in these nations now means you have almost as much chance

of being of a person of color whose ancestors immigrated from

the Middle East, Southeast Asia or the former colonies of those countries.

I just hosted a "French" woman whose parents were entirely of Italian and Spanish ancestry.

In any case, bigotry is bigotry, be it on the basis of "nationality" or "ethnicity".

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Response to whathehell (Reply #257)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:31 PM

270. Thank you once again n/t

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Response to melody (Reply #270)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:23 AM

281. You're very welcome, Melody

and believe me, I was defending my own point of view as much as yours.

The OP couldn't be more ill-timed: Who wants to be insulted again with another

"Dumb Americans" thread, especially on the heels of a successful election?

Ironically, I find a recent admonition from a prominent Republican pertinent here:

"Stop despising people".

If they feel "above" the rest of us, let them take their sneering asses elsewhere,

and if that amounts to "love it or leave" it, so be it.

I find few as loathsome as those who spit on their own countrymen.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #254)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:20 PM

261. We don't have just one ethnicity

Google scholar may say what it likes. We have many ethnic groups. You don't just belong to one. Obama is African, Irish AND American, for instance.

Why do I infer you have been told that "childish" line about your own rude assertions? In fact, you are the one incapable of admitting you were incorrect, even when presented with evidence from TWO dictionaries. You do not know what you're talking about. Ignorance is a very common attribute on Internet forums, but dogged ignorance in the face of factual information is usually something found among the right-wing. You assumed your intuitive understanding of the word was solely correct. It's not. It remains incorrect whether or not you choose to believe it. Deal with it.

I now put an end to this ludicrous interaction.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #242)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:52 AM

283. Yep.

and you are so wrong in saying that "America has no culture" it leads me to believe you are,

for whatever reasons, actually quite ignorant about our country.

America certainly DOES have a culture. The fact that such a large country varies somewhat from region to region

is neither surprising, nor out of keeping with virtually all OTHER countries.

The South of China (Hell, the south of Italy) has a slightly

different "culture" than the north of that country and the same thing applies,

perhaps even more so, in countries like India where the languages and customs vary from

state to state. That being said, East Indians are generally seen as "an ethnic group"

Spidey, time and again, the strength of your "opinions" seems in inverse proportion to your knowledge

of the subject of which you are speaking. In light of that, I think you might consider

that you actually may be have things to learn from an anthropologist after all.

Stranger things have happened.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #283)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 10:14 AM

319. Learn to read pls

I didn't say "America has no culture"; I said "there is no 'American' culture", which is not the same thing; there are cultures, but not one overarching, unified culture (NB that small c "culture" is not the same thing as large C Culture in the sense of "distinctively American art, literature and music"); culturally speaking, Texas is not New England is not California is not Seattle is not Iowa. And you proffer a few really bad examples; East Indians are not generally seen as an ethnic group, nor are Chinese; both countries have diverse populations representing multiple ethnic groups with different histories, dialects, religious and cultural traditions. (And Sicilians and for that matter Sardinians are generally regarded as being ethnically distinct from mainland Italians.)

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #319)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 04:02 PM

320. You learn to read pls

Splitting hairs is a nice distraction, but not one compelling enough

to avoid the larger, more important point:

Broad brushing an entire people, be they a "nationality",

or an "ethnicity" is stupid, lazy and bigoted.

Have a nice day.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:10 PM

155. Brilliant elite?

Lou

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:56 PM

157. GOP try to wisen up

http://www.businessinsider.com/marco-rubio-earth-age-republicans-science-evolution-climate-change-rape-abortion-2012-11
They are beginning to see that they need to stop catering to their crackpot base.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:40 PM

200. The National Democrats/Sweden Democrats hold seats in their government

 

and preach Swedish superiority. They have been gaining in popularity and prominence and captured more seats recently than at any other time. There has also been a rise in vicious attacks against immigrants just as in some other European countries.

People in glass houses..........

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Response to lalalu (Reply #200)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:16 PM

285. You're correct, lalalu, but the drooling europhiles here will likely ignore that

They're convinced Utopia waits for them across the Atlantic.

They're a sad little bunch that, for the most part,

probably has little experience abroad.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:24 PM

208. Yea, yea....dumb Americans....

...Well, considering the view from outside, I can in some ways understand the author's point. Yes, I agree. In reality, we're just as intelligent on average as anywhere else. Only difference is, with our wealth and hegemonic military power we can afford to spout all kinds of ridiculous crap, and get away with it. Pretty common throughout history, actually. Just my 2 cents worth.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:08 PM

209. I'm a danger to myself and others.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:23 PM

210. Damn Swiss!!!

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Response to grantcart (Reply #210)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:16 PM

291. We should invade them

because it is well known that they have WMDs made of chocolate with tiny watch movements for precisely timed detonations.

