Friday, November 18, 2022

The Lumpenproletariat Explosion


Anyone who does this for more than two minutes per day
can rightly be regarded as a thoroughgoing moron.
Every single time. There, I said the obvious.

Amidst a breakroom discussion with co-workers the other day, I had occasion to pause at the blank looks from most of them regarding a cinematic moment in Scent Of A Woman. (For Common Core grads, as I'll illustrate, it's the movie - phenomenally good, btw - for which Al Pacino won the Best Actor Oscar in 1993). It's not exactly trench warfare at Verdun, Magna Carta, or even Stonehenge, let alone the late Pleistocene Era, but it may as well have been for the vacant stares going on.

Al Who...?

"Wait a minute, show of hands: For how many of you is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1993 "before your time"?"

Every single hand in the room but one.

Christ on a pogo stick. I grew up with average kids who knew the plots of TV shows from 10 years before they were born, because they were still re-running them every day. I'm even pretty sure SOAW might have been on TV a few million times since '93 too.

I'm conversant on both cultural phenomena like movies and music, and actual historical events that happened long before I was born, even long before my grandparents were born, and it's not a rare feat, I swear. FFS, they make kids take history for about 10 years, even in the idiot academies that pass for public schools.

Or so you might have thought. You have to wonder WTF they cover in those classrooms, but quite frankly I'm afraid to look. I'm pretty sure that the Kardashians are an AP Class for college credit.

Apparently, if it didn't happen on Netflix or Twitter, or since 2010, it never happened.

This is why Jay Leno could ask basic grade school questions at malls and on college campuses and never fail to find 99% dumbasses, from wall-to-wall, every other night for over twenty years on The Tonight Show. At this point, having been off it for 8 years, it's a wonder anyone under 40 even knew who he was when the story came out last week that he was injured in his garage. And if anyone did the same bit now, no one would get it, because they wouldn't know the answers either. Unless they asked their grandfathers. Which is as it should be for people who think Rosetta Stone is just a language app for their computer, because those are the Top Ten search results on Google. ("Wait; you mean there's an actual Rosetta Stone? Did they name it after the app?" Kill me now.)

That we have suffered to produce such utterly but proudly ignorant and wholly uncurious generations (plural!) of lackwits, and raise them past majority, completely unaware of anything that doesn't come up on their YouTube queue, is a national scandal.

But clearly, I've reached the awkward age: not as old as old people, and not as blisteringly dumb as young people. 

For the 95% of the Baby Duck Generations to whom it applies: Get off your goddamned phones, and crack a friggin' book, FFS! Life started before you were born, and some of that stuff is actually kind of important. Like, even more important than Taylor Swift's new album. For reals. Crazy, right?

Yes, I'm shooting Baby Ducks in a barrel. Because they're not going to shoot themselves, however much we might wish otherwise.


Anonymous said...

"Scent Of A Woman" was a great movie and Pacino played his part very well. The speech given in assembly hall near the end of the movie should be watched and listened to closely.

1993 - that was the 1st year I became employed here where I am typing this. This April 30 is where I started work 30 years ago and I will be 60 years old, so half my life will be spent here. Yeah, I'm pretty effing old. But I enjoy the place and will hate to leave when its my time to go.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, they have better/easier access to more information than we ever did. BUT THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW, and they've not been taught the art of critical thinking, so they can't ask the right questions, and hence remain ignorant.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, everybody knows that Rosetta Stone is the convent-mate of Sister Mary Elephant :) :) :)


On The Beach said...

Shopped recently at a local store. Adult beverages were included. Here in Washington State (Commiefornia North), if the cashier can see you are old, they don't need to see ID. They just ask for your birthdate.

I gave the young lady my birthdate and then said, "Back in the horse and buggy days." She says, "Yeah, right." I said, "I rode with Custer." Her response was, "Who's Custer?" I said, "General Custer. The Indian Wars. The Little Bighorn. The last words I said to him were, 'I have to return to the fort sir, my horse has thrown a shoe.'" She says, "I don't know anything about history."

The guy in line behind me was laughing his ass off. He told her he was actually related to Custer. She stomps her foot down and yells out, "I DON'T KNOW WHO THAT IS!"

Anonymous said...

Good rant. Every text takes over 2 minutes on my old flip phone (2 or 3 a week). The Ignorati are legion.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people, like my self, know a lot about some things and nothing about other things. I don't know a single rap "singer" or a rap song". Until the news this morning I had never seen Taylor Swift's picture and I don't know anything about her or have heard her music. I know nothing about women's products and clothes (except that they wear them) There are apps on phones I never heard of and then there is twitter which I have never used and a few more I think that I couldn't name. But I can tell you what's wrong with your car inside of two minutes with it. I have never watched the Oscars and those other things they do that I can't even name because I have so little interest in them. The only actor I could name is Clint Eastwood. I can name 30+ Classical musicians and a number of their pieces but cannot think of the name of a single popular singer today... Except for ... what's his name... ahhhh... damn can't even think of this singers name from the 50's and 60' Oh Well.

