Mamo 472: We’re Almost Up To The Breasts

Is intellectual curiosity a privilege, or a basic human value? Springing off Matt Zoller Seitz’s twitter conversation this week about easy-access movies, we parse out how harshly one can judge anyone in this day and age for being behind the curve.

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6 Comments on "Mamo 472: We’re Almost Up To The Breasts"

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Richard Vance
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Maybe I am taking it much too literally but I am not on board with judging people for survival on how creative or curious they are in what sounds like some real means testing / social darwinism bullshit.

I also think that making the distinction between Anti-Intellectual and Stupid. I mean the GOP in the US is a perfect example they also knew the writing is on the wall for their ideal leadership in 2008 to have a majority in their country so they planned for an enacted a plan in 2010 when no one was paying attention it is called Project Redmap and it is publicly accessibly and is one of the most terrifying things you can read about a party showing you how they will rule from the minority, and then succeeding.

Also privilege doesn’t only exist within curiosity, it exists within the ability to want to do things after work because the job you work isn’t taxing enough to drain that out of you along with other myriad of things that go alongside with Race class and economic privileges that I felt were given short shrift to the curiosity side.

(Also not being given the greatest confidence from the ‘progressive’ World Leaders these days but that is a very different conversation for a very different post)

antho42
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I agree with Richard Vance. This podcast episode sounds like a Kermalist dialogue session circa 1960’s. Guess what happened………the other side went all out against the Kermalist and secularism when they got into power.

devolutionary
Guest

The Fountain as a luminous film, ha? Did I hear that correctly? In terms of criticism, what does that even mean? It was enlightening? It was lit well? Sounds like that friend wanted to give a pretentious answer to a movie they didn’t fully grasp.

One the major backlashes to education in the US is the apparent diminishing returns on an advanced degree in non-STEM subjects. With how overpriced tuition and expenses are and the delusion that these systems will promise you a well paying job, it’s no wonder so many young adults nowadays are thousands of dollars in debt and forced to live modestly. There’s a reason that trades and labour jobs are making a comeback now.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

devolutionary the backlash to post-secondary education is just with the Republicans and has happened only in the last 2 years. Among the Democrats, it’s at 72% support having grown from 65% in 2010. Among Republicans it was at 58% support in 2010 and was slowly sliding downwards but above 50%.

Then in 2015 support among Republicans started sliding downwards until only 36% supported it while 58% were against universities and colleges. Also the poll question is: “Colleges and universities have a positive/negative effect on the way things are going in the country”.

People are wondering how much conservative news media coverage or Republicans or Trump’s take on post-secondary education might have been responsible for this abrupt change. I know that they often complain about out of touch elites, but I don’t know if that has now also included the educated somehow. Has post-secondary education now become a conservative/liberal issue in the US?

devolutionary
Guest

I don’t doubt that the Republicans are primarily pushing the agenda but I don’t think there’s unanimous sentiment that throwing more relative cash at the problem is going to make this go away. I’m not in favour of budget cuts either but the government needs to refocus on fields and expertise that other countries are advancing in (ie: STEM); tangental to your sci-fi comment. US has been near or at the top of education expenditures since 2010, interest rates notwithstanding. I think this is a systemic issue with the quality of secondary education students are receiving. And then there’s the question of tuition and enrollment costs to pursue post-secondary.
I’m sure the 2008 recession played the major factor:
https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/01/where-school-dollars-go-to-waste/384949/
https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66
https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2016/01/14/federal-education-funding-where-does-the-money-go
https://data.oecd.org/eduresource/private-spending-on-education.htm#indicator-chart

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Thanks Matt Brown for years of Destroy All Monsters columns. It’s been great column and I’ll miss it.

As for anti-education sediment in the US, there’s a famous quote from science fiction writer Isaac Asimov:

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.” This was from a column that Asimov wrote for Newsweek back in 1980. In the article he attacks the new buzzwords in American politics “Don’t trust the experts!” and labeling anyone who is smart as an elitist. Asimov jokes that the general public wasn’t too aware of the word elitist (at least in 1980) and that anyone using the word might actually be a closet elitist who is feeling guilty for having gone to school.

This has been an ongoing issue in the US and Canada hasn’t been completely immune to it either. It’s just grown recently and become that much stronger. Also as I pointed out in the other post, it’s become something that has specifically grown very quickly among Republicans in the last 2 years. So it’s not just the case of people growing up this way, but of people changing to think this way when they didn’t back in 2014.

Speaking of China, here’s another longer quote from an author writing a column, this time Neil Gaiman writing for the Guardian about fiction & books:
“I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.”

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