Death to the Swiss!

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Response to billh58 (Reply #291)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:10 PM

296. Sweden is not Switzerland.

 

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Reply #296)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:41 PM

301. No, I meant Switzerland

and their little chocolaty, clocky, ticky-tocky country. If we invade the Swiss, the Swedes will know that they're next. We must exhibit global power when and where the opportunity arises.

If it is really necessary...

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Response to grantcart (Reply #210)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:13 PM

297. You mean Swedish.

 

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Reply #297)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:50 PM

303. It's like fishing. You put out a little bait and eventually one will bite.


Look at the title and subject of the OP and then reread my reply!

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Response to grantcart (Reply #303)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:50 PM

321. It's ok I'm allowed a slow day every once in a while.

 

But I should have known it was a trap.

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Reply #321)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:26 AM

322. no harm no foul, done it many times myself

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:58 PM

211. Flip side of idiotic emotionalism is rugged individuality.

We may act like pooh flinging monkeys, but we will never goose step. Because if it does not sound right, we question it. And we don't have to get up any courage to question it. We question it immediately, loudly, proudly.

It's a yin-yang thing.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:27 PM

212. 47.59% are dumb in my book

Personally I think The World was scared sh!tless over this election, after all look at what happened in 2000 and 2004.

I've had some pretty remarkable conversations with folks who think man and dinosaur walked on the earth at the same time, the dinosaurs just missed the ark somehow. The world was flooded and drained somehow via the Grand Canyon. I mean seriously, the nut job people are gullible and incurious and incredible scary.

One thing is for sure, we don't like being lumped in the THAT 47%

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Response to bluemarkers (Reply #212)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:24 PM

288. And, what? You imagine that a majority of the rest of the world's populations are Brilliant?

You should probably travel more.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #288)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 05:06 PM

304. that's what you take away from my post? lol!!

My passport has plenty of stamps, and America has not cornered the market on dumb.

Way to put words in my mouth!



We need to stop mixing religion and science, religion and government(education), etc

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:29 PM

213. knr

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:38 AM

225. We're probably all in the same boat.... Kind of a happy start to the season!

Study suggests humans are slowly but surely losing intellectual and emotional abilities]

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-11-humans-slowly-surely-intellectual-emotional.html

Human intelligence and behavior require optimal functioning of a large number of genes, which requires enormous evolutionary pressures to maintain. A provocative hypothesis published in a recent set of Science and Society pieces published in the Cell Press journal Trends in Genetics suggests that we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes endowing us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations and that these mutations are not being selected against in our modern society.

"The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively non-verbal, dispersed groups of peoples before our ancestors emerged from Africa," says the papers' author, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, of Stanford University. In this environment, intelligence was critical for survival, and there was likely to be immense selective pressure acting on the genes required for intellectual development, leading to a peak in human intelligence.

From that point, it's likely that we began to slowly lose ground. With the development of agriculture, came urbanization, which may have weakened the power of selection to weed out mutations leading to intellectual disabilities. Based on calculations of the frequency with which deleterious mutations appear in the human genome and the assumption that 2000 to 5000 genes are required for intellectual ability, Dr. Crabtree estimates that within 3000 years (about 120 generations) we have all sustained two or more mutations harmful to our intellectual or emotional stability. Moreover, recent findings from neuroscience suggest that genes involved in brain function are uniquely susceptible to mutations. Dr. Crabtree argues that the combination of less selective pressure and the large number of easily affected genes is eroding our intellectual and emotional capabilities.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:38 AM

226. Hypocrites.

 

Try having a rational discussion about drug policy with a Swede and you might as well be talking to Bobby Jindal about science.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:59 AM

228. Sweden: Pot calls kettle black

In the first place, Sweden is being infiltrated by radical religious freaks (Christian and Muslim) who are threatening Sweden's previously reasonable society.

Second, just because people voted for Romney doesn't mean that all those people disagree with evolution, etc. In many cases, they were motivated by racism, and a lot more Romney voters were just disappointed that the economy hadn't rebounded faster under Obama.

That article is precisely why you should never write about something you know nothing about.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:00 AM

231. "Dumb" is exactly the wrong word here. The right word is "ignorant."

To be ignorant is vastly worse than to be dumb. The latter is an unfortunate result of biology/malnutrition/etc and can't be helped. Ignorance is a deliberate choice.

