Do you think our culture is anti-intellectual? - Page 7 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-15-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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but as Friedman chronicles in his World is Flat book, they're still coming to the US.
They are, but the many countries are now developing their own universities and training programs.

Even so, just as Friedman said, the American universities will be second to none for quite some time because of the ingenuity, flexibility, innovation.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:11 PM
 
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hey, you bring up another good point. I think the World is Flat is written on a mass media level.

So even Friedman realizes to capitalize on his efforts, and to best appeal to the masses (American, those who may buy), it is best water down the intellectual flavor of his book.

Could be.

I wonder if that is stylistically how Friedman writes, having so much experience in newspaper writing and also because he is such a talented writer he can find ways to make the words flow smoothly and make difficult concepts easier to understand.

Yeah, I think it's more Friedman's style marke, than anything.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:14 PM
 
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I would guess seventh grade, since it's not more difficult to read than USA today.
I don't know about 7th grade or USA today level. I don't think it was "dumbed down" that much.

Yes, the prose was flowing and easy to read. That's Friedman's deliberate style, I think.

The concepts are much more complex than a 7th grader could grasp, and I haven't seen anything like "The World is Flat" ever appear in USA Today.

Friedman is a journalist who writes well, and good journalism should be easy to read. That's an art form.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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You don't think our current culture will be historically significant enough to write about in 150 years or 200 years?

I think many events will be.

There are many exciting technological, medical, scientific, and humanitarian developments occuring.

Of course, we have a few very large mistakes happening as well that might overshadow our collective accomplishments and contributions.
I think somebody will be reading about our culture, but I'll be pushing up daisies. What people think is valuable then is not relevant to me or my children now.

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Old 08-15-2008, 03:35 PM
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This is true. But really, how do you pay the bills without something practical?

You can be intellectual and major in practical fields in college. That is where the elitism comes in, I think. I mean, the old joke, what do you do with a philosophy degree? Work at the philosophy factory?

I would have loved to study a lot of things in college other than what I ended up studying, but having limited resources (and who doesn't???) I had to choose something practical to pay the bills.
i agree. Not just the bills, but also public road, libraries, Social Security, ... yeah, even GT programs.

hah! what would the US be like if everyone made $150k and paid taxes on it?

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I don't know about 7th grade or USA today level. I don't think it was "dumbed down" that much.

Yes, the prose was flowing and easy to read. That's Friedman's deliberate style, I think.

The concepts are much more complex than a 7th grader could grasp, and I haven't seen anything like "The World is Flat" ever appear in USA Today.

Friedman is a journalist who writes well, and good journalism should be easy to read. That's an art form.
The USA today has been regarded/ accused as being written at the 7th grade level. This is so that news would be available to alot, the masses.
jimho, Friedman writes this book at the same reading level as USA today. I've read his other books, and they are not as simplistic.

I disagree though, that the concepts are too complex for a seventh grader, who should be learning about world, geography, and culture. Fortunately, Friedman is a great writer and make journalism fun and accessible.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:43 PM
 
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The USA today has been regarded/ accused as being written at the 7th grade level. This is so that news would be available to alot, the masses.
jimho, Friedman writes this book at the same reading level as USA today. I've read his other books, and they are not as simplistic.

I disagree though, that the concepts are too complex for a seventh grader, who should be learning about world, geography, and culture. Fortunately, Friedman is a great writer and make journalism fun and accessible.
Yep, I've read numerous terms and heard through other venues that USA Today is deliberately written on a junior high level. And it has a lot of soft news topics.

But I wouldn't equate Tom Friedman to USA Today. Yep! You're right and I agree. His other books weren't as simplistic (not that The World is Flat is simplistic). He is a darn good writer.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:49 PM
 
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I disagree though, that the concepts are too complex for a seventh grader, who should be learning about world, geography, and culture. Fortunately, Friedman is a great writer and make journalism fun and accessible.

Oh, absolutely learning about the world, geography, and culture is relevant to a 7th grader.

