Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Controversial!

Wow, am I ever glad I don't have time for daytime TV. This mess hit the blogosphere like a tidal wave today, and it's everywhere. Everywhere, I tell you!

Quick-is the world round or flat?

If you answered, "I don't know-it's something I've never really cared to think about," you could be a host on a daytime TV talkshow! Yeah, really.

And then you and your like-minded friends could talk about how having a realistic conceptual picutre of the world around you would really get in the way of your parenting. Yeah, really.

Now, it's true that a lot of humanity never travels more than 50 miles from home and potentially doesn't really need to know that the sun has been traveling around the earth for the entire 6 thousand years of its existence. But gosh. This gal would have to take her kid to the library if he asked her about the basic nature of the planet on which he lives. Yeah, really.

As I get older, I get crankier when I encounter people who have decided that they get by just fine on their intuitions and opinions thank you very much. No facts needed, please don't clutter things up with logic either. Is this worse since the Cult of Oprah, or has it always been this way? And do we have hope for the future?

More importantly, if I walk too far in any one direction, will I fall off the planet? I mean, what if I get lost on the way to the library and fall right off the planet before I can get to the answer?

8 comments:

Roni said...

And splatter on the blogoshpere it should. This woman definitely deserves all the mocking she gets. The author of the blog you linked to is spot on in saying that Fundamentalist Science needs all the bad press it can get.

I'm willing to go a step further and say that network/daytime television needs all the bad press it can get. This goes beyond Jerry Springer, the MC of that modern Three Ring Circus. On some level TV networks need to own up to their affect on easily-influenced minds. No doubt this talk-show host suckled from the TV teat as a kiddo. It's about time networks assume a shred of responsibility for the health of the nation and at least value intelligence. They probably won't get away with teaching 'values' per se; someone significant portion of the population would jump up and down claiming bias. But surely we could agree that functional reasoning and a broad general knowledge base qualifies as a National Value.

Peter said...

Sigh. I saw this on Reddit. I hope this neo-stupid movement is a passing fad. I think things are generally on an upward trend.

Take religion. Religion seems to be on a slight upward curve right now. I think it's because more people are thinking of the debate in terms of religion v. non-religion. Rather than it persisting because nobody dared think differently, I think most of the religionists are simply being contrarian. I think we're going to live through another few decades of football booster support of religion. Then we'll all wake up one day and wonder when it became just an anachronistic element of the "stupid ages" like slavery, women's non-suffrage, and bell-bottom pants.

People have already started rejecting "mainstream" religion in droves. Many of them have decided they need something else wacky to believe in: Scientology, chakras, The Secret, homeopathy... you name it.

Hey, I remember when I concluded definitively that I wasn't christian. I went through a period of about 45 minutes where even I considered rastafarianism because I liked the name and Bob Marley music. I was too young to even know that only stoners can get into rasta heaven.

Then I looked at hinduism, buddhism, and a bunch of the other belief systems you can adopt wholesale. Despite the fact that eastern religions are way cooler than western monotheistic religions (where are are the kung-fu jesuits?), I couldn't turn a blind eye to their irrationality either. For a while I agreed with dad that the bahais' positive traits outweighed their belief in a god. Plus, weren't they pantheists? "God is in everything and nothing, everywhere and nowhere." Deep. Even if their concept of god involved nothing supernatural, nothing beyond what is provable, then I could easily agree with it. So then, why are we praying to the cosmos?

No, the younger generations will dabble in "stupid" for a while and ultimately decide that no variety of stupid is demonstrably better than any other variety of stupid. I'm hopeful for the future.

To come full circle on this, just remember that, in the past, this person on The View would have held her beliefs quietly, married her cousin, and passed on her private world view to her genetically disadvantaged offspring. Now, she can broadcast her world view to like-minded idiots and then get roasted on the interwebs. We can truly thank Al Gore for that.

Peter said...

I realize my last post might offend some of your religious readers. I do genuinely despise the irrational parts of religion and what I feel they are doing / have done to our world. However, I have taken one christian lesson to heart: Hate the sin, love the sinner.

The crusty old grandpappy said...

I'm with Peter and Roni. religion is a way for people to be intellectually lazy and let their gut and any loud mouth do their thinking for them.

(did you mean to say the earth has been circling the sun for 6 thousand years? I was more in the neighborhood of 6 billion. What is a decimal point after all?)

Peter said...

Crusty old grandpappy: Thanks for the vote of confidence. As for the quip about the earth being 6000 years old, I think that was just my sister being brilliantly subtle.

SWE said...

Yay! An actual comment thread!

If you'd like a good laugh, check out
http://thestubborncurmudgeon.blogspot.com/
and read the Sheri Shepherd IQ test.

And yes, bro, I was being subtle. Because as we all know, the earth is only 6 thousand years old and the sun has been traveling around it for that entire time. ;)

Peter said...

swe: Wahoo! Isn't a lively blog comment thread fun? By the way, I love your lego avatar.

cacophonyx said...

People don't ask enough questions. Why is that?

:D

Great post, Heather - a moment in television history I'd have missed if I hadn't read your blog :)
jX