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Response to eridani (Reply #231)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:55 PM

265. Yes, and I'm sure there is no "ignorance" in Sweden where, as another poster pointed out

child porn was legal until 1999.

I'd say Ignorance is rarely a "deliberate choice" and, if you're talking about this country,

it's simplistic to the point being ignorant in itself.

Ignorance is foisted on vulnerable populations -- people who are

working too hard at too many jobs at wages too low to have the time or resources

to do much else but survive.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #265)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:51 PM

269. I'm not understanding you. Are you saying that...

people who are

working too hard at too many jobs at wages too low to have the time or resources

to do much else but survive.

refers to the Swedish?

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #269)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:26 AM

282. No.

I'm saying that that is the position many Americans find themselves in.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:42 AM

241. Here's the sense in which the article is true:

There are dumb people everywhere. The Japanese have a reputation for being highly intelligent and well-educated, and it is true on a basic level. I've never met anyone who couldn't spell my name in katakana characters after I said it. I've never met anyone who can't make change. When some people asked me to explain fundamentalist Christianity and I said that, among other things, they don't believe in evolution, everyone thought this was incredible.

However, somebody is watching all those inane talk shows on Japanese TV, and if you know enough to understand overheard conversations, you will hear conversations that are so stupid it hurts your brain.

The difference is this: most politicians don't CATER TO stupidity. Voters don't elect politicians on the basis of "Cool, he's as dumb as I am!" There doesn't seem to be a deliberate attempt in the media to dumb people down.

Or take the UK. There are some really dumb people there, too, and really, only the best of their TV gets exported to this country. Even so, as a mystery fan, I'll take a British author over most American authors any day, because their mysteries show more complexity, social commentary, and depth of characterization, while the most popular Americans seem to be cranking out book-length scripts for CSI (yes, there are exceptions, but I'm thinking of the real popular authors). British TV dramas are more likely to feature actors who look like real people (compare the original "Prime Suspect" and the American knock-off), to explore moral and ethical dilemmas, and feel free to have sad or inconclusive endings. They get the best of our TV (The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men--and all except Mad Men comes from the subscription-only channels) unaltered, but in the U.S., the networks feel compelled to remake (and dumb down) foreign programming. Furthermore, a country with 1/5 the population of the U.S. supports not one, but three monthly classical music magazines. Look at their newspapers: Yes, the appallingly dumb and sensationalist tabloids that make the National Enquirer look like a Ph. D. thesis, but also really, really smart mainstream newspapers like The Guardian, The Independent, and The Times (conservative, but not stupid).

Or take Scandinavia. When I went as a teenager, I had to use the phrase "Snakker du engelsk" ("Do you speak English") a lot. The answer was "no" about half the time. On my trip last year, I stopped asking, because younger people in particular seemed almost offended that I had to ask. Most of them also speak a second language as well. Yet in this country, if you speak another language (even more so if you speak more than one), you're regarded as either some kind of a genius or a stupid immigrant who doesn't want to become a proper American. Even back in the 1960s, Maj Sjövall and Per Wahloo wrote a book called "The Man Who Went Up in Smoke," in which a Swedish police detective is sent to Hungary to trace the disappearance of a Swede. When he protests that he doesn't speak Hungarian, his supervisor assures him, "You'll get along fine with just English and German." Yes, the assumption that an ordinary police detective should speak two foreign languages.

Of course, not everyone in Scandinavia is smart, either, but I think the attitude is different in many other countries. Our pop culture says that being smart is a BAD thing and that smart people need to relax and become TV zombies and sports nuts.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #241)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:57 PM

253. I just recently watched the Helen Mirren Prime Suspect series, from the early 90s

to mid-oughts. I loved it. She was so, so, so flawed. It wasn't just the drinking and commandeering and compensatory stuff. She took credit for others' work without a thought. She constantly made promises she'd never keep. I can't imagine Hollywood creating such a real character. Yes, they gave us House, but he's more a classic curmudgeon.

Europe doesn't cater to Teh Stoooopids as is done in Merka.

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Response to valerief (Reply #253)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:38 PM

255. And they let Helen Mirren's character age, too

She looked like someone who drank and smoked too much and in general didn't take care of herself.

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Response to valerief (Reply #253)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:00 PM

287. Is this your first and perhaps only experience with Euro TV?.

'Cause if you think there is no "Stooopid" stuff on the other side of the pond,

you'll need to see a LOT more than Prime Suspect. My spouse and I own

a multi-directional DVD and watch a LOT of foreign television and film.