But The World is Flat is not about the world, geography, and culture so much as it is about the changing dynamics in a post-9/11 and post-dot.com world. The concepts of international politics, terrorism, industrialization post-dot.com and post-NAFTA, etc, might be a little much for a 7th grader, even an advanced 7th grader to grasp.

And, also, I don't think the context is appropriate for junior high or lower grade students. Here's why. I think kids, even advanced, intellectual kids, are vulnerable. While their brains might be able to grasp the concepts, their emotional maturity level might not be able to quite yet. These are fascinating but also scary and dark themes. I think kids deserve to be kids, and to see the good in the world for as long as possible.

I don't censor and I don't edit, but I do shield to some extent. I will always answer honestly any question my child asks, but I will not rush them into the hard and cold facts about international politics until they're ready. But I'm sure going to prepare them and expose them to culture.

Now, The World is Flat might be age appropriate for junior or seniors in high school. And definitely college freshmen on up.

Just because kids are highly intellectual doesn't mean their emotions are ready for anything and everything.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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really? ok, off the top of your head, name 5 Nobel winners from the past 3 years?
ok, can you name 5 actors from the past 3 years of movies?
Reminds me of a scene from Good Will Hunting.

It's called "pop culture" for a reason-- it's popular, or "of the people." I have heard of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian; Though I don't value their contributions to American society, I can't deny that they are somewhat iconic in status. They're not remotely important to me, but they're clearly important to someone. The question is... have you ever heard of Christine Schrock? No? Well, why not? Why hasn't this kid's face been plastered all over magazines in the supermarket, all over the news? Now that it comes to it, how many people have even heard of the Davidson Fellows? And these kids aren't just intellectual for the sake of it-- their work, by definition, must be applicable to the real world, and be of real benefit to humanity; They must be making a significant contribution to mankind to be considered for the awards.

These children aren't being valued. Nastia Liukin will be on Wheaties boxes in a few weeks, and I'd be astonished if there wasn't a Nastia Barbie doll in stores before the holiday shopping season. Where's the Christine Schrock doll, resplendent in lab coat and goggles, hm? Parents who encourage and even nudge their children toward elite athletic programs are, if not always appreciated, at least understood. Parents who do the same with intellectual pursuits are *always* seen as trying to live vicariously through thier children, and as pushing their children because of some internal lack.

Do you have to be an intellectual in order to value intellectualism? Absolutely not. Some of the parents I've encountered who are most dedicated to their childrens' educations are among the least intellectual people I've ever known. You don't have to be a genius to appreciate that it's going to take a genius to cure cancer, any more than you have to be able to touch your toes to appreciate Nastia Liukin's all-around medal. Valuing intellectualism has nothing to do with being an intellectual, though of course most intellectuals probably place some value on it. No, you don't have to be beautiful to value beauty, but you can still show your support in other ways. I mean really... Homer loves Lisa and does what he can to support her, despite the fact that he's pretty much the archetypical non-intellectual.

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Old 08-15-2008, 04:02 PM
 
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Oh, absolutely learning about the world, geography, and culture is relevant to a 7th grader.

But The World is Flat is not about the world, geography, and culture so much as it is about the changing dynamics in a post-9/11 and post-dot.com world. The concepts of international politics, terrorism, industrialization post-dot.com and post-NAFTA, etc, might be a little much for a 7th grader, even an advanced 7th grader to grasp.

And, also, I don't think the context is appropriate for junior high or lower grade students. Here's why. I think kids, even advanced, intellectual kids, are vulnerable. While their brains might be able to grasp the concepts, their emotional maturity level might not be able to quite yet. These are fascinating but also scary and dark themes. I think kids deserve to be kids, and to see the good in the world for as long as possible.

I don't censor and I don't edit, but I do shield to some extent. I will always answer honestly any question my child asks, but I will not rush them into the hard and cold facts about international politics until they're ready. But I'm sure going to prepare them and expose them to culture.

Now, The World is Flat might be age appropriate for junior or seniors in high school. And definitely college freshmen on up.

Just because kids are highly intellectual doesn't mean their emotions are ready for anything and everything.
That's a matter for an entirely different thread.

