No-brainer: initial thoughts on the possible dumbing down of media and popular culture

28 Feb

“’Ere Mister, have you seen-…”
Not now Kid, I’ve got this blog to write, and can’t you see there’s a national crisis in progress with mass flooding and veteran sex criminals in the dock. It says here in the paper. But with the lack of flooding here in the north west, there are other concerns reaching my eyes and ears, and perhaps to anyone with a bit of intelligence.

Earlier I was stood queing in Boots, for their not-very-value-for-money ‘Meal Deal’, when I became struck by the rows of vacuously adorned magazines, revelling in people’s misery (usually famous people, or at least anybody who has ever appeared on television, probably once). Often these magazines featured women with no clothes on, which is problematic enough at the best of times, but even worse when it’s attached to a story bitching about how fat or thin they’ve become.

Add to that consideration a national music chart arguably full of the most disposable and uncreative dross ever heard in the history of the UK charts (and that includes ‘Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep’ and ‘How much is that doggy in the window?’) There is music of greater substance in there, as always, particularly the album chart. But it shares space with some music big on production values, but low on creative excitement or dignity. The charts are now more sanitized and homogenous than ever, with Simon Cowell’s X-Factor brand particularly dominating. Maybe things were always similar to this way, but the names were different and I might view their time with more fondness because it’s seen through the prism of nostalgia or just the easing of time. Who knows?

But never have a generation had so much knowledge and information at their fingertips, and yet a significant minority may never know any more than they would have before the digital revolution. Working in education, teaching and facilitating learning in an inner city college, I see this dichotomy first hand. Is this an unfair view, or I am I close to the truth? Could this just be me seeing things differently now that I am a little older? Most teenagers are vibrant passionate people, but I feel there is a dumbed down culture which is not inspiring some of them to investigate the many worlds of creative endeavour. Surely we can help change this. Instead the likes of the Kardashians and Peter Andre are projected as the kind of people we should be fascinated by. No offence to them, but really?

Perhaps this is a topic I could do well to contemplate further and offer thoughts on again in the near future. In the meantime, any views are as welcome as ever…

Now, where did that kid with the One Direction exclusive go?

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