"Europe doesn't cater to Teh Stooopids as is done in Merka"?...No?

Then I guess it's done UNINTENTIONALLY due a similar type of laziness,

lack of talent and yes, "Stooopid", we often see here...duh.

I hate to disillusion you, but if you think everything coming out

of Europe is "brilliant", you clearly haven't seen even HALF the amount of Euro Crap

that I, as both a former Film Student and visitor to the UK have.

Hint: Experience more than one or two series before going off on a "gush".

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Response to whathehell (Reply #287)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:04 PM

289. Bwahahahaha! Well, I've been duly finger-wagged over an issue I really don't care about.

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Response to valerief (Reply #289)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:45 PM

295. Oh, I'm sure you "really don't care about" it..

now that you've been shown as utterly ignorant of it!

Sour grapes, anyone?

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Response to whathehell (Reply #295)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:14 PM

298. Wow, I didn't realize Euro TV was so damn important. Why it is, I don't know.

And I still don't care.

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Response to valerief (Reply #298)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:26 PM

299. Apparently it was "important" enough

when you mistakenly thought you had a point to make,

now, it seems, not so much.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #299)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:31 PM

300. My point about Prime Suspect being a good series? You don't think it was? nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #300)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:55 PM

307. No, I think your point was that

it was a high quality series, in your view, and therefore "representative" of

European, rather than American viewing fare.



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Response to whathehell (Reply #307)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:41 PM

311. Wow, you must really feel guilty about finger-wagging me over such a petty issue. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #311)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:22 AM

313. Wow. How did you arrive at such a bizarrely erroneous conclusion?

You see, I don't view it is a "petty issue" and feel no guilt at all, LOL.

All I can say is that you must feel really embarrassed by your continual "misses".

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Response to whathehell (Reply #313)


Response to whathehell (Reply #313)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:30 AM

315. Well, it looks like the youngster has blocked me, but here's my message.

You're going to so much effort to prove you're right and it's only tv.

Guilty people work at proving how right they are so they won't feel so guilty.

But that's okay. I figure you must be a young male, so you don't know any better.

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Response to valerief (Reply #315)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:58 AM

317. Wrong again...You didn't think it was "only tv" when you wrote a rather lengthy post

about Prime Suspect, assuming it, incorrectly, to be representative of the difference in

quality between U.S and Euro television and drama. Now that you've

been exposed as knowing virtually nothing about the issue, your first

line of defense was to: Pretend that this wasn't your point. That

didn't work, and so you're now claiming the whole subject to be "trivial" anyway, LOL

I'd say subtlety isn't your strong point, Val, because those are both obvious dodges

employed to avoid admitting being wrong.

P. S. This "youngster" is a 63 year old woman and, whatever your age,

it seems my critical thinking skills are in a lot better shape than yours.

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Response to valerief (Reply #315)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 10:01 AM

318. No, Val...I haven't blocked. you. Check and see if you're sending your post to the right person.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:44 PM

248. I never grow tired of *these* articles

 



And stupidity isn't limited to the US. Even the wise and noble swedes occasionally come up with spectacularly stupid ideas.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #248)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:30 PM

293. I don't even have to click on your link to know what you said is true. It's axiomatic.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:36 PM

271. Media propaganda

It should be priority one.

It won't be.

Chickens will vote for Col. Samders.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:56 AM

284. No, wait, I am an American.

Can I start over!?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:07 AM

325. Sadly, I partially agree with this article...

Especially the "caveat emptor" thing. Just look at what people like Glenn Beck do to people. It's so easy to prey on people's fear and distrust in this society. Too many people are inclined to indulge in outlandish conspiracy theories and simplistic emotive ideology because we have too short of an attention span to try and understand plain-old down-to-earth policy decisions or look for practical solutions to our nation's looming problems.

It's not just one side of the political spectrum either. Sorry if it hurts the left's feelings, but we have to own up to nonsense like the "911 truth" movement. I'm particularly disgusted with the apathy of my generation, the 35 and younger generation, particularly young middle-class white people. We've been so stupid to believe that we are powerless and elections don't matter. Too many people just want to be entertained and not bother with the actual leg-work required to affect real change. For too many people politics has become nothing more than an emotional indulgence. People constantly look for crap to be outraged over and stir up contemptuous tribalism but not bother trying to understand real complex issues. It does seem that things are finally starting to turn around, slowly. Or at least I can hope. It's sad but it seems like it's going to take more crisis and widespread suffering (as we had in the 1930s) to get people to really wake up.

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