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Old 08-15-2008, 04:12 PM
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It's called "pop culture" for a reason-- it's popular, or "of the people." I have heard of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian; Though I don't value their contributions to American society, I can't deny that they are somewhat iconic in status. They're not remotely important to me, but they're clearly important to someone. The question is... have you ever heard of Christine Schrock? No? Well, why not? Why hasn't this kid's face been plastered all over magazines in the supermarket, all over the news? Now that it comes to it, how many people have even heard of the Davidson Fellows?
er, I have heard of the Davidson Fellowes. But I don't doubt that the average American hasn't.

What is commonly known, and increasingly these days portrayed in the media, is only pop culture. But this is different for different cultures.

Bill Gates had rock star status in China. Kids buy posters of the guy and plaster him on their bedroom walls. Are there kids in America who do this? probably. But it's not a culture.

And of course you don't have to be an intellectual in order to value intellectualism. Education is worshipped in the asian culture, but I would guess that most asian IQ's are not above gifted, right.
Is it a flaw of the American collective character, that pop culture is not bursting with intellectualism? depends on what you want for your country. Or where you would like to see your country headed.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:35 PM
 
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Ok, but why is pop culture suddenly the measurement of cultural values at large? Actually, I don't think we're even talking about pop culture so much as "celebrity" culture, er, rather what's on certain tv programs in this reality tv phase. It's a fad.

Why does one or two or three mediums get all the credit for defining culture? What is on tv, and only on certain tv stations and programs at that, and in few well circulated magazines trump what is considered newsworthy and noteworthy by respected journalists and respected and alternative news outlets?

I always thought pop culture was current popular culture...politics, art, yes celebrities and their craft as in movies and tv, theater, popular science, comedy...

Pop culture has become for some reason synonymous with tabloid coverage, and as an extension of that, reality tv. I don't think truly that is what pop culture is.

I can turn on tv and get vastly different topical coverage on E, VH1, MTV, and the tabloid news programs than on CNN, C-SPAN, PBS, the National Geographic channel.

My point is this celebrity following fad and reality tv fad are recent developments. They will end, and something else will take their place.

They unto themselves do not reflect our culture, or even pop culture, except as a blip. There are many, many other things that also need to be factored in to see a true reflection of culture. I truly do not believe that the examples already brought up such as Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian (not to beat up on them) will have the lasting icon status or significance as say Andy Warhol, John Lennon, Jackie O, or Princess Diana. PH and KK are brands. They've said so themselves. They're selling something.

Andy Warhol, Jackie O, and Princess Diana are much different in terms of pop culture icons because of what they created, were part of, or represented.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:47 PM
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Ok, but why is pop culture suddenly a reflection of cultural values at large? .....


My point is this celebrity following fad and reality tv fad are recent developments. They will end, and something else will take their place.

They do not reflect our culture, or even pop culture, except as a blip.
goodness, I don't know. But America is young (relatively). Have you been to or travelled through Italy, Greece, etc? They were once great cultures (well some would argue that Italian culture is till great ). Civilizations age, mature. Or to phrase another way, they get lazy and spoiled.

I sure hope this is a fad. But I don't know. One thing great about America is we have all kinds of Institutes, think tanks, etc. They follow these trends.
So look at the numbers. Follow the money. What are people doing? Buying? How are they spending their time?

What's the readership of Foreign Affairs? People magazine?
Vogue magazine has now sprouted a teen vogue. And men's vogue.
What's been happening to the readership of the Atlantic Monthly?

What are the most trafficked websites? To where does the disposable income of America's youth (i.e. future) go?

This will be your answer. My bet is that it is not pop culture. It is American culture.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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goodness, I don't know. But America is young (relatively). Have you been to or travelled through Italy, Greece, etc? They were once great cultures (well some would argue that Italian culture is till great ). Civilizations age, mature. Or to phrase another way, they get lazy and spoiled.

I sure hope this is a fad. But I don't know. One thing great about America is we have all kinds of Institutes, think tanks, etc. They follow these trends.
So look at the numbers. Follow the money. What are people doing? Buying? How are they spending their time?

