Dumbing down of society

posted 1 month ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
2731 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I think it’s actually the opposite, if you research the Flynn effect you can see how the average IQ has actually shown substantial increases over the past 80 years. I agree that language continuously evolves and using slang that didn’t exist years ago might seem less proper, but I don’t think people are actually getting dumber. 

Post # 3
Member
3406 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

soexcited123 :  It’s an interesting topic for sure. I think it is a common trait to believe that society is worse off than when  we were young. Hardly anyone ever believes that the young people of today are more mature than the young people of the past, for instance. Which is why we are prone to wanting to “make it great again”, for instance. Idolizing the past, fearing the future. 

When it comes to language (and especially the way young people speak), I personally find it fascinating how much it can grow and evolve in a short time. I am not a linguist, but I’m willing to bet that there is a greater disparity between the speak we use with our friends, and professional/academic speak than ever before. Additionally, we must also learn to send emails and text messages and navigate the internet, which all require slightly different forms of our language. There is more going on with our language than ever before! The ability to learn and apply these many “styles” surely is not a sign that humans are dumbing down.

To address your point more specifically though, I have found that all too often, when a phrase is thought of as “the dumbing down of society”, it’s a phrase that is used by a specific cultural or racial group. In that case, such thinking is probably a sign of systemic racism more than anything. 

Post # 4
Member
1215 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Lol yeah no. I have a degree in rhetoric and my linguistics Prof would tell us that “ain’t” is perfectly correct English. A lot of that negative attitude is based on racism (saying African American English Vernacular is bad or sounds stupid) or saying bad grammar or new slang is for dumb poor people. Language is constantly evolving but people like to use it as a power over others heads.

Post # 5
Member
1215 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Think of how Americans think idk..Irish accents and slang is adorable and charming but will cringe and say they hate black people pronouncing”espresso” wrong or saying “I seen that”.

Post # 6
Member
2486 posts
Buzzing bee

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.” 

– Socrates (469-399BC)

Post # 10
Member
471 posts
Helper bee

I understood “dumbing down” to mean taking a complicated subject or issue and, instead of explaining or studying it thoroughly, using simple bullet points and language to describe it while eliminating all the important, complicated aspects.   Mostly, it’s using language that doesn’t require people to think critically but just spoonfeeds what you want them to know or think.  One example is teachers teaching for the test, not for knowledge.  They make kids memorize things without going into the explanations and context so they understand the things and why they are.  Or something like taking a complex scientific study with all kinds of variables and controls and writing a screaming headline: coffee causes cancer! – and readers don’t bother to question whether that’s true or bother to read the actual study to see what it really says.   In many cases, people don’t even read the article, flawed as it is, and just read the headline and think they know everything there is to know.

Post # 13
Member
2486 posts
Buzzing bee

soexcited123 :  Right?! As a member of the much-maligned “millenial” generation, I find comfort in the fact that people have been feeling this way about the youths for literally thousands of years. While I do think there are some genuinely disturbing societal trends right now, people’s use of language or generational differences are not the issue.

Btw, just read the wiki for the phrase (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbing_down), and it’s pretty interesting to see how it’s applied and the longstanding controversy over its use and whether it points toward a real thing (anti-intellectualism; changing scholastic standards and the fear of “vanity” degrees as more people than ever enroll in higher education) or is based purely in classism as society becomes more egalitarian overall.

Post # 14
Member
501 posts
Busy bee

The notion has to do with ideas, not language. The idea is that people are being fed simplified versions of things rather than real complexity (which for example might explain the prominence of conspiracy theories—-they give toubeasier to digest stories for thins that are in fact rooted in very hard or very uncomfortable truths)

Post # 15
Member
3897 posts
Honey bee

I always thought it was more about cultural issues, not generational. I view the preoccupation with celebrity as a dumbing down that’s been increased over the years but may have reached its zenith with the Kardashians. When people like this are the most interesting thing  out there, that represents some serious dumbing down. And let’s not forget the cheeto in chief who likes to sum up complex, multilayered issues in pithy Twitter posts. That’s dumbing down, but considering his supporters that might be a good thing. They’re already dumb.

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