The dumbing down of America coincided with the spread of the audio virus people came to know as Rush Limbaugh. I shall not recount his generally misanthropic philosophy or cite specific instances of his hate-filled rants.
Instead, I want to quote the late Carl Sagan and what he foresaw: “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.” - Carl Sagan, 1995.
The only thing I would add is Limbaugh bore a strange resemblance to D.C. Stephenson, the one-time head of the KKK in Indiana who lost power after he was convicted of homicide of an Indianapolis woman.
As usual, Mark Small is making outdated arguments. I'm still trying to figure out what decade Mark is living in. He still thinks world overpopulation is going to lead to mass starvation and American cities are choked by smog, which were concerns in the 1970s. So, I'm going to guess, much like Groundhog Day, Mark is constantly reliving 1975.
Back when there were just three or four networks and people got their information from 30 minute news segments, the 10 second average sound bite was an important limitation on communication. Now, however, we have several 24/7 cable news channels (who are clamoring for longer content) and a wide assortment of other methods to get around the former sound bite restriction. Politicians can even use social media to communicate directly to constituents and potential voters. One of the good things about modern communications is that your ability to convey information isn't limited to 10 second sound bites anymore.
I hope that while he is constantly reliving 1975, Mark is also reliving the 1975 baseball season. What a great year that was!
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