Prof. Wagstaff wrote:wolfsbane wrote:If you can't see a big difference between the TV of today and that of even a few decades ago, I can't help you.
That's because it's all relative.
TV has been called stupid and anti-intellectual since the moment it was first broadcast. You're just the latest in a long line of detractors. "A few decades ago" The Love Boat, The Sonny and Cher Show and Project U.F.O. were among the highest rated programs on TV. A couple decades earlier, we had Strike It Rich, Amos 'n' Andy and boxing courtesy of The Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts.wolfsbane wrote: If you can't see a big difference between the intelligence level of Zane Grey novels vs. American Idol or Jerry Springer, I can't help you.
Apples to oranges comparisons are rarely of any value, especially coming from the mouth of someone who accuses others of making straw man arguments.
I mean, you do know that American Idol is just the latest in a series of talent competitions that has existed since the earliest days of television, right? And what possible explanation can you provide for comparing Zane Grey to Jerry Springer? At least choose overlapping demographics!wolfsbane wrote: There used to be at least some semblance of argumentation in public discourse. Now it is all sound-bytes, talking points, and name-calling.
I apologize for misrepresenting you by substituting "nastier" for "stupider", but you're simply wrong about what political discourse was like in the past. I again call your attention to The Election of 1800:The campaign was bitter and characterized by slander and personal attacks on both sides. Federalists spread rumors that the Democratic-Republicans were radicals who would murder their opponents, burn churches, and destroy the country.
Those sure sound like talking points, sound bites (please note spelling, Mr. Literacy) and name-calling to me.In other words, even though you're wrong, you still think you're right. That's some reasoned, slow, deliberate thinking you've done there. I guess the books that disprove your assertion aren't on your reading list, eh?wolfsbane wrote:While there may not be a decline in literacy according to broad statistics about minimum levels throughout the entire populous, it's obvious enough in the places where it counts.
First, I think Zane Grey is a fair comparison. He was mainstream popular entertainment before television - probably the kind of thing a normal person would turn to in lieu of American Idol.
Yes, I am familiar with the election of 1800. I've read an entire book on it within the last year, in fact, not just a wikipedia article. I find it unbelievable that anyone would try to compare the level of discourse during the election between Jefferson and Adams to Bush vs. Gore. It's famous for the nastiness, but nothing as stupid as television commercials or the Bill O'Reilly show was influencing a large portion of voters. It's obvious you have never read even a single original piece of correspondence or other writing from anyone involved during that time period, or you would be quite embarassed.
As for the last, yet another deliberately obtuse misrepresentation. It's obvious you don't like me, but I can't see why you would let this spur you on into this kind of self-indicting intellectual dishonesty. I explained this. The topic here is the deterioration of political discourse, the overall level of cultural intelligence, and the relative merits of books, movies, and television as media.
Results like the one cited have to do with basic literacy in the overall population. We're not talking about whether a few percent more people can read the classifieds. In fact, the same study cited shows a substantial decline in literacy among college graduates. Higher levels of literacy is obviously what I was talking about:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 00701.html