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Do you think our culture is anti-intellectual? - Page 12

post #221 of 229


How are you guys thinking of culture?

I think I might have figured out the different angles people have on this.

I have been thinking of culture in an anthropological sense...the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another (that's one entry in the dictionary).

Others might be looking at it from a more contemporary view.

Also, we as posters might very well be of different generations ourselves, which might inform our thinking.
post #222 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post


How are you guys thinking of culture?

I think I might have figured out the different angles people have on this.

I have been thinking of culture in an anthropological sense...the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another (that's one entry in the dictionary).

Others might be looking at it from a more contemporary view.

Also, we as posters might very well be of different generations ourselves, which might inform our thinking.
I am definitely not looking at the way culture was a 100 years ago. I am looking at my experience of culture during my lifetime. I am looking at the culture that was transmitted to me during my lifetime. In that regard, I am looking at the sum total because the sum total at any given time is reflected in the current generations. I am looking at things with a perspective of the way things are rather than the way they were a 100 years ago.

I think the generational difference probably has a huge impact on how we approach this discussion. The baby boomers and generation x'ers do not see eye to eye on many things at all. If you want to look at things historically, then I would have to agree that North America is historically intellectual.

If you want to look at current culture, then I stick with the notion that it is anti-illectual. One of the complaints from the Boomers is that X'ers don't know how to see the big picture and do research and think for themselves like past generations have. If the X'ers and subsequent generations are seen as the "me" generations, then how could they possibly be intellectual. They are too busy focusing on themselves to worry about learning anything other than what is necessary for them to achieve their goals. Some could say that it is the fault of the Boomers because they suppressed the generations that came after them. Or, you could look at it from the standpoint that later generations didn't have to do the work and thinking that the boomers did because the boomers did it for them.

Either way, the drive that led past generations to be intellectual is no longer there, which is why I claim that America is anti-intellectual. That may change in the coming generations but as it stands right now, intellectualism is not valued and it is not portrayed in a positive light on a daily basis. It is really kind of ignored. It may not be denigrated but it certainly isn't promoted or celebrated. It is not in the messages that you see on TV, newspapers, books, billboards, cereal boxes, and everything else we encounter on a daily basis. If you want to see what a society values, look at what it celebrates, promotes, and perpetuates. The first thing that comes to mind is sports, sports, sports, money, money, money, spend, spend, spend. When was the last time you heard the message think, think, think, study, study, study, read, read, read?
post #223 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
I am definitely not looking at the way culture was a 100 years ago. I am looking at my experience of culture during my lifetime. I am looking at the culture that was transmitted to me during my lifetime. In that regard, I am looking at the sum total because the sum total at any given time is reflected in the current generations. I am looking at things with a perspective of the way things are rather than the way they were a 100 years ago.

I think the generational difference probably has a huge impact on how we approach this discussion. The baby boomers and generation x'ers do not see eye to eye on many things at all. If you want to look at things historically, then I would have to agree that North America is historically intellectual.

If you want to look at current culture, then I stick with the notion that it is anti-illectual. One of the complaints from the Boomers is that X'ers don't know how to see the big picture and do research and think for themselves like past generations have. If the X'ers and subsequent generations are seen as the "me" generations, then how could they possibly be intellectual. They are too busy focusing on themselves to worry about learning anything other than what is necessary for them to achieve their goals. Some could say that it is the fault of the Boomers because they suppressed the generations that came after them. Or, you could look at it from the standpoint that later generations didn't have to do the work and thinking that the boomers did because the boomers did it for them.

Either way, the drive that led past generations to be intellectual is no longer there, which is why I claim that America is anti-intellectual. That may change in the coming generations but as it stands right now, intellectualism is not valued and it is not portrayed in a positive light on a daily basis. It is really kind of ignored. It may not be denigrated but it certainly isn't promoted or celebrated. It is not in the messages that you see on TV, newspapers, books, billboards, cereal boxes, and everything else we encounter on a daily basis. If you want to see what a society values, look at what it celebrates, promotes, and perpetuates. The first thing that comes to mind is sports, sports, sports, money, money, money, spend, spend, spend. When was the last time you heard the message think, think, think, study, study, study, read, read, read?

Well, I'm an Xer. But I am sometimes appalled at Generation Y and what do they call the newest one? I think that is common generational eye rolling, though.

Every generation has had that reaction to the one that follows. But it does impact our thinking in significant ways, to be sure.

post #224 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Well, I'm an Xer. But I am sometimes appalled at Generation Y and what do they call the newest one? I think that is common generational eye rolling, though.

Every generation has had that reaction to the one that follows. But it does impact our thinking in significant ways, to be sure.

I am an X'er too. Here is an interesting article about the problems of different generations trying to work together: http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine...enerations.htm
post #225 of 229
I think that as a culture the US values the idea of intellectualism. That is, we like the idea, but the practice is rather distasteful. People say they appreciate someone who can sit around and talk about philosophy, quantum physics, etc. I actually do that and people who find out (except for my friends who are sitting there talking with me) make fun of me or tell me not to talk about that junk around them (I got that from my mom and coworkers).

So, I'd say that they WANT to value intellectualism, but they don't, not in practice, not where I'm from.

As for what is culture, well it is a combination of what was important to the society in the past, what has survived to the present, and what is important to the society NOW.

I feel that "pop" culture has gotten a bad rap, just because of the name. Can we really say that a fad has no impact on a culture? That "pop" culture is so different from... what, regular culture? Like someone mentioned above, NKOTB were only around for two years, but we all know who they are...

Whether you value the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith is irrelevant. The point is that nearly everyone in the US knows who I'm talking about.

What is culturally relevant is when you make a reference to "survivor" or "lost" and people get it, or make a joke about going panty-less and people know the reference. It doesn't matter if we think highly of it as individuals. The fact of the matter is that war and sports are on the news at the beginning, while science and literature are last. And ET is more popular than the entire Discovery Channel combined (with or without the cost of cable).
post #226 of 229
I asked Dh what he thought... he's an intelligent guy, but no one categorizes him as "an intellectual." He said: "Our society distrusts and dislikes intellectuals. Until we need them." Succinct and apt, IMO.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfcat
I think that as a culture the US values the idea of intellectualism. That is, we like the idea, but the practice is rather distasteful. People say they appreciate someone who can sit around and talk about philosophy, quantum physics, etc. I actually do that and people who find out (except for my friends who are sitting there talking with me) make fun of me or tell me not to talk about that junk around them (I got that from my mom and coworkers).

So, I'd say that they WANT to value intellectualism, but they don't, not in practice, not where I'm from.
: This.
post #227 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfcat View Post
I think that as a culture the US values the idea of intellectualism. That is, we like the idea, but the practice is rather distasteful.
:

Not "yeah that" to say I think the practice is distasteful but that I agree - North American culture values intellectualism, even if they do not live it as a majority.
post #228 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Collinsky View Post
Our society distrusts and dislikes intellectuals. Until we need them.
:

I think this is true in a lot of ways. I think our culture values intellectualism and intellect, but is wary (or feel insecure around??) of intellectuals...until we need them, which is often.
post #229 of 229
If we changed the question to:
Do you think Americans on average value intellectuals?

How would one answer that?
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