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#211 of 229 Old 08-15-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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The best way to annoy somebody is to start questioning things.
This is probably true of a lot of people - not everyone - but a lot. If someone considers themselves an expert in a field, and you question them, I would expect that someone who is secure in their position would be able to defend it without becoming defensive. Maybe even pointing out what is still unknown. I don't think that intellectuals and huge egos are mutually exclusive, however.
And maybe that's why intellectualism gets a bad rap.

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#212 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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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...
I think Gray's Anatomy and Hannah Montana were just examples. I think your list skews things to favor getting a result supporting intellectualism. You need to take into account people that don't give to charity or go to college or read the newspaper or speak multiple languages or other stuff that may not be done by everyone.

I think some of your questions are a bit presumptive because a lot of people cannot or will not do some of the things on your list and it completely ignores an entire subset of the population.

Here is an article on literacy and how rates tend to be skewed:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literac..._United_States

Here is another interesting article that talks about the decline of reason: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fosrec/Lipps.html

I particularly liked this part along with the table that follows it.

Quote:
Rules for evidential reasoning (modified from Lett, 1990), or a guide to intelligent living. These rules are a reformulation of the scientific method. All life situations and claims could be beneficially subjected to these rules. Statements from your doctor, mechanic, bank, cereal manufacturer, tobacconist, newspapers, and especially television should be scrutinized with these rules in mind. Then make your own decision!
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#213 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 12:35 AM
 
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I've read through most of the thread and yet, I'm not sure how "intellectual" has been defined...has it?

I like TIN's list...the discussion veered into 'pop culture', I think her questions are dead-on.

I'd like to think that our culture (I'm Canadian) is very intellectual. I guess one's answer to the question depends on the company one keeps.

If I were to base my opinion, purely on 'pop culture' (T.V. music, movies, news...etc...)

We are in trouble.
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#214 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 12:38 AM
 
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I'm not familar with that book. What does it say in regard to SAHMs?

As I said, I think education, including college education, is valuable unto itself. I'm a SAHM, and my college degree has never been a waste, nor will it ever be a waste.
The bolded portion is a great one line synopsis of the book.
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#215 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 05:51 AM
 
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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.
Well, I think one easy answer is money, and to a lesser extent, ambition and possibly even greed. And active campaigning and advertising on the part of drug companies?
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#216 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 05:58 AM
 
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I've read through most of the thread and yet, I'm not sure how "intellectual" has been defined...has it?

I like TIN's list...the discussion veered into 'pop culture', I think her questions are dead-on.

I'd like to think that our culture (I'm Canadian) is very intellectual. I guess one's answer to the question depends on the company one keeps.

If I were to base my opinion, purely on 'pop culture' (T.V. music, movies, news...etc...)

We are in trouble.
:

Yeah, that was my point. Exactly.

I think maybe the difference we're discussing is this.

Some of us are looking at this snapshot moment in time in pop culture to answer the OP's question.

I'm looking at culture across generations, and not at any one subset, but in aggregate.

Take the Hanna Montana example. That is hugely popular right now for only a certain group RIGHT NOW.

It's a fad. ....like The Cosby Show (which by the way showed two intellectual parents in a good light).

...like "Friends."

...like "Cheers."

...like "Seinfeld."

...like "New Kids on the Block."

Do you see what I'm saying? Hanna Montana hasn't even been around 5 years? And it's a kids' show. On the Disney channel. You have to buy cable to even watch it. It's directed at a 'tween audience and maybe there's spill over as the family is exposed to it.

But it is a pop culture sensation RIGHT NOW. It is not a hall mark or measurement of culture at large.

I guarantee more people don't watch Hanna Montana than do.

Anyway, I don't think we can use a single tv show to guage. We have to look at themes over time. Like I said, I'm not a professional sampler or statistician. But I did take 2 semesters of statistics and surveying. So, that's why I think demographics and themes and a more appropriate sampling size need to be looked at.
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#217 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 06:02 AM
 
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The bolded portion is a great one line synopsis of the book.


