Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Idiocy on the March

My favorite examples:

  • Creationism in all its forms
  • Scientology
  • The fans of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly
  • The fact that Americans as a group actually spend every cent they make and then some
  • Religious fundamentalism in general and End Times predictions in particular
  • The Iranian government
  • Holocaust deniers
  • Arena football
  • My own country's government
  • Pet psychics
  • "Get rich through real estate!" scams
  • Extended warranties
  • Giving priority to sports and band instead of academics in our schools and communities
  • Crystal meth
  • People who still think Bush is an honest man
  • Sending money to TV preachers
  • Street gang chic
  • Giving a rat's ass about anything connected to Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher, or David Spade
  • Thinking American Idol is more important than politics and current events
  • Interest-only mortgages
  • Smoking, despite 40 years of warnings
  • Virtually anything on VH1 or MTV
  • Listening to Dick Morris, Joe Klein, or Chris Matthews
  • The Neo-Confederate movement
  • Sen. George Allen, the stupidest, most malicious member of the Senate, and therefore the Far Right's Dream Candidate for 2008
  • Paying $6 for a cup of coffee
  • People and Us magazines
  • 90% of all radio
  • Actual real live Communists (not you, Jon!)
  • Living on fast food
  • Putting up with television shows being interrupted every eight minutes for three minutes of commercials

OK, I'm done ranting for a while.


Francisco Anonymouso, Jr. said...

As an individual who makes a living from the work I do for MTV Networks (of which both MTV and VH1 are a part of), I have to concur with this statement. At times, my co-workers and I do feel like we work for a branch of The Ministry of Truth, contributing to the culture of stupidity, destroying the past, seducing the attention of the public from the important matters it needs to be aware of. The catch is that it can be awfully interesting and fun to create the toxins which are poisoning our culture.

"My Super Sweet 16" (a show devoted to exploiting the selfishness and greed of rich, asshole debutantes) and "Yo Momma" (30 minutes of people standing face-to-face insulting one another) are possibly the two most disgusting cultural supplements I could ever envision a teenager ingesting. And they do so. Rabidly. Straight porno would be less harmful. I mean that.

VH1 is amazing. They are able to take an enormous amount of pre-existing, typically public domain content, and with tiny budgets, repackage it as dozens of highly addictive bits of programming fluff which rake in millions in ad revenue. I'm not saying this is a good thing, only that's it's fascinating.

I'm tempted to try and defend their current intentions by saying how there's a definite trend amongst the people I deal with to push for a return to the network's musical roots, but I know it's not going to compensate for the damage which has already been done.

Still, unlike all the straight-faced, so-called "news" programs, at least their intentions & priorities are obvious. Much of MTV's programming is designed to be stupid, repulsive and base, whereas your average news program IS stupid, repulsive and base, but it disguises itself as something reputable & intelligent. In small doses, MTV's type of content is harmless. Only the most irresponsible parents would allow their kids to ingest it in large chunks.

Admittedly, even the parents with the best of intentions have their work cut out for them, given the fact that the content is available to kids (who are typically more tech savvy than their parents) on demand via an ever increasing number of devices, and the marketing of these programs, backed by tremendous sums of money, becomes smarter and more invasive every day.

Anja Maria said...

Absolutely fascinating.

I watched MTV when I was in Germany because I was homesick and wanted to hear some spoken English. Instead of alleviating that, though, the programs reminded me that the main export of American teen culture is drivel. Billion-dollar quality drivel, I guess, and we're renowned for it, but it's still a little depressing.

Joseph said...

Francisco makes a number of depressingly valid and insightful comments. There's nothing I can add except to shake my head at what we are becoming.

Mehal said...

I have yet to see a school that puts band at a higher priority than its academic program, except when band is viewed as an accessory to the football team. Do you know of one?

Joseph said...

Yes--Lincoln-Way Community High School, where marching band members are allowed to devote >40 hours a week (and sometimes) more in season to band--more time than they spend in school. Also, the schedule is (reputedly) built around keeping a bloc of time open for band.

Lance said...

"Get rich through real estate!" scams

I'm certain that when you say that, you are excluding the genius of multimillionaire Tom Vu.

Come to his "seminuh. " My fren, he will show you how to make "millyons."

What are his "three little words" which will change you life? I'll save you the trip:


Lance said...

And furthermore, even though he's nowhere on the list, a special place in this comment thread deserves to be reserved for my all-time favorite celebrity psychic weirdo, Gary Spivey, a man so fabulously, flamboyantly fucking strange that adequate adjectives for once escape me.

What could POSSIBLY be said about his "hair" that has not been said already? Nothing. Absofuckinlutely NOTHING. Why? Because it originates from a dimension only hypothesized by science.

Joseph said...

That's the funniest fucking thing I've ever seen.

Mehal said...

I'm not sure about LW marching band program acting as you say. As I remember, we practiced 40 hrs a week only during the summertime. During the school year, it was 4 hrs during the weekdays and 10 hrs on weekends, which is a far cry from what you claim.

As far as the schedule goes, it built towards allowing people to take place in concert band and is a fairly common practice in all schools, not just LW. If any popular class like AP Seminar or Calculus conflicted with band, that would put students in a pretty tough spot. Academics and music are very important to many students and its not fair to make them select one over the other.