No Shit

What would we do without science?  From Italy:

A raft of new research shows that watching junky cable and other lowbrow TV is actually making people dumber — literally lowering their IQs.

Of course, some may say that this finding only applies to Italians — who were the ones studied — but somehow I’m pretty sure that it’s a universal phenomenon.  (Of course, I’m no scientist, so feel free to disagree with me.)

But as always, there’s an agenda:

“The language codes that were popularized by TV also made people much more susceptible to the populist party because they used very simple language,” Ruben Durante, one of the paper’s coauthors, said. “They used accessible language. And that can potentially be very powerful.”

I love that term:  “accessible language”.  In other words, people are more likely to be influenced by language they can actually understand, instead of by the circumlocution and orotundity found in, say, academic writing.  So those bloody ignorant peasants are going to respond more positively to “Build a wall!” than to “Multiculturalism can be fraught with a multiplicity of challenges”.

Quelle surprise.

I am reminded of the wonderful zinger (and I paraphrase):  “That argument is so indisputably, miserably wrong that it could only have been made by an intellectual.”  In this case, the statement is so blindingly obvious that it could only have been made by a scientist.


  1. Is there any evidence that watching television – anything at all on television – won’t lower your IQ?

  2. There are observers who are worried that interaction with the Web (including, but not just, “social media”) is affecting people’s attention spans, ability to focus, and other mental facilities. Quick response is gratifying, and if one gets accustomed to it, that can become almost addictive.

    This applies to all sorts of Web interaction, including a lot which is stuff one would do anyway, and is just naturally more convenient that way.

    Anything requiring a long commitment of time and attention becomes increasingly distasteful.

    I can see this in myself.

    I think about the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates: the format was

    A spoke for an hour in exposition.
    B spoke for an hour and half in exposition and response.
    A spoke for half an hour in response.

    (The two candidates alternated positions.)

    Would any modern audience accept this?

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