What's the readership of Foreign Affairs? People magazine?
Vogue magazine has now sprouted a teen vogue. And men's vogue.
What's been happening to the readership of the Atlantic Monthly?

What are the most trafficked websites? To where does the disposable income of America's youth (i.e. future) go?

This will be your answer. My bet is that it is not pop culture. It is American culture.
Yes, if you're talking about American youth culture, 'tween culture, teen culture, twentysomething culture even.



I think the demographics change with age, and, um, probably maturity and education.

I mean, if I were to ask some of my colleagues who Kim Kardashian is, they would probably look at me cluelessly.

They are most likely reading the NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Time, and I don't know...The Economist? Maybe? They're not reading US Weekly!

They're listening to NPR. Watching PBS and CNN.

They're following the presidential election.

And peak oil.

And the economy.

I think it really depends a lot on first, age, but also, obviously education level, where you live, and probably income, too. Wasn't it mentioned earlier that intellectuals are often called elitists? I think there is substance behind that, but not as simplistic as most people making that claim want to believe.

Anyway, yeah, America isn't a country of intellectuals! But I don't think we're necessarily anti-intellectual.

Although, if you look through our rather short history, we have had some very dark, anti-intellectual periods. Maybe we're in one of those now? I don't know. Maybe things will change. We're a pretty flexible nation.
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:06 PM
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Anyway, yeah, America isn't a country of intellectuals! But I don't think we're necessarily anti-intellectual.

Although, if you look through our rather short history, we have had some very dark, anti-intellectual periods. Maybe we're in one of those now? I don't know. Maybe things will change. We're a pretty flexible nation.
oh, I definitely agree, I don't think America is anti-intellectual.
How many world patents are filed in America?
Where do the intellectuals of the world aspire to study?
Given a choice: where would you rather have your appendix taken out? American or Azerbijian (sp?)?
And hey! why can't we keep motivated, intelligent individuals from crossing our border?!
well, maybe they believe if you got some smarts, and some hard work, you too can make it in America.
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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oh, I definitely agree, I don't think America is anti-intellectual.
How many world patents are filed in America?
Where do the intellectuals of the world aspire to study?
Given a choice: where would you rather have your appendix taken out? American or Azerbijian (sp?)?
And hey! why can't we keep motivated, intelligent individuals from crossing our border?!
well, maybe they believe if you got some smarts, and some hard work, you too can make it in America.

:

Even royalty and billionaires from other countries come to the US for medical care.

Yes, this is the land of opportunity, but like someone else said it takes more than hard work. I personally think it takes a lot of hard work, personal responsibility, a certain level of intelligence and education, and also luck.

Yes, the intellectuals of the world, for the most part, aspire to and do study in the US.

I think you are right about patents as well, although I'm no expert on patents.

So, yeah, these above points and more are why I do not believe American culture is anti-intellectual.

But we are definitely not a country of predominately intellectuals. (Although I wish we were.)
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:18 PM
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Even royalty and billionaires from other countries come to the US for medical care.

Yes, this is the land of opportunity, but like someone else said it takes more than hard work. I personally think it takes a lot of hard work, personal responsibility, a certain level of intelligence and education, and also luck.

Yes, the intellectuals of the world, for the most part, aspire to and do study in the US.

I think you are right about patents as well, although I'm no expert on patents.

So, yeah, these above points and more are why I do not believe American culture is anti-intellectual.

But we are definitely not a country of predominately intellectuals. (Although I wish we were.)
and... I just want to say that I've really enjoyed chattin with you! but i have to go back to work, so no more MDC this afternoon (self chastisement here)
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=That Is Nice;11952643]:

Even royalty and billionaires from other countries come to the US for medical care.

Yes, this is the land of opportunity, but like someone else said it takes more than hard work. I personally think it takes a lot of hard work, personal responsibility, a certain level of intelligence and education, and also luck.

Yes, the intellectuals of the world, for the most part, aspire to and do study in the US.

I think you are right about patents as well, although I'm no expert on patents.

So, yeah, these above points and more are why I do not believe American culture is anti-intellectual.

