Where America once lead the world in education and the cutting edge of technology, we have been dumbed down for so long that we are now at the level of some Third World Nations or below that status. More money is spent on bombs and foreign affairs than domestic education and the results should be frightening.
But not many are frightened, because too many Americans are just stupid.
In addition, American people have become lazy. And because of our laziness and dumbing down, we expect to be entertained at every turn.
Advertising is delivered in song, but much of it is delivered in humor, even when dealing with serious products or services.
Corporate meetings have to be quick-paced, and conventions must be laced with entertainment to keep the attention of the ADD masses.
Morning radio shows are no longer simply music, news and traffic–the pressure is on to make the audience laugh. And, even the most serious of presentations–the morning and evening news–are now delivered in most cases with humor.
Politicians can no longer focus on messages and promises, however empty. They must focus on being entertaining, good looking and engaging.
We saw evidence of this in the 2004 election, when old ragged-face John Kerry had his face cosmetically enhanced in order to become more appealing to the dumb-ass masses. We also saw it in the 2008 elections, when stupid ass Sarah Palin was trotted on the world stage with an emphasis on her alleged good looks, even though she was as dumb as a jelly donut.
Our schools have to take special care to keep the lesson plans moving swiftly, competing with the pace set by television and computer games, even if the message is a bit cloudy or missed by the majority.
Where previous generations of children were given age appropriate entertainment for children, today's youth are given access to violent and sexual entertainment beyond their years.
In previous times, the average citizen placed primary needs above entertainment–the need for assistance, freedom, education and enlightenment as well as the need for cures for the most threatening diseases. Now, we fear being bored more than we fear death itself.
Amusement parks build faster, scarier and more dangerous rides, while the people line up for them, ignoring the crash test dummies that fell apart or got necks snapped during testing. Reality television shows promise to present real people in real activities, ranging from eating bugs and pig intestines, to risking life or at least limb in risky stunts, or to be overly sexual for trinkets and trash or for nothing at all.
We talk about keeping it "real," but very little is actually real. Very little exists simply because it exists. Much of what we do, think, wear and say is developed for corporate benefit, even as we imagine that we have individual thought and freedom of expression. Even most of the people's politics and religious views are shaped by mega-corporations, while the people defend beliefs they don't really understand with tooth and nail.
Critical thinking and independent thought are rare in a world of social seeding and engineered popular culture.
Yes, popular culture, which once developed organically from Black culture, is now artificially stimulated, taking backward portions of Black mis-socialization into the mainstream.
This may explain forty and fifty year old men and women who would rather wear silly hairstyles and ridiculous clothing, claiming to be "ghetto" and "real," instead looking like clowns, duped into foolish behavior symptomatic of arrested development.
This may also explain why many of us have begun to turn on our own people. The likes of neo-Black Conservatives, who are really radical activists for change attack every effort made by anyone to deal with real issues faced by the Black community, operating under the false reality that America really is one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
And sadly, this explains why Black people can tell jokes of how perfect white people are, leading to a punchline of how dysfunctional Black people are in comparison and Black people will pack the house to laugh.
But there was a time when we were searching for something greater than what we are.
Where we once set lofty goals to surpass the best of us, now, we define ourselves by how good we look in comparison to the worst of us.
And, instead of working to make things better, we turn to anything that will allow an escape–especially comedy.
So, perhaps it feels good to laugh because the world is so difficult. But while the people are laughing, the joke is on them. The world economy is in the toilet, while a few continue to get richer and many continue to get poorer.
This nation is slowly but surely becoming a police state as civil rights are being offered up by the frightened masses who are barely aware and stolen from those who are happily asleep.
Our children are fed over-processed garbage devoid of nutrition and given little activity and then the obese are defended because they shouldn't be made to "feel bad."
Most of America's youth are undereducated and ill-prepared to compete on a global level, yet we blame the children of poverty for poor schools while the nation spends more on defense than school improvement or teachers' salaries and more to bailout failing corporations than on after school programs or books.
The nation is creating a subculture of undereducated, underemployed people who are finding it hard to remain hopeful, while those who have better chances and better choices b*tch and moan about how the poor make it hard for the "rest of us."
But the great equalizer is coming as global greed and manipulation for power go into the end game. Those without are prepared because they have already been functioning with worn out tools. Those who have or pretend to have and lose will be harmed greatly because they were looking for the laughter while the situation kept getting sadder and sadder.
Sad, but they won't wake up until it is too late and they are left with broken lives for which they will continue to use medication or alcohol, spending or sex, gambling or comedy to pretend it away, looking for the punchline because they have been punched while in line.
A bunch of pathetic, stupid, laughing Americans.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology "Notes From The Edge." He released his first mini-movie, "Crack," and will soon release his first full-length documentary. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at firstname.lastname@example.org.