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  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-17-2008 12:10 AM
EXOLAX If we changed the question to:
Do you think Americans on average value intellectuals?

How would one answer that?
08-16-2008 10:43 PM
That Is Nice
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.
08-16-2008 10:41 PM
That Is Nice
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.
08-16-2008 08:24 PM
Collinsky 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.
08-16-2008 05:45 PM
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.

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).
08-16-2008 02:35 PM
library lady
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
08-16-2008 02:20 PM
That Is Nice
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.

08-16-2008 02:07 PM
library lady
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?
08-16-2008 12:07 PM
That Is Nice

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.
08-16-2008 11:44 AM
That Is Nice 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.
08-16-2008 11:39 AM
That Is Nice 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.
08-16-2008 11:26 AM
eilonwy 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.
08-16-2008 06:02 AM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by xaloxe View Post
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.
08-16-2008 05:58 AM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
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.
08-16-2008 05:51 AM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
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?
08-16-2008 12:38 AM
EXOLAX
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.
08-16-2008 12:35 AM
lolalola 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.
08-16-2008 12:00 AM
library lady
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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!
08-15-2008 11:57 PM
LauraLoo
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
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.
08-15-2008 11:22 PM
library lady
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.
08-15-2008 10:57 PM
library lady
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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!"
08-15-2008 10:50 PM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post

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...
08-15-2008 10:44 PM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
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.
08-15-2008 10:36 PM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
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.
08-15-2008 10:34 PM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
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.
08-15-2008 10:31 PM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
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.
08-15-2008 10:20 PM
That Is Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
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.
08-15-2008 10:20 PM
library lady 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.)
08-15-2008 10:16 PM
library lady
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.
08-15-2008 09:42 PM
siobhang
Quote:
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.
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