But we are definitely not a country of predominately intellectuals. (Although I wish we were.)[/QUOTE

Simply because there is a small percentage of society that values intellectualism does not mean intellectualism is valued in general. The US is a big country.

Kathy
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:40 PM
 
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Even royalty and billionaires from other countries come to the US for medical care.

Yes, this is the land of opportunity, but like someone else said it takes more than hard work. I personally think it takes a lot of hard work, personal responsibility, a certain level of intelligence and education, and also luck.

Yes, the intellectuals of the world, for the most part, aspire to and do study in the US.

I think you are right about patents as well, although I'm no expert on patents.

So, yeah, these above points and more are why I do not believe American culture is anti-intellectual.

But we are definitely not a country of predominately intellectuals.
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Simply because there is a small percentage of society that values intellectualism does not mean intellectualism is valued in general. The US is a big country.
I agree. A small percentage of intellectuals does not mean society/culture values intellectualism.

But the institutions that allow the above list to occur shows that our culture has valued and does value intellectualism.

We have these institutions and this base of knowledge because of value placed on intellectualism. Again, I don't think examples of public school failings or mismanagement, or the ridiculousness of "pop culture" are true reflections of cultural values at large.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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Sports stadiums are not publicly funded. I liken sports stadiums to shopping malls or restaurants or something. They are privately funded.
Not in Washington, DC.

http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/national/wasbpk.htm

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Public financing: The city may sell up to $610.8 million in bonds to finance the stadium. Revenue to pay the debt on those bonds would come from these sources:

* $11 million to $14 million per year from in-stadium taxes on tickets, concessions and merchandise.
* $21 million to $24 million per year from a new tax on businesses with gross receipts of $3 million or more.
* $5.5 million per year in rent payments from the baseball team's owner.

Private financing: The team is responsible for any cost overruns. Naming rights belong to the team and were not earmarked for stadium construction costs.
SO, just to be clear, DC tax payers built a new baseball stadium, with the intention of using taxes on the stadium and new business revenue (plus rent on the facility) to pay it back, eventually. But DC Government owns the stadium.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:42 PM
 
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Ok, but why is pop culture suddenly the measurement of cultural values at large? Actually, I don't think we're even talking about pop culture so much as "celebrity" culture, er, rather what's on certain tv programs in this reality tv phase. It's a fad.
Okay, let's define our terms.

Is America anti-intellectual? well first we define what we mean by America - entire population? Majority? Then "anti-intellectual". And then we define what measurements we are going to use.

Because we are looking for some overarching trend, subgroups should be discounted. yes, Asian-American culture tends to be more academics focused, and African-Americans less so (for a myriad of complex reasons we are not going to be able to get into), but those two groups make up a miniority (for now) of the total demographics.

So if we are looking for overarching, mainstream cultural memes, we need to look for sources where those memes are repeated - and then count/measure/catagorize those memes into classifications of "anti-intellectual", "pro-intellectual" or "neutral".

we also have to define what can be classified as pro or anti. I would be conservative and say that "anti" is only statements or behaviors which disparage:
* intelligence
* engaging in actions which require intelligence
* engaging in actions which challenge intelligence.
* individuals who pride intellectual achievement
* individuals who show interest in intellectual actions.

And the opposite for "pro" also needs to be defined.

then we need to determine our research sources. I personally think taking the most popular media - some TV, some newspapers, some magazines, and some internet - sources - based on demographics. So USA Today may be included, also People Magazine, American Idol, Gray's Anatomy, Hanna Montana, etc.

Then we try to measure the messages - we can do this by using a similar structure that the PTC used for its "TV supports extra-marital sexual activity" study - take each sentence written or stated in a period of time and dividing them into three catagories.

That would reveal some interesting results.

I do believe that it would show that in general, the assumptions for what "normal" people do are anti-intellectual. While statements about intellectuals may be supported, such a study may reveal that it is assumed "most people" find intellectual pursuits boring, weird, or effeminate.

Please be aware that these assumptions of what is "normal" are more insidious and long-reaching than any direct statements for or against anything. It is like how breastfeeding is "supported" but not really. If you were to only look on the surface at public service announcements or count up the "breast is best" posters at your doctor's office, you'd come away with "wow, breastfeeding is really supported!"

