Neil Postman’s observation that we are “amusing ourselves to death”

… was hardly a radical insight; it’s nothing new.

Leaving aside his indebtedness to McLuhan for previously establishing the framework within which such ideas could be treated both academically and (appropriately enough) popularly

… Postman made direct reference to Huxley’s Brave New World, thereby disclaiming the novelty of his proposition.

But he could just as well have referred to humanity’s historical record as our literary one: never mind the Twentieth Century, back in ye oldene dayes ¹ the Romans would fend off civil disorder by distracting the mob by way of populist appeals to people’s basest urges … with ‘bread’ (food in general) and/or ‘circuses’ (entertainment).

The thing about IQ is that, whilst it’s not entirely useless as a measure of intelligence, it’s not really a very good one either: it’s no more than a truism to observe that it is only a measure of those things it measures … and there are lot of people who do very well at IQ tests but are utter imbeciles otherwise and whose imbecility, furthermore, far outweighs whatever benefits their high IQ might bestow.

Moreover, very few people have the first clue about … well, anything really, never mind IQ testing … and like to quote George Carlin’s observation about 50% of people having (by very definition) below average intelligence.

The thing is, Carlin was just as clueless as they are. The peak of the bell curve is not where the average IQ is found any more than the centre reading on the thermometer indicates the average temperature ². It’s just the average of the two extremes … the centre point between them — if the scale ran from minus 100 to 100 then the average IQ would be zero. And it makes no difference to the number of people measured as having a given IQ what the midpoint is any more than the speed limit determines how many people drive faster than that; if aliens bathed the planet with an intelligence enhancing ray tonight and everyone woke up with the same IQ as Einstein tomorrow, the average IQ would still be 100 — it would just then be the case that the average person had an above average IQ.

In fact, despite the Flynn Effect

… we’ve been becoming more dimwitted as a species for decades now:

Before very much longer …

Actually, no, wait … as I look around, it dawns on me that Idiocracy wasn’t even a prediction, never mind a satire, but simple observation: just look at this …

Seriously?

That’s what passes for entertainment these days, is it?

Oh, Lord, take me now — I don’t want to live on this planet any longer .

Don’t hold your breath for anything better either … you won’t be getting any free bread — there’s no profit in that (which is why world hunger won’t be solved any time soon)

Conspiracy Clown: Nationalist World Order

‎‎

‎‎

Stop the World … I want to get off.


¹ When your great-grandparents were young, if you’re European: before even the dinosaurs, if you live in the U.S.

² Just take a look at the nonsense that is the Fahrenheit scale, for instance: the average human body temperature was supposed to be .100° F, but Fahrenheit was running a fever that day without realising it and set his scale incorrectly ³.

³ Not that there was any scientific value to a scale extrapolated from the body temperature of a human being in the first place — hence the observation that the Fahrenheit scale is nonsense and utterly worthless .

⁴ Suitable for use in backward cultures, perhaps, but not by anyone rational — there’s a more scientific basis to the (pre-decimalisation) British monetary system of pounds, shillings and pence than there is to the Fahrenheit scale.

⁵ Although … you never know … a quick detour by way of the ballet first might help lift my spirits a bit

Homer Simpson likes ballet and bears in a little cars
As does Lenny

*sigh* (I rest my case)

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There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live and too rare to die.

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Where Angels Fear

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There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live and too rare to die.

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