978-0-393-03829-3 / 9780393038293

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About the book:

The idea that American culture is entering a great age of stupidity is something we hear everyday, but what distinguishes this collection of essays on that theme is the diversity of the commentators (and the damage they survey) and the wit exhibited in their reports. Noted essayist Phillip Lopate reports on Hollywood as afraid or merely unwilling to present characters who happen to be intelligent; Ken Kalfus writes about how Star Trek exhibits took the place of real science at the esteemed Hayden Planetarium; and Jonathan Rosen offers a controversial essay arguing that tragedy is trivialized by such institutions as the Holocaust Museum. While Dumbing Down contains more than 20 insightful essays delineating how American culture is being degraded, the effect is not depressing, but rather hopeful, in the sense that problems must be identified before they can be fixed.

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