Msnowe's Blog

stupid is as us americans

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on August 29, 2007

America is an incredibly ethnocentric, selfish, narcissistic nation. Other countries, continents, and peoples don’t seem to phase us much. The value of Life is apparently a shifting scale measured by our own prejudices. It’s a sad state of affairs when we hold the deaths of some people in a war more shocking than the deaths and injuries of others. But it happens every second of every day. But what happens when the narcissism itself dissolves in a puddle of stupidity? If American don’t even take the time to learn about even their own country, and certainly don’t bother to learn about other ones, what are they left with? The Miss Teen USA pageant is a perfect model for our society, like it or not (hopefully you don’t like it). Miss South Carolina, when asked why she thinks 1/5 of Americans can’t even locate the US on a world map, replied with a completely incoherent, grammar-less answer that encompassed the topics of South Africa, Iraq, Asian countries and “US Americans.” It seems that South Carolina was unable to answer the question, mostly likely because she was one of the one-fifth.

But really, we live in a miss teen pageant. And this isn’t just an accusation of our country’s obsession with, and over-estimation of the value of youth. Americans who don’t know where the US is on a world map don’t see the problem with it, as long as America itself is polished, primped, and ready to strut her stuff. As long as consumerism prevails, and the ease of access to all possible amenities continues, people won’t find it necessary to change. America has been given a gigantic dot to stand on within the world stage, and is content to pivot there indefinitely, with a large fake smile stiffening in the harsh spotlight (which is getting harsher due to our polution and the subsequent global warming).

America doesn’t value people who can adequately or intelligently answer the questions that those like South Carolina train-wrecked on. After all, this contestant was still able to come in fourth place. And if she is encouraged to be a certain way, and given benefits with cash and prizes, of course she will continue to perform the way she is expected. Politicians are the same way – put enough lobbyists in their paths, and soon all logic goes out the window in exchange for an apartment in NYC, a year’s supply of cosmetics, or perhaps a tiara. South Carolina, tactless and ignorant as she undoubtedly is, is not the true problem. We should pity her. Her bleached hair, peel-away face, and strategically tight clothing (or lack their of) is not the problem, but the final product of a corrupt system. South Carolina is not to blame, just as every state in our nation is a helpless victim- the regime of the overall pageant is the resident evil. It scores the girls/states on their appearance, and scant else. {It is important to point out, and make a distinction here: there of course is a problem with a sweeping accusal, because it is not a prerequisite for attractive people to be dumb, or not-so-attractive people to be bookish or intelligent. It is also true that sometimes attractive people use their looks, just as people who carry an erudite air use that to their advantage as well. And of course the beautiful, intelligent people are fearsome creatures to behold.} But these are all evaluations that have no chance against the large pageant machine of America. Look at our political elections. Luckily, the candidates haven’t strutted out in their bikinis or speedos quite yet, but look how we evaluate them – by their gender, race, age, grooming habits, etc. And we wonder why our government is slothful and ineffective, especially in the areas of education and health care, among many things. Don’t forget, our president can’t even pronounce the nuclear weaphons he vaguely threatens upon Middle Eastern leaders, whose names he also doesn’t know. We should be worried about those important final questions pulled out of the golden cage of world politics, not the poise and ability of a politcal contestant to flash a giant smile, or their amazing ability to shut off sweat glands during a debate. Instead of plastic parts (including their charge cards), we should be concerned with their brains and decision-making abilities. If we can’t agree where the US is, let’s at least agree to begin to map out a smarter future, based on concrete knowledge and tact, not the ephemeral.