Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why is it cool to be unintelligent??

I ran across this video this morning.  It's of Reza Aslan being interviewed by Fox News about his new book.  Seriously, watch it.

Now, it is made PAINFULLY obvious by this video a few things:

  1. The interviewer didn't do much research into the book
  2. the interviewer dind't do much research into the man
  3. Reza Aslan is a biblical scholar who holds 4 degrees (Wikipedia has these listed: A BA from Santa Clara University, A Master in Theologial Studies from the Harvard Divinity School, An MFA from the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop and a PhD from UC Santa Barbara)
  4. ALL the newscaster cared about was the fact that the is Muslim.
The research, and his schooling didn't matter.  She seemed not even prepared to entertain the fact that he's done research.  It gets so bad that he starts to actually talk down to her.  


Because somewhere along the way America stopped valuing intelligence.

I started seeing it at the beginning of my teaching career, when the boys in the schools I was substituting in declared that being literate was akin to being disastrously uncool.  Yes, I said literate.  These boys declared that being able to read wouldn't help them to play professional sports, or get on a reality TV show.

Gone are the days when people could have intelligent debate.  Society seem to have gotten to a point where the person that says the most damning thing seems to win the argument.  Soundbites are more important than solid research and scholarship.

Now, don't get me wrong.  We have intelligent people in the world!  There are even intelligent celebrities!  (Natalie PortmanMayim Bialik, and Danica McKellar come immediately to mind.)  And apparently there are many geeky, nerdy people in Hollywood.  Example 1, Example 2, Example 3, Example 4 (seen to the right)

So there is hope.  Intelligence isn't lost.  But it does seem to be completely unimportant to many social groups.

Well, if you need me, I'm going to watch the extended Daily Show interview.  And maybe do some research.


Fallen Angel said...

I totally watched this when you posted it on Facebook. I was appalled!!! I couldn't believe that she didn't have any valid questions available and she quoted people (whom I had never heard of before), but the quotes were vague and proved no points.
What it also did was make Christians look bad (and conservatives to boot) because it made us look like we can't read an honest research study into the life of the man (God/man) who started it all for us. Because of this interview, I actually want to go and read the book! Don't judge a book by it's cover and don't knock it until you've read it.

-P.S. Sorry for the rant.

Meari said...

He's like a best seller on Amazon.com now, I think because of that failed interview!

And yay for an open mind! Thank you!!

Andrew said...

I'm guessing you've previously seen Craig Ferguson's explanation for this phenomenon: http://youtu.be/ROJKEwYEx8Q...