Why Do We Reward Stupidity?

by Ashley Fern

In America, not only is stupidity not frowned upon, but it's encouraged. Reality shows like "The Jersey Shore" and "Buckwild" reward stupidity. This has become a part of American culture that we cannot seem to shake off. The detrimental part is that there are probably more people who watch these programs than who go out to vote.

For some reason, our society pays greater attention to things that are completely irrelevant and stupid as opposed to things that are of true value. Why is this personal trait promoted within society? Does America purposely encourage stupidity?

News and television promote this concept all day every day and it needs to stop. Many popular television programs exploit this same idiotic behavior. Marissa Powell, more notably Miss Utah, has shocked the world with her beyond incoherent answer during the Miss USA pageant. Why was someone this stupid given a time slot on the "Jimmy Fallon" show? Is this really what we want to promote on television?

Having the ability to laugh at your own shortcomings is a sign of a person who has come to realize his own limitations and that is somewhat commendable. But look at programs like "Honey Boo Boo" and "16 & Pregnant." It is not funny to be that dumb and irresponsible but of course it is entertaining to watch a person act dumb.

Perhaps the motive behind this is to allow us to make light of our personal shortcomings, to show us we are not alone and that there are normal people on television. However, when you really think about it, are they in fact trying to say that this is the level that average society is on? That most of our culture can only handle this minimal level of intelligence?

The idea that dumb is funny or cool has been instilled in people’s minds from an early age: for example, cartoons glorify stupidity, promoting that this is in fact funny or clever. Mental stimulation and challenges are the factors that need to be promoted constantly not this ridiculous nonsense.

The influence the media have over our daily lives is overwhelming. On the economic side of things, television is in fact a product and with any product you need to satisfy a demand from your target group. Television shows that promote stupidity receive greater ratings than those that do not. Is television the cause of stupidity or is it the byproduct, a symptom of this trait present in society? If it is in fact a bit of both, then what can anyone even do about it?

Our society rewards stupidity with fame and fortune. Why is Kim Kardashian famous? She made a sex tape with an ex-boyfriend and it got out. The same can be said of Paris Hilton. These social climbers have no real intelligence. All they have done is capitalize on idiotic mistakes they have made in their lives. Look at Farrah Abraham, she is famous because she is a teen mother? Why is that idea publicized? She actively sought out a professional adult entertainer so she could make a grade-A porno. Great model for her daughter, really.

Knowledge is true power; those who think outside the realms of what we currently have define our future while the rest follow in their footsteps. Ignorance is bliss in that people fail to acknowledge anything that falls outside their base.

Real education and real brainpower are hard to build, which is why so many people simply avoid it. Would you expect these people to glorify those who chose the hard route? No, they would rather praise the fool for this is where they are comfortable the most. The promotion of stupidity is not all that farfetched since it is the default of human behavior.

All we need is the bare minimum to survive. That is all that nature and evolution factors in, the rest is up to society. Americans feel as if they have already achieved more than the rest of the world, so the motivation to go further and to do more and to be smarter is just missing, so the average “intelligence” becomes glorified.

“Capitalism says rich people are justified earning vastly more than commoners because the intelligence of rich people deserves greater monetary acknowledgement, but this assertion is false. Stupid people accept their false-inferior-status because they are stupid, and by accepting their stupidity they become more stupid. This is why humans are becoming more stupid with every passing year. This is why the divide between rich and poor is increasing. The stupidity of poor people allows capitalists to financially penalize poor idiots, which is an outrageous injustice. If everyone possessed intelligence nobody would accept low-pay (unequal pay). Businesses and politicians have a strong incentive to promote stupidity for masses of workers because fools happily perform low-paid brain-dead jobs.”

It is the lowest common denominator that garners the greatest reward. The promotion of such idiocy is a manifestation of the acceptability of mediocrity. Is this a byproduct of capitalism gone awry? Is it the goal of society to dumb down media and other entertainment vessels to keep people dumb, dull and addicted to consumerism they cannot hope to afford? Stupid people are the basic premise of capitalism and by keeping people this way, you can seek to control them.

As in most things in life, nature tends to follow the path of least resistance and for most people, unfortunately, it is easier to be less smart. People also tend to simply listen to the loudest voice. More often than not, the smartest voice is not usually the loudest.

There needs to be a demand to end the perpetual cycle of promoting stupidity. America has such great potential, but chooses not to engage or embrace it in every aspect of life. The direction that media outlets are going needs to be reassessed and reevaluated. Until this is rectified, the promotion of this concept will never end.