But as soon as you are actually faced with the need for support, BAM, you get the underlying REAL message, which is "well, breast is best, but really, formula/bottles is the normal way to feed babies, and it is a lot easier, and breastfeeding will just be a huge hassle and a lot of work and kind of squicky, anyway, and here is your free samples of formula, didja know you get coupons at the grocery store!"

Do not confuse lip service to something we know we are *supposed* to value, with ACTUAL valuing. Valuing something means that people will support it even in the face of competing priorities. In the stadium example (and to use opera vs sports as a proxy for intellectual vs not-intellectual - which is not a very good proxy, I do admit), why aren't opera houses considered "good investments" by state and local governments, so that they will sell $600 million in bonds to fund one? Because they know they will never make their money back, like they would for a sports stadium.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:16 PM
 
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Even royalty and billionaires from other countries come to the US for medical care.
How does that prove that the US is intellectual? It proves that the US has more opportunity and is ahead of other places in terms of medical care.

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Yes, the intellectuals of the world, for the most part, aspire to and do study in the US.
The reason that people from around the world are able to study in the US is because people within the US do not recognize the value of intellectualism. I think that if intellectualism were valued, the universities would be too full and wouldn't have room for those coming from outside the US. Those outside of the US are taking advantage of the opportunities that people from within neglect because they do not value it to the same degree as other people.

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I think you are right about patents as well, although I'm no expert on patents.
I am not sure how the number of patents proves that the country values intellectuals. Getting a patent just means you had a good idea and that you are keeping someone else from getting it. Are you talking about patents in the US or patents around the world? If you want to look at patents on a global scale, read this: http://www.epo.org/topics/patent-sys...the-world.html

It is rather interesting to note the differences in the way they are processed and what can be patented. It is interesting to note that the number of patents in Japan has been about 400,000 and steady since 1998. The US has increased the number of patents over time but you have to consider the types of things being patented and trademarked. Every one of the songs that Britainy Spears has in her pocket has gone through the US Patent and Trademark Office. The US population was approximately 303,824,646 in July 2008. If you do the math, 400,000 patents is not that many. That comes out to be .00131 percent of the population if you divide the number of patents by the total population. I know that includes kids but if you want to narrow it down to just the number of adults (18+) that bumps the number up to .00131 which I do not see as that significant.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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The only way that I can see intellectualism as being valued is if it is valued because it allows other people to not think for themselves. I don't have to think about my health because the doctor will do it for me. I don't have to think about educating my child because the school will do it for me. I don't have to think about what is wrong with my car because the auto mechanic will do it for me. I don't have to think about what is wrong with my computer, the computer tech will do it for me. I am not saying that we should all know how to do all of these things but we should all have a basic awareness. That basic awareness leads us to questioning the doctors, the teachers, the mechanic, the computer tech, and so on. The questioning comes from using our intellect, which is not valued. You do not question those that have specialized in a particular area. You do not have a piece of paper to prove that you have studied and thought about it so you are not qualified to think about it. Education and learning have been so compartmentalized that it is assumed that the only way you can truly be an intellectual is to study at the university or get a degree or follow some other prescribed "intellectual" path.

Everybody should be thinking about everything that might potentially impact them on some level. The idea that you don't need to worry about it because somebody else will take care of it is prevalent. Look at the elections for example. How many people are listening to what the media is saying because they don't want to dig a little deeper? (I am referring to mainstream here.) People are making important life time decisions based on the thinking that other people have done. Of course, if you are the thinker, you had better be really careful about how you choose to share your knowledge because you can make people mad because you are giving them too much information or you can make people mad because you have not given them enough information. How many doctors, lawyers, etc. make sure that they dumb things down for the average person? If intellectualism were valued in and of itself, there would not be near as much dumbing down. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. would encourage questioning rather than implying that they somehow know more than everyone else because they have a degree or similar piece of paper. (Sorry, I am rambling again.)
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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You are correct. There is a recent trend for some public money to be used to build stadiums, mostly with hope of stimulating economic development. I think there are a few stadiums that are 100% publicly funded and owned, but I believe they are the exception.

