Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dumbed Down by the Mass Media

Why is the mass media so full of inane, mind-numbing, "news"? We get an incessant barrage of reports on Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Nicole Richie. It makes me sick. WTF do I care about a couple of ditzy girls with too much money and time and not enough brains?
Just try a search of "Paris Hilton":
And compare the number of hits to "debt ceiling":

What do you think will affect you more, Paris Hilton finding God in prison, or your share of the national debt being increased by $3,000?

A few years ago it was Laci Peters dominating the headlines for months. One pregnant lady gets murdered - it's front page news... everyday for the next several weeks. There was one time during all this, that there was a big earthquake IIRC in India, and lots of people died. Incredibly, it was on page 2, while the long dead and bloated Laci was on the front page. No disrespect for Laci...

If a plane crashes in Brazil, it's big news. I'm not saying it isn't news.

But, a jumbo jet's worth of people die everyday in the 3rd world due to hunger or lack of basic medical care. Something to think about.

Regarding dumbing down, I see it every day while driving. Not only do I see bad driving everyday (as anyone with a pulse can get a driver's license), but the traffic rules are severely dumbed down. No consideration for flow. Traffic laws are a particular peeve of mine.

For example, in no other country have a seen so many stop signs. And all behold the uniquely American abomination, the 4-way stop sign. For those of you who haven't driven anywhere else in the world... most stop signs can be replaced by yield signs. That means, cars on the other street have right-of-way. You approach with caution and continue if the other driver wouldn't have to slow for you, but stop if needed. Come on. We have stop signs at intersections that are lightly travelled, and from which you can see in all directions. There are 11 stop signs each way on my 3.5 mile daily commute. 11! That's one every ~0.3 miles! I reckon, every single one can be replaced by yield signs. The only reason for their presence I can think of is that a very, very, low common denominator is accounted for. A denominator IMO that should NOT be given a driver's license in the first place, one that is too stupid to understand the concept of yielding. And the effect on the rest of us is, we're treated like schoolchildren, or we turn into criminals by saving gas and time by doing the "California roll" through them.

Then there's the ridiculously low speed limits, which deserve an entire blog on its own....

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