Sarah Palin’s Bridoplasty
Last I looked, this shirt was available at Zazzle.com, whose image this is.
The title of this one is not a brand new reality series. At least, come next season, I really HOPE it’s not. But I think it’s a darn good lead-in for me to kvetch a little bit about my home culture here in the good ol’ USA.
Look, I didn’t come here to just flat-out trash rude, crude, and low-brow entertainment. I actually LIKE low-brow entertainment, in moderation. Though I must admit, despite the title, I have not watched either Sarah Palin’s Alaska or the Bridoplasty thing. The commentary I’ve seen from others on them is puke-inducing enough. But I do like a good dirty joke from time to time, a pathetically corny pun, an episode of South Park, or a dirty-mouthed roast.
What I’m really getting at is the anti-intellectual vein that runs through American society, and seems to be growing stronger and more vocal with each passing year. When I grew up, much like comedian Bill Hicks, I too was asked “why are you reading?” Not what. Why. That disturbs me. What, it’s bad to read, to seek new ideas, to think? Well, yes. In some minds it is. I was called ‘Einstein’, and it was not a compliment, but an insult. I once had a teacher who called me ‘Professor’. It was a sneer.
I’m not really sure where it comes from. There’s always an impulse to distrust those who know more than you do. After all, knowledge is power. I suppose to some the easy antidote to that power is to make sure that nobody has it, to discourage those who seek it, to denigrate and pull down those who have found it. And of course, we are a very lawyer-heavy society. Everybody knows what lawyers are. They’re the smarty-pants who talk circles around real people and trick them out of their money and homes. Lawyers, bankers, police, politicians, and the guy who wrote the fine print at the bottom of your credit card statement that screwed you out of 35 bucks for nothing last month.
Damn. After that paragraph, even I am starting to not like those wiseasses and their dangerous, nasty, tricky brains.
So maybe the problem isn’t brains. Maybe the solution isn’t avoiding ‘highbrow’ activities like reading or listening to NPR. Maybe the problem is a lack of ethics, a tendency to think that our capitalist society won’t work right if we show a little humanity to each other. And a lack of ethics, a willingness to lie to, mislead, and hurt others for personal gain, makes a person dangerous even if they’ve never read a book in their lives.