It's different pots of money, though, and different levels of government. And sport stadiums typically aren't line items in government funding, as are roads, bridges, schools, etc. They are usually special projects due to economic stimulus policy or a special referendum.

Schools are usually funded locally, with some state or federal aid. Local school districts are most often the taxing body. They often have to put additonal funding projects to a referendum.

Sports complexes are probably built with municipal and county funds, with additional state (maybe even some federal) money mixed in. A lot of times, this is only partly publicly funded as a means of economic development. For what it's worth, the same public funding structure and reasons build cultural infrastructure, too, such as civic centers, art centers, museums, etc.

Public funds do go to roads, bridges, highways for economic development reasons, the same justification as for sports stadiums, but also to meet public health and safety needs.

Schools usually aren't used as economic development generators. Different pots of money, different community funding priorities.
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Not in Washington, DC.

http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/national/wasbpk.htm



SO, just to be clear, DC tax payers built a new baseball stadium, with the intention of using taxes on the stadium and new business revenue (plus rent on the facility) to pay it back, eventually. But DC Government owns the stadium.

I corrected myself (see above post). Traditionally, stadiums have been private ventures, but there are some exceptions, and several areas have used public funds to support stadiums as economic generators.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:31 PM
 
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How does that prove that the US is intellectual? It proves that the US has more opportunity and is ahead of other places in terms of medical care.
That was from an earlier spin off conversation, and was one of many in a list.

But, I do think that the US has the majority of the world's most respected (Western, that is, anyway) medical facilities and research centers.

Doctors, researchers, and other medical professionals staff these centers.

They are trained mostly here in the US.

So, I was just saying the infrastructure that supports these medical institutions are one of the listed examples of US culture NOT being anti-intellectual.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:34 PM
 
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The reason that people from around the world are able to study in the US is because people within the US do not recognize the value of intellectualism. I think that if intellectualism were valued, the universities would be too full and wouldn't have room for those coming from outside the US. Those outside of the US are taking advantage of the opportunities that people from within neglect because they do not value it to the same degree as other people.
Well, yes and no.

I see what you're saying.

But the institutions are here on US soil. They were established and maintained here.

That was my point. They wouldn't have been established and lasted all these years, not to mention grown, if culture didn't value intellectualism.

And it's not like the universities here don't have enough US citizens applying for admission so they recruit international students. The world is globablizing and becoming more and more competitive.

If US culture didn't value intellectualism, we wouldn't have so many fine universities, and research facilities that draw the best and brightest from all over the world.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:36 PM
 
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I am not sure how the number of patents proves that the country values intellectuals.
I think we were including innovators as intellectuals.

I had originally been using the term cultural creatives, but I think innovators should be included, too.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:44 PM
 
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The only way that I can see intellectualism as being valued is if it is valued because it allows other people to not think for themselves. I don't have to think about my health because the doctor will do it for me. I don't have to think about educating my child because the school will do it for me. I don't have to think about what is wrong with my car because the auto mechanic will do it for me. I don't have to think about what is wrong with my computer, the computer tech will do it for me. I am not saying that we should all know how to do all of these things but we should all have a basic awareness. That basic awareness leads us to questioning the doctors, the teachers, the mechanic, the computer tech, and so on. The questioning comes from using our intellect, which is not valued. You do not question those that have specialized in a particular area. You do not have a piece of paper to prove that you have studied and thought about it so you are not qualified to think about it. Education and learning have been so compartmentalized that it is assumed that the only way you can truly be an intellectual is to study at the university or get a degree or follow some other prescribed "intellectual" path.

Everybody should be thinking about everything that might potentially impact them on some level. The idea that you don't need to worry about it because somebody else will take care of it is prevalent. Look at the elections for example. How many people are listening to what the media is saying because they don't want to dig a little deeper? (I am referring to mainstream here.) People are making important life time decisions based on the thinking that other people have done. Of course, if you are the thinker, you had better be really careful about how you choose to share your knowledge because you can make people mad because you are giving them too much information or you can make people mad because you have not given them enough information. How many doctors, lawyers, etc. make sure that they dumb things down for the average person? If intellectualism were valued in and of itself, there would not be near as much dumbing down. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. would encourage questioning rather than implying that they somehow know more than everyone else because they have a degree or similar piece of paper. (Sorry, I am rambling again.)
Hmmm...interesting.