Yeah, any inference to a SAHM wasting a college degree or not needing a college degree bugs the heck out of me.



I could justify this or that (and have...such as having a college degree makes me better able to teach my child X, Y, or Z) but really what it comes down to is simply education is important. Formal education is an asset. Degrees and college experiences are useful for life in general. Life is what you make it.
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#218 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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Comparing The Cosby Show to New Kids on the Block is ridiculous; The show ran for more than ten years, NKOTB had burned out in two.

If you want to get a look at the average person and what they think, you need to look at pop culture because it's a damned good indicator of how people are spending their money-- of what's important to them. To say that pop culture is irrelevant when discussing the prevailing culture is ridiculous, because if *nothing else*, pop culture gives us an idea of societal trends. Twenty years ago, advertising directed at teenagers was about telling them what was cool. "This is cool-- you want to be like us." Today, that doesn't work-- teenagers are more concerned with being unique than with being cool, so being told what *is* cool is a good way to get them to run in the other direction. They're also far more savvy about marketing than they were twenty years ago, so they're immediately suspicious of commercials and such. They want to examine and make decisions for themselves, so "campaigns" wherein a group of kids take some strange new vehicle to the beach to hang out are more likely to get the attention of other kids than TV commercials showing pop stars driving it are.

To say that the entirely anti-intellectual nature of most pop culture (and I'm going to have to disagree about that, but I'll get into it later) is not reflective of the values of society as a whole strikes me as ridiculous. I can buy the idea that high school is a microcosm, but when you're talking about pop culture you're talking about much, much larger segments of the population. The Simpsons has been running for nearly **twenty consecutive years**. It is more than a fad when there are people around who have graduated from college and can't even remember a time when The Simpsons *wasn't* on TV. It wouldn't be around if it wasn't being supported, and by a hell of a lot of people.

I'm going to have to argue that pop culture *is* American culture. They don't call it "mainstream" for nothing.

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#219 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 11:39 AM
 
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I wasn't comparing anything. (Cosby vs NKOTB) I was just showing things like Grey's Anatomy and Hannah Montana are more fads than cultural indicators. Now, tv ratings in general and over time, might be an indicator.

I also didn't say to disregard pop culture altogether. I said it is one possible indicator of the culture at large.

Pop culture doesn't = culture. There are other factors. Many other factors.

We haven't even established a good verification for what pop culture is, anyway. I know for sure it's not just tv and celebrities. Pop culture is much more than that.

I was simply saying the statistical sample needed to be larger and more accurate. I'm not the person to do that, since I have no experience other than two college semesters in statistics, sampling, and surveys.

However, I did throw out some ideas for things I thought were being overlooked.

If you take a small sample size (the audience of Hannah Montana) it's not an accurate representation.
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#220 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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Also, I don't think it's accurate to look only at our culture, or pop culture, right now, this year, this minute. That's not a fair representation of our culture.

Hannah Montana and Grey's Anatomy, even American Idol - they've had a short history. They're temporary blips on our culture timeline, if they even register. What about popular "heady" tv shows...there have been those, too.

I think we're looking at too small a time period, and too small a sampling size, and at too few indicators.



Edited: I guess how we view and define pop culture comes down to what we think of as contemporary. Does that mean only right now? Or is it a decade? A generation?

In print form, it seems pop culture is usually in reference to generations. Things that were popular during my grandparents lifetimes aren't really considered pop culture anymore (Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Walter Cronkite, JKF, Sinatra, etc). But I hear all the time "pop culture icon" in reference to say John Lennon or the Beatles, or M.A.S.H., or Seinfeld, for example) These are just examples off the top of my head.
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#221 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 12:07 PM
 
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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.
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#222 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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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?
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#223 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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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.

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#224 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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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
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#225 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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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).

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#226 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 08:24 PM
 
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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.


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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.
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#227 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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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.
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#228 of 229 Old 08-16-2008, 10:43 PM
 
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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.
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#229 of 229 Old 08-17-2008, 12:10 AM
 
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If we changed the question to:
Do you think Americans on average value intellectuals?

How would one answer that?
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