Ever since I first watched ‘Idiocracy‘, I’ve noticed that as time goes on, I’m seeing parallels. Now, as most people know, once you’ve seen a movie or read a book, you tend to find things that remind you of it, just like when you buy a new car you’re suddenly aware of how many people on the road have the exact same car. However, recently, it’s become even more evident to myself and others that we have a growing problem on our hands.

This is our future, people. - 'Idiocracy'
This is our future, people. – ‘Idiocracy’

For awhile I’ve noticed the dumb commercials, TV shows, and other pieces of “entertainment” replacing smart humor or wit with fart jokes and other crudeness. Don’t get me wrong, the occasional well placed crude joke can be hilarious, but when some shows use that as the basis of its entire line of humor, it goes too far. I’ve also been on the internet quite a bit and read more than my fair share of comment sections. What has really started worrying me began with an announcement:

President Camacho, is that you?
President Camacho, is that you? (The missing apostrophe has not eluded me. But it is somewhat coincidental, no?)

That’s right. Kanye for president, 2020. Popularity stunt? Possibly. Expected? Not at all. Impossible? My fear is that it isn’t. Although I’m not the biggest Kanye fan myself, he does have a huge following. We’ve seen what celebrity influence can do, that’s why they use celebrities for endorsements. I would love to think that the American people wouldn’t possibly allow this to happen, but I’m starting to lose hope, because then I saw this viral video that’s making its way through social media:

I’m SO hoping she’s just being a troll. I hope this is fake with every fiber of my being. There is NO WAY this can be real, right? Right?! I mean, my kids learned the planets in pre-school, and this girl looks to be at least a preteen, if not a full fledged teenager. I could kind of understand the pound weight versus currency thing but, … no, no I can’t. I don’t understand that either. I just can’t get over the words that are coming out of her mouth.

Then, I stumbled onto this article from Gizmodo detailing how most Americans have failed this science quiz (by most, they mean a little over 3000, which is not nearly enough to constitute most). So, I took the quiz (you can, too, if you click that link). I thought, “Okay, maybe there are some weird left-field type questions on here.” Nope. These are all questions I remember being taught in high school or college. Here are the stats I screen grabbed after I finished the test.

There were two or three kind of tough questions, so I understand the results.

Although there were a few toughies in there, I’m more than surprised at the overall results. There were mostly “common” science questions asked, and yet there were quite a few people who got less than half of the answers correct. But, that’s science. Science is tough, right? And not everyone likes science. What about something else? How about literacy?

lit rates

I am floored right now. I knew that there were some people who have difficulty reading, but this is more than 1 in 10 adults in America who can’t read. What is going on? Where are we failing? We are in an amazing time with robotics, 3D printing, missions to outer space, electric cars, alternative fuel sources, and the Large Hadron Collider. Yet, we still have adults who can’t read for themselves or have no idea that the Earth’s core is the hottest portion of the Earth. This is not only appalling, but depressing.

As a self-described geek, I pride myself on acquiring knowledge on all things. I prefer some over others, but I want to know as much as I possibly can. I also have two children who I want to be able to learn as much as they can. I can’t imagine not being able to read. It would destroy my lust for knowledge, my self confidence, and my drive. We are failing as a people, and we need to fix this.

This isn't the answer. This is a lack of common sense.
This isn’t the answer. This is a lack of common sense.

The question, is how? We’ve instituted reading programs, common core, and a plethora of other programs, but the literacy rate hasn’t changed in over ten years. There have been studies done that show we are getting dumber as a people, year after year. We had a debate about this on the Computer Guru Radio Show awhile back on whether our technology shows we’re smarter than ever, or if we rely on it so much because we’re becoming less intelligent on the whole.

I don’t have all the answers, though I wish I did. I wish I could contribute to society in a way that makes everyone more intelligent, and that we as a human race could overcome all sorts of obstacles. But, I don’t. I’m just a girl with a computer and a growing concern.

What are your thoughts? Is there something we can do to improve, or are we headed for ‘Idiocracy’?



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