Maybe.

But that is in direct contrast to what a few people posted earlier about the majority of people in our culture not respecting intellectuals and thinking they were useless.

(The more education the less you know debate...)

I don't subscribe to either of these ideas. But like I said, I think intellectualism is respected, admired maybe, but perhaps not pursued personally by the majority of Americans.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:50 PM
 
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then we need to determine our research sources. I personally think taking the most popular media - some TV, some newspapers, some magazines, and some internet - sources - based on demographics. So USA Today may be included, also People Magazine, American Idol, Gray's Anatomy, Hanna Montana, etc.
I'm not an expert on sampling and statistics, but I wouldn't use that particular list.

I don't think you can use tv shows like Gray's Anatomy or Hanna Montana because the 1) ratings change quickly and top shows are cancelled and 2) the demographics of those shows aren't wide enough, especially Hanna Montana. Do people without kids watch this? Do people over 50 watch it?

I would look for sources by asking:

What is the most read newspaper?

What is the most watched news program or channel?

What is types of books are on the best seller lists?

What are college enrollment and graduation rates?

What are top careers people work or go into?

What languages do people speak?

What is the highest level of education people attain?

Where kinds of charities do people give to?

Etc.

I'm sure there are others, I just can't think of them right now...
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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That was from an earlier spin off conversation, and was one of many in a list.
I realize that it was a spinoff but I couldn't find the original post when the thought hit me.

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But, I do think that the US has the majority of the world's most respected (Western, that is, anyway) medical facilities and research centers.

Doctors, researchers, and other medical professionals staff these centers.

They are trained mostly here in the US.

So, I was just saying the infrastructure that supports these medical institutions are one of the listed examples of US culture NOT being anti-intellectual.
I feel that a society that truly values intellectual pursuits would encourage more love for the arts and sciences and less love for the sports and not so intellectual pursuits. It seems like the US is in decline. We have become lazy as a nation. Just because something exists does not mean that it is valued or will even be used. I am sorry but the number of doctors, research, and other medical professionals that staff all of the various centers do not equal a large portion of society. They are valued because of what they do not because of what they know. I am sorry but the last time I sat down and had a beer with a bunch of common folks, the topic of discussion didn't have anything to do with the latest medical research or anything else of potential intellectual value. It was more along the lines of "Hey y'all, watch this!"
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Old 08-16-2008, 12:22 AM
 
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But that is in direct contrast to what a few people posted earlier about the majority of people in our culture not respecting intellectuals and thinking they were useless.

(The more education the less you know debate...)

I don't subscribe to either of these ideas. But like I said, I think intellectualism is respected, admired maybe, but perhaps not pursued personally by the majority of Americans.
I don't think what I said is in direct contrast to what was stated earlier. If you will read closely, I listed auto mechanic in addition to some of the more "intellectual" fields. Knowing how to work on a car or how to operate on somebody does not mean that you are an intellectual. It means you went to school and studied or that you picked up a trade. If doctors made it a habit of reading beyond the textbooks and what they are told in medical school, they might not consider some of us to be whackos when we question their expertise. If doctors are so intellectual, why do you have some of them touting certain things without looking at the entire picture. Why are they able to be bought by the drug companies? Working on a person is a lot like working on a car. You have to know exactly how things work and be able to tell when something isn't working the way it should. It requires a lot of skill and memorization but I don't think it requires you to be intellectual.

I think we are going to have to agree to disagree because I am basing a lot of my opinions on how much society as a whole encourages questioning. The best way to annoy somebody is to start questioning things. Dh and I make it a habit of questioning and as a result, we are not very popular. We don't do it to be jerks. We do it out of honest curiosity. We want to know about the world around us. The existence of formal structures does not automatically lead to intellectualism nor does it imply that it is valued.
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