The Rambofication and Dumbing Down of Public Discourse and News

the rambofication of public debate

In recent years, the Rambofication and dumbing down of public discourse has taken over the manner in which we dissent with one another. The lack of critical skill development at all levels of schooling today from primary school to high school to university and graduate school levels leaves all of us extremely vulnerable to the phenomenon that I call the rambofication of public discourse, in which we are constantly asked to pick a side that represents our side of “good” while the opposition is labeled as “evil” by our side. Not joining a side in an emotionally heated debate, in which feelings predominate, ad hominem attacks abound, and facts are scarce, is increasingly being labeled as unacceptable behavior, with the intellectual response of “I don’t know” to questions in which our knowledge and understanding is incomplete, is also increasingly being rejected. \

Consequently, we are huttled, much like cattle, into embracing strong, inflexible stances on topics about which we virtually know nothing, the mark of an ignorant society. Furthermore, mass media is complicit in the ignorant manner in which we often debate topics with one another today, as media “pundits” aggressively encourage us to pick sides in many issues they present, through their deliberate dumbing down and distillation of extremely complex events with very complex origins, like the coup in Bolivia, the ousting of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the student protests of Hong Kong, into very simple and conflicting perspectives and sensationalistic soundbites that reside at opposite ends of the ideology spectrum and that additionally are often more propaganda than truth.

With almost no discussion of the wide spectrum of ideas and facts that exist in the middle of these two extremes, the mass media goads us into picking a side, even when we have no idea of the truth about the event and are consequently goaded into acting like an anti-intellectual whose arguments and opinions about a topic has been completely constructed on the blind parroting and acceptance of information,  truthful or not, spoon fed to us by the media. The rambofication of public discourse has destroyed civility and humanity in society and our ability to communicate our disagreements in a thoughtful and intellectual manner without our disagreements breaking down into volatile bouts of expressed anger and chaos.

This is a problem that will lead to complete disorder in the near future, as when economic chaos afflicts the world in 2020, the political leaders that divide us the most and that cast the greatest aspersions upon undeserving scapegoats for the economic decline in a nation will ultimately rise to power on the backs of this ignorance. If we really desire the key pillars of civilization to continue, like free speech, order, and the rule of law, then we need to reverse the process of the dumbing down of public discourse, starting today, before this generally accepted model leads to a violent societal breakdown.

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J. Kim

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