It is unfortunate that stupidity is painless. A raw emotion, a protection of the ego that is absorbed by the general public. It is not only one group that remains ignorant and those seeds were placed long ago. Setting standards does limit stupidity and promotes healthier group objections towards a group or individuals but also limits the freedoms of that group or individuals. Simply, you can be as stupid as you want in America. You can be dumb all day and in some interactions it is encouraged. There must be a brick wall or a huge hole to end one’s journey towards higher levels of stupidity. Nope. Our American Exceptionalism hard at work.
Remember when you were little and loved a kid’s show? A toy maker would throw in 15 minutes of commercials selling a toy version of the main characters for every half hour cartoon. There was always one kid that had the toy first and that first Christmas a half a dozen more. The toy went on adventures through the neighborhood back when kids played outside. Our imagination gave us a way of looking at adult conflicts without the negative feedbacks that might occur from such conflicts. A flying hero toy might be thrown over the house to fight the bad guy in the backyard. He might be buried under a tree fighting “in a cave”. Any episode immediately followed up with an outdoor adventure recreating the episode.
It wasn’t stupid. It was IMAGINATION.
Now. Though, it is stupid. Loyalty to a show does not promote the outward expression of physical adventure. It’s monetized the viewer into a single expression of how many times they saw a show. The value of the viewer and the show itself has diminished to a single transaction that benefits the show. The longer I sit consuming a show the more the show benefits through the pay per view system new media has created. Every episode played is an advertisement viewed and wealth to the network and the show creator at the expense of the child viewer. In the extreme, the child is now fatter and filled with heroic nonsense that hasn’t been adjusted to their abilities. A chance arises to overlay this heroic notion and someone dies.
We’re back to stupidity and the value of American Exceptionalism. The blamelessness of certain media on obesity and shaping this atmosphere of just using everyone for a few pennies a viewing. Which was the price one paid a hundred years ago at Nickelodeons lining the sidewalks. There was no advertisers pushing products on children. Pushing every way to market a brand over a social responsibility to limit stupidity. In another example, a punk rocker wrote a song promoting violence towards women, it was popular. It wasn’t until he saw a dozen young men in the audience screaming every word that he realized the impact of his creation. He stopped performing it live but didn’t own the song so it remained a hit for a while. Maybe the young men would never act on the violent themes of the song towards women. They wouldn’t be emboldened by the lyrics and merely used the music like we did as children with our toys. To act out certain aggressions in an imagined setting that’s safe from repercussions. It did spook the artist enough to want to destroy his creation for good. Other rock artists have defended the limitations for decency on their art as a threat to their freedom of speech. Sure, there is some irony that an artist’s free speech is at the expense of a fan’s free expression of that speech. The value, comes at the devaluing of social norms. Raising or lowering the artificial bar of what we have valued as a group.
We think of stupidity as a group or individuals but all roads connect to stupidity at some point. The natural progression of an emotion becoming an action.
We don’t value what we think we value. To be stupid, is universal and an interesting concept. Emotionless and also full of expressing all ranges of one’s emotions. I still don’t have a TV. I still don’t have a DVR but, that doesn’t stop the ads or the emphasis on certain ideas through media becoming slang. Used as self expression, and a part of one’s identity. Ever notice, there’s no bad guy comic book movies? Where’s the “justice” in the Justice League? How am I to “marvel” at Marvel? Has that polarizing kind of storytelling shaped our beliefs in common culture? I don’t believe there’s anyway it wouldn’t because it’s more than storytelling. It’s what we value.