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I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool

Thursday, April 10, 2008

America's Aversion Toward Intellectualism

I've blogged about my fascination with the movie "Idiocracy" before. This morning, I was forwarded a fantastic essay in SLC Today about how brave it was of Obama to make a speech at 10:30 AM on a weekday, which he wrote himself, about race that referenced Jim Crow and William Faulkner; brave because people have become aggressively anti-intellectual. Here is a great excerpt from the essay:

"Here is a nation founded by an eerily atypical cadre of intellectuals — Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin and their ilk — who not only had read the Greeks but also had absorbed them, who had read Locke and Voltaire and were building a nation along Enlightenment principles.

Here is a nation that has been led by that archetypal American hero, the self-made man: the Lincoln who strides out of the backwoods with an ax on his shoulder and a book in his hand; the Truman who failed as a farmer, failed as a haberdasher but somehow, because he read widely and deeply, had the wisdom to help rebuild a shattered world.

And now, here is this same nation, led by a man who can't correctly pronounce the word 'nuclear' and who once told an interviewer that he avoids reading newspapers because they're full of 'opinions.'

This is not to say that President Bush is stupid, only that he is profoundly intellectually incurious, willing to substitute belief for science, ideology for fact. And in this, he is typical of his age."



Brian said...

I forget where I read it (I think Time magazine), but there was a really great essay a few years ago about how one of the big reasons Gore lost to Bush was because he was too intellectual -- seemed too much like that kid who always screwed up the curve in class, whereas screw-up doofus GWB was more relatable. Sad, really, but I guess that's why pollsters conduct that whole "Who would you rather have a beer with?" survery.

Neal Taflinger said...

Another, "no shit" moment from Obama. I don't know if "Bitter-gate" is big news elsewhere, but I am liking the fact that Obama makes statements of fact that so deeply upset people.