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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stupider means poorer

The bad news is that not only has it been scientifically measured that the English are getting stupider, after about 30,000 years of steady progress from the simple use of tools in Kent chalk pits up until David Blunkett took over at the Ministry of Edukashun, Edukashun, Edukashun. Since when...

A study in 2009 led by James Flynn himself and published in Economics & Human Biology compared IQ scores obtained by British teenagers in 1980 and 2008, using the same test. The average had declined by two points on average, but by as much as six points among teenagers in the top half of the IQ scale… a six-point decline in IQ would equate with a 0.3 per cent fall in GDP.

[From Received wisdom | Prospect Magazine]

It's the second point that's even more disturbing than the first. In the olden times, stupid people could contribute to the economy by farming and such like, but those days are over. We now have an economy where stupid people are unemployable, and that's a real problem for society. I suspect when we look back on this era from the perspective of the distant future we will be genuinely perplexed about the "design" of society. A welfare state that's gone horribly wrong -- leading to an overproduction of stupid people -- and an education system optimised for jobs that vanished a generation ago. There's probably no way back -- the English will vanish like the Easter Islanders, having created an environment that cannot support them -- but we may be able to launch a rearguard action if we take immediate steps. I don't know what these might be -- it's hard to think of ways to reduce the number of stupid people without veering into eugenics -- but one place to start might be to stop stupid people from voting. The political process is undermined by stupidity as it is, and as the population continues to get stupider than state actions will become further deranged.

One defence worth considering is immediate action to reduce the size of the state, so that there are fewer aspects of society for it be deranged about. If sectors such as health and education were not run by the government it would be much more difficult for stupid people to obtain control of them, and this would be much to our benefit I'm sure.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back chat

I hate chat shows. Former chat show host Paul O'Grady -- famous for creating the comic drag character "Lily Savage" -- made an acute observation about the nature of such entertainments.

I felt I was part of the PR machine. There was so much interference. They’d want this guest or that guest. Every question had to go through the lawyers. I was just another plug for someone’s book or film.

[From Paul O'Grady: Why did I give up the chat show? I couldn't stand the guests! | Mail Online]

This is why I don't watch chat shows, even Graham Norton who can be very funny on occasion. They should be banned from the BBC completely and only shown on ITV with an OFCOM warning that you are watching advertisements disguised as programmes.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sticks and stones

A few weeks ago, I happened to glance at the Motoring section of the Saturday Telegraph. I can't remember why, because I normally just chuck it into the recycling with Travel, Gardening, Vienna—Gateway to the East and such like. But anyway, I remember thinking it odd that noted left-wing BBC-style comedian Alexi Sayle was writing a column about motoring.

I called the president of Malawi a name he certainly wouldn’t hear at the Court of St James’s as he shot across my path.

[From Alexei Sayle: what your car says about you - Telegraph]

Well, sticks and stones, as they say. But hold on. Later I read that

The government of Malawi has officially confirmed the death of the country’s president, Bingu wa Mutharika. Government officials said Mutharika suffered a heart attack on April 5

[From Banda Sworn In as Malawi's President | News | English]

Coincidence? You be the judge. Personally, I found Alexi Sayle's swearing on his first album to be wonderful and expressive and listened to it many times, but I'd never realised how deadly his vernacular could be.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]