Linda Fox said...

It's truly sad. I've often thought that a great YouTube channel could be made that basically informs kids of the MANY events/time periods they have little knowledge of.
Maybe Titled "What Your Grandparents know that might be useful to know".

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

Great movie. Watched it several times.

Survivormann99 said...

I am what just about anyone would categorize as being old. In my mind, I am 50, and, "by the grace of God," I believe that my physical condition is no worse than it was then.

What you have touched on, Aesop, is a situation that I began to notice more and more around 10 years ago. At the office, I made a comment to a couple of the secretaries about the Cuban Missile Crisis. I might as well have been trying to discuss Quantum Mechanics with them. Their defense for not knowing about it was, "That was before my time." My response was, "For chrissakes, World War II was before MY time but I know about it."

Jesse Waters made his mark on Fox News with his man-on-the street interviews. Even the segment he conducted at Harvard Yard amazed me with the absolute ignorance of his interviewees. His successor with these interviews interviewed young people around the 4th of July this past year. The number of interviewees who could not identify our country's opponent in the Revolutionary War was shocking--and depressing.

Anonymous said...

A good part of why the young are so ignorant of our past is they stopped teaching Geography and Civics in public schools. Teaching Common Core is putting the cart before the horse.

It isn't so much the fault of the teacher - a lot of the blame is for the curriculum which is forced to be taught.

Sherm said...

Okay, fine. But then again, just how much did Amazon have to pay for naming rights for that river?

Ole Grump said...

Any one putting Candy Crush on a device accessible to children should be prosecuted for child abuse.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I have to comment, at the risk of being "that guy." Being a millennial (yeah, a conservative millennial - we exist!) with an advanced history degree, I have to say that 1) the criticism of the the younger generations is quite accurate and 2) the older generations know American history fairly well, but know very little about anything else. I think about 95%+ of all the references I've read and heard about the "Fall of Rome" are so far off that they aren't even wrong, as the phrase goes (litmus test: What was the capital of the Roman Empire when it fell? It is, of course, a trick question...)

So, yeah, I think that while the older generations have a better grasp of history, at least American history, the overall level is pretty low among the population at large.

Grey Fox

jack said...

@Grey Fox

What was the capital of the Roman Empire when it fell?

Which one?

Anonymous said...

I used to watch youtube music while "logged in" as my girlfriends teenage kids just to annoy them. They did not appreciate my selected musical education for them. Led Zepp, The Who, Cream, Steely Dan, Etc, which would regularly pop up as suggestions on them afterwards This was not an exercise in getting them to sit through a 2 hour old movie or read the Federalist Papers, just some good listening in my estimation. It was beyond simple lack of exposure to anyone who could actually sing or play a musical instrument with skill, they were completely unwilling to entertain anything not originating with their own generation. My coclusion is they are packleds and slave material.

Night driver said...

Linda Fox, start with Sabaton you tube stuff (Yeah they ARE kind Metalish). They actually TEACH the HISTORY attached to their songs. And they do a DAMN FINE JOB of it.

PLUS as you acclimate to their Metal-ish music, you MIGHT develop an understanding as to why SO MAY of our kids come back from the Sand Box OR the Rock Pile (Afghanistan) with such an attachment to Metal rock.

Which was something the recent flop version of JAG tried to illustrate with one of their more main characters as she came back from an AFFY tour where she had to take command of the unit she was in. After doing the things she had trained to do, she developed a serious taste for cortical-shredding metal music. It was how she handled the command demands AND the killing.

And, yeah, the FIRST one costs a LOT, but, after THAT bullet goes down range, the rest get cheaper and cheaper.

Even now (YEARS after I stopped being a Paramedic) there are days when I eschew my Country wailings and go find a cortical-shredding Metal Rock station. We have a few in CLE.

Jonathan H said...

When I was in school in the 90's, the only European history I had in school was in German class.
We spent years and years on Revolutionary and pre Civil War history but only a few days on everything post Civil War.
I knew alot because I read it on my own, but I felt like the school was intentionally ignoring any part of history that was relevant or foundational for modern life. I assume it has gotten worse since then...

Unknown said...

I was teaching a class at a University in Philadelphia in ~ 1978 on the anniversary of JFK's death/murder. Like many people I remembered where I was when I first heard it (Ft Bragg, NC). Another instructor also remembered where he was as well. I/we asked one of the students where she was when she first heard about Kennedy's assassination - "She said 5th grade history class!" It's the same thing with 9/11.
There are those that don't remember history or learn from it BUT now IT ISN'T TAUGHT.

There are are those that don't study history and are doomed to repeat it, but there are those that study history and have to stand by while everybody else repeats it.