Dumb Culture, Dumb Schools, Dumb People


If you can’t keep up the culture, you can’t keep anything. You can’t have a republic of dummies. Know-nothings are not able to maintain a modern economy.

But Scholastic Books seems intent on applying the art of bonsai to the human mind. The bonsai artist creates little tiny trees. The cultural bonsai artist creates little tiny minds.

You know you’re getting there when adult crossword puzzles have to be taken off the market because nobody out there is able to do them.

I’ve been reading the first two books in Scholastic’s Wings of Fire series. These fantasy novels, pitched to Young Readers, are all about dragons. Dragons are, we would think, very different from human beings. But the dragons in these books say things like:

“Ew, that’s gross!” “Awwwwww, how cute!” “You guys.” A sadistic monster character is described as “mean.” And here’s an immortal line of dialogue from Book #2, The Lost Heir: “Would you like me to spell out ‘DRAGONETS WUZ HERE’ in giant rocks?”

WUZ? In all caps? Say it ain’t so. Any moment now, I’m going to wake up and find out none of this has happened, it was just a bad dream… Nope, the book’s still there in front of me. Still packed to the brim with stupid, cliche-choked dialogue guaranteed to keep a child’s mind perpetually locked into its 11th year, unable to grow, unable to develop. A mind subjected to the art of cultural bonsai.

And it goes on for as long as its victims live. The dumbing-down of this generation never stops. Whether it’s high schools handing out diplomas to students who can barely sign their own names, or colleges sucking up five or six years’ worth of tuition to give poor, debt-saddled “graduates” degrees in thumb-sucking, Star Wars Studies, Women’s Studies, or Licking Chalk off the Blackboard, our pop culture and our schools never stop binding the roots, pruning back the branches, stunting the trunk–to produce adults who think like 11-year-olds, support Obama, and can’t do crossword puzzles because they’re just too hard.

People who watch the Kardashians.

God help us. Deliver us. Save us.

14 comments on “Dumb Culture, Dumb Schools, Dumb People

  1. You mention “high schools handing out diplomas to students who can barely sign their own names” — but considering that most schools aren’t teaching cursive writing any more, you may have been optimistic about the “barely” part.

  2. It’s astounding just how bad it has gotten. I find that a lot of people I run into have the attention span of a goldfish, these days. it’s truly sad.

  3. When being taught to write, the teacher screamed at me for using my left hand and put me on a stool facing the wall. I was ambidextrous at the time, so I could write with the right hand, but after this incident, I always wrote with my left hand. Eventually,I was no longer ambidextrous… I mention this because of the memory this article provoked. The “dumbing down” is from down-and-dumb teachers who always existed. It got worse when the bureaucrats became dumb too.

    1. Thank you, Lee. Very kind of you. I admitted this to only one person in my life and got a laugh. No one has ever said what you just did. I never cried about it – before. Thank you again.

    2. When I was in grade school, there were several teachers who shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near children. This was before the crazed ideologues took over the teaching profession: these people were just plain mean and stupid.

    3. I got my “crazed ideologue” in grad school – a physics professor who hated females. Didn’t bother me. it was mutual.

    4. P.S.–Ambidextrousness is a rare gift which should be an advantage–and is, in certain fields of activity. Y’know who first said so? Homer! In “The Iliad.”

    5. Excuse me while I sit down and read it, again. Didn’t remember this or just didn’t get it…

  4. I was teaching in an elementary resource room today with lots and lots of books. There was a series by Dav Pilkey about Captain Underpants (the Principal) and two delinquent kids who did all kinds of mischief (much of it gtoss). There were space aliens in it who turned the school into zombies. My students were able to read these books and make reports on them for AR credit.

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