Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dumb Americans

Are Americans dumb?

I can’t say for sure if they are. Most of the people I meet seem to have some semblance of intelligence and are capable of holding their own in a debate. However, having said that, some extremely eminent scholars (most of them either Americans or Europeans) seem to believe, with sufficient reason, that the “allegations” are not baseless or pointless.

1. Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and ethologist, born March 26th, 1941 in Nairobi, Kenya (a place that holds fond memories for me, personally), holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding Of Science at Oxford University. A champion of the modern atheist movement, he has managed to acquire the epithet, “Darwin’s Rottweiler”.

Richard Dawkins is the author of nine books (among a multitude of essays), some of which include The Selfish Gene (1976), The Blind Watchmaker (1986) and his most recent, The God Delusion (2006).

Richard Dawkins in his documentary “The Root of All Evil?” claims that over 40% of the American population believes in creationism and is averse to the idea of evolution. I have been unable to find the exact resources to prove those numbers (though I am sure I will find something on Dawkins’ site), it is interesting to note that in 1999, The Kansas State Board of Education deleted evolution from its science standards. There are American web-sites claiming that man and dinosaurs co-existed. Some of these sites claim dinosaur sightings.

2. Scott Ritter

Scott Ritter is famous for his stint as chief weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-’98 and also for his open statements denying Iraq’s WMD’s even prior to an Iraq attack. He is well known for his stand on the Iraq war as well as the US policy on Iran.

Scott Ritter has also served in the US military and Intelligence divisions and is now highly vocal on his views over Iran and a possible attack and is not only against attacking them (or N. Korea for that matter) but has stated more than once that both N. Korea and Iran are well within their legal rights to pursue their nuclear interests and places the blame squarely on the Clinton and following Bush administrations for the political unrest in the middle east and around the world. He has also stated that the US government is solely responsible for the mercury rising in the Middle East in spite of the Ayatollah’s (Supreme Leader of Iran) bids for peace and diplomatic discussion.

Scott Ritter believes that the American public is ignorant as to the ground realities in the Middle East and the regime-changing foreign policy of the US government. He further believes that the American public can be easily made to jump onto the Iran bashing band wagon (like Iraq before) by the media propaganda and chest beating uber-patriotic speeches as against their dissuasion against a possible attach by virtue of a more rational voice of reason

3. Youtube

Youtube.com certainly has its own set of people that think Americans are dumb. Loads of videos suggesting the same have been found around the web. Now, it might be highly possible that these are just exaggerations, or perhaps even staged events (though I don’t know who the above mentioned uber-patriotic person would be willing to stage something like this), but all of it is really amusing nonetheless. This one probably doesn’t hold as much weight as the first two, but I am sure people will spend more time on this one than reading or researching on the first two. And that is because… people are stupid. Perhaps I should add a people=stupid tag on my sidebar too.

4. Creationism

Now these videos aren’t necessarily indicative of American stupidity, but rather religious bigotry. I humbly accept. However in a country where a majority of its people believe in the very same religion and practice the same bigotry, it can’t be shielded away from looking stupid. And if you care to watch the next video, you will notice it is a New Zealander questioning the “stupid” viewpoints of the clergy.

5. George Carlin

The 70 year old stand-up comedian is known for his critique of the US foreign policy, and often of religion. Carlin, in many of his stand-up routines, has poked fun at the “dumb” American.

I think Carlin’s humor is sufficient enough that I don’t need to elaborate anymore.

6. George Bush

This man needs no introduction. Most of you’ll are already thinking a) How does dubya being stupid make the rest of America stupid? and b) When did dubya call the american people dumb?

He didn’t call the American people dumb (AFAIK) and is probably quite intelligent (perhaps not articulate and has some learning disorders), to be as successful as he is. Perhaps it is all due to his father’s power and fame, but then I have heard before that he too was “stupid”, perhaps to a lesser degree.

As for how him being “stupid” making the American people stupid, that’s not it. The fact that he has been re-elected makes them stupid. The fact that he has them believing that they are fighting a war on terror (rather than a war of terror, in the words of Borat), that they give a damn about democracy or people’s rights around the world. If anyone believes that these wars (I would as easily call them acts of terrorism, as any other) are for the good of anyone other than the United States (and just a select few at that), then this is certainly a good indicator of how much Americans think (rather than the lack of brains).

7. Borat

George walker was going to be the last entry in that list, until I quoted Borat’s speech. That movie certainly had the rest of the world believing that the Americans are really dumb and think they are know-it-alls.

In conclusion, do I think now, that Americans are dumb? Probably not. Actually, I am pretty sure they are not. If anything, they are ignorant and some Americans think they have the right to be.


Naina said...

Hey Annudh Kabag,

The Sardars of the world can handover the mantle to the americans ... i hope they (americans)will be able to handle the jokes ha ha

Simply Luna-tik ! said...

Rightly said, they are more ignorant...!!!

And i.e. why they are stupid... :p

angry ballerina said...

I can take it. While you may think that we are "ignorant" and "stupid" the vast majority of Americans cringe when we are labeled as thus. I don't consider myself to be ignorant, or stupid, while there are plenty of Americans who are, those are the ones who chose not to think for themselves and open their mouths with a closed mind. I hate how other people look at this country and it's inhabitants, we are really not all that bad, just the dickheads in charge and the assholes who let them get there.

The Depressed Doormat said...

@Naina: The sardars aren’t as bad as the Americans. They are just a lot more physical than the rest of the Indians. Hence you see them participating in sports, enrolling in the army etc. And since they do not as often partake in more intellectual spheres, they are deemed stupid. But it is clearly visible that they are far from dumb. But the stereotype has stuck on.

@Lunatik: That's certainly one way to look at it.

@Angry: Perhaps, but I don’t think that the minority is dumb. I think it is the minority of Americans that have the ability to think and that is the reason they are finding it as hard as they are, to bring about a change in this “stereotype”.