Friday, October 15, 2010

Fear and Loathing Low Expectations in Las Vegas

Apparently, last night we had yet another Republican declared the "winner" of a debate because he or she -- she, in this case -- managed not to respond to any questions by drooling, dropping trou, and doing the Funky Chicken.

"Before they


Oops. Sorry. Wrong picture. Try this one instead:

Sharron Angle"Fourteen million dollars in one quarter. Raised
by a candidate who carries on like a mental patient."

Continues Mark Warren:

We need to at last call this for what it is: This is America in retrograde, thoroughly engaged in a spasm of exaltation of the stupid and the mediocre. Now, there is a significant cohort of the population that recoils at this notion, and, led by its priestess Sarah Palin, calls this the viewpoint of an American "elite." Well, yes. We have always been called to greatness — we have always been exhorted to excellence. America is an elite nation, and it didn't get that way by being led by people who didn't know that Africa was a continent and not a country. We did not become the greatest power the world has ever known, the shining city on a hill, by being determinedly dumber than the generation that came before, by surrendering (for long) to our most vile nativist passions, or allowing ourselves to be led (for long) by the morons and the fearful. People who wander into each new day, misunderstanding it as thoroughly as they had the day before, did not make this country great. In fact, it is this kind of ignoramus that has always — always — been nothing but a drag on American progress.

Whole thing is worth reading, even as it will only make you sadder about the next couple of years.

(pic. sources: Joe Dator/New Yorker | Las Vegas Gleaner | Heather Roddy)

Oh, HST, where are you when we need you?


Don McArthur said...

The vast majority of our population is being rendered useless by automation, digitalization and unfettered economic globalization. They know this, and they know the cutoff - anyone with an IQ less than about 115 has nothing to offer that anyone is going to be willing to pay good money for.

It is utterly predictable that the victims of this profound structural employment change will in turn disparage intellectual competence and seek as champions those who stand for the premise that "being smart isn't important." What else are they going to do? Embrace their failure and ruin as just the way things are? Congratulate the winners of the 'lucky sperm' contest on their well-deserved good fortune?

This has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats, nor with conservatives and liberals, though both sides are attempting to take advantage of it.

P.S. - things are only going to get worse as technology advances. For a clue as to the societal costs of large population segments being rendered useless, visit your local urban public housing complexes.

Don McArthur said...

In fact, I dug up this year-old 'Gaping Void' item because I think it perfectly captures the structural change in employment we are facing:

"I was on the phone to an old friend of mine, a guy in his late for ties, who was born and bred in Michi gan, and is living there now. He was telling me about his uncle, who, about four deca des ago, got his highschool sweetheart preg nant. So ins tead of going off to college, he found him self with a new wife, a child on the way, and an assembly-line job at Gene ral Motors. But even though this situa tion clip ped his wings con si de rably, he still ended up having a nice life in the end, with a home, a big yard, two cars, a steady paycheck, wee kends fishing or hun­ting deer, and vaca tions in Hawaii every year or so. “The days where a blue collar guy like my uncle could have a nice life without doing much,” my friend said, “those days are gone. Gone fore ver.”

And in the back of my mind, I’m thin king the same is star ting to hap pen to white collar guys more and more, as well. But it’s not quite out in the open yet. Society’s not quite ready to have that con ver sa tion."

Gaping Void