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Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Friday, 26 October 2007
Idiot culture.
Topic: Misc.

A few months ago a contestant at the Miss Teen USA contest was mocked for an answer she gave in the Q&A section. Told that twenty per cent of Americans could not find the USA on a world map and asked why this was, she rambled incoherently:

Some TV executives felt sorry for her and invited her on to a breakfast show to give a better answer (after showing her in her bikini). The second time around she said that she doubted the accuracy of the survey but, if true, it showed the need for a greater emphasis on Geography in school. She was wrong. The real reason that so many Americans don't know the answer to the question is that they just don't care. There is no great penalty for being ignorant if you live in an idiot culture.

Before any British readers start pointing the finger though, I think they should read this next story. A Polish schoolboy who came to Britain two years ago, hoping to improve his education, has gone back to Poland, complaining that he was 'treading water' in the British school system.

I find this story interesting, because he doesn't just blame the system. His chief problem was the the apathy of the other students -

"The boys were childish, they didn't read papers and weren't interested in anything ... And the girls only talked about shopping and what they were going to do on Friday night... In Poland you have to know the names of all countries, even the rivers. But in England hardly anyone could place Kenya or Poland on the map. The teachers didn't test knowledge, only effort."

It's the idiot culture again. You can walk into a newsagent store here and find half a dozen magazines full of fluff about Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. How can people buy this garbage without embarrassment? Is it just an Anglo-Saxon thing or is it a feature of all prosperous countries - that general knowledge and current affairs are seen as irrelevant to people who have enough to live on?

To fix this, what's needed isn't more money thrown at education. It's the return of ridicule. We need to make fun of people who don't take an interest in the world around them. It would cost nothing.

I doubt any of this will interest Miss Teen South Carolina though. She's now living in a luxury appartment in Manhattan with a modelling contract that according to reports 'could earn her $30,000 per day'.,23663,22450632-10229,00.html

_ DY at 7:24 PM BST
Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007 7:35 PM BST
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 1:56 PM BST

Name: "anonymous"

It's the return of ridicule. We need to make fun of people who don't take an interest in the world around them. It would cost nothing.

Ah, mockery. A low form of wit. A day spent in front of the television, as you no doubt do, will show that UK TV is nothing but mockery. Dragging everyone down into the gutter.

You live in an idiot society because it is the product of everything you stand for. The something for nothing society. Why learn anything when you can blag, steal or gamble for it.

Friday, 2 November 2007 - 12:27 PM BST

Name: "Yaffle"

We all have our own favourite examples of this phenomenon – mine is a girl holding up a magazine and screeching across 30 ft of Sainsbury’s aisle ‘Jodie Marsh has got engaged!’ and her friend reacting by covering her open mouth as if her baby had just been diagnosed with meningitis. But as you say, this kind of moronism isn’t about stupidity. An otherwise bright woman with a highly-paid-job-in-the-city once told me that Heinrich Harrer, the hero of the film ‘Seven Years in Tibet’, had been in the SAS. I chuckled and pointed out ‘I think you mean the SS’. ‘They’re the same thing,’ she replied with a look that wouldn’t be fooled. In my third year at University, the girl who finished with the top first on our philosophy course thought that Cuba was an island in the Indian Ocean. Of missile crises she had heard nothing. Admittedly, her celebrity knowledge was also incomplete - she thought, for instance, that John Lennon’s most famous song was ‘Imogen’ – but she was much better briefed on contemporary celebs. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that if she has ever incited ridicule or suspicion, that it was more to do with her understanding of the works of Plato and Kant than her in-depth knowledge of Big Brother.


The current situation has nothing to do with a lack of people being made fun of. It is just that the victims are the wrong people. Or are they? There is something pathetic about being overly interested in things that are not within your remit, and I dare say that the average shop girl has a lot more in common with the women she reads about in the celebrity press than you or I have with the kings and prime ministers who feature in our favourite heavyweight biographies and Economist articles.


Besides, there’s more to Heat than you might think. Across several panels on the front cover of this week’s issue, ‘Big Brother b*tch’ Charley Uchea, is slapped around and dragged to the floor by her hair by a girl in a nightclub queue. What is remarkable about this is that her assailant manages to use both fists, employ a wrestling move and put her opponent down without dropping the cigarette hanging from her mouth. Even Clint Eastwood never tried that.

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