Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Reality TV: Ignoramus No More

You have seen make-over, reality TV shows: ugly ducklings become darlings; fat losers become thin winners. Of course, I have not seen any, but I have read about them. I propose a new version of this genre: Ignoramus No More.

1. The program finds the most stupefied, addled, ignoramus available. This should not be difficult. Find someone who went to a public (statist) school, watches hours of TV a day, plays video games endlessly, listens to rap, and is addicted all manner of popular culture. Igoramus must be of average intellilgence (insofar as that is possible to ascertain).

2. Isolate Ignoramus from all popular culture for three months. A special compound will be built for this task.

3. Make Ignoramus read challenging books by classic authors such as Augustine, Aquinas, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Dostoevsky, T.S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis as well as the entire Bible. He keeps a running vocabulary book, writing down and defining words he does not know. The book will likely contain hundreds of entries. He must also memorize key passages from this literature.

4. Ignoramus must spend long periods of time not sleeping, not meditating (in the Eastern sense) not reading, not exercising, but sitting and thinking.

5. Ignoramus must listen to audio courses on things he knows nothing about: Western civilization, the history of philosophy, and the history of art.

6. Ignoramus is tutored by experts in the above subjects. He must write papers on these subjects and pass oral examinations on them as well. No multiple choice or true/false examinations will be given.

7. Ignoramus is given lessons in speaking well. His present vocabulary is expunged of "I mean," "you know," "um," "awesome," and other emotive vacuities. Instead, he learns how to speak in complete sentences with aptly chosen words, spoken at the proper time.

8. After this three-month immersion, Ignoramus gives a one hour speech on prime time TV concerning the results of his immersion into this strange world of learning.


Mike said...

Don't know if I'm an ignoramus or not, but I'd like to sign up for that anyway!

Ken Lewis said...

Ahhh. I see. You are looking for a Democrat to participate in this show. May I suggest that as part of the audio courses the particpant be required to listen to every available lecture by Ron Nash?

I'm kidding about the Democrat part. Sort of.

Dr. Groothuis, have a warm, wonderful Christmas. May all your wishes come true.

Sarah Schoonmaker said...

This is a spectacular ignoramus detox program/TV show! I think a totalitarian law worth instigating would be to mandate that all high school seniors attend the summer ignoramus detox program. For those who missed the new requirement, they may participate in the reality TV show.

In #4, I think some exercise should be allowed because physical health influences mental ability. Also, I would mandate training in critical thinking, grammar & spelling, basic financial management, and nutrition (fueling the body well is important).

Yesterday, I designated the ignoramus award to an individual for the following statement directed at my commentary about the absurdity of the Christmas holiday, especially as it is celebrated in America: "you intellectuals worry too much about life making sense when it never will. Who cares what the history is behind Christmas, people mold traditions of other cultures into their own in order to celebrate family and friends, so just lighten up and enjoy the holiday." EPIC FAIL.


Steve Schuler said...

Your proposed course of cultural upheaval and study, which might likely result in a person remade more in your own image, got me to thinkin'. I know, poor grammar, but it is what you post got me to doin'!

So what kind of cultural and circumstantial upheaval might be necessary that would result in the begining of a transformation into a wiser, and possibly kinder, person for those of us who have enjoyed the privileges of living the life of Western Intellecuals?

Perhaps, like the Ignoramus in your allegory, we all could benefit from a crash course into a culture and circumstances far removed from the world we have become too accustomed to and take too much for granted.

Here is one possible scenario:

Selected intellectual is transported to a distant and strange land. Strange culture, strange customs, strange religion. Stranger in a Strange Land!

Doesn't speak the language.

Holds no currency. (Thanks, Paul Simon!)

Completely stripped of all literary resources, physical and digital.

Must adapt and survive in their new environment with only his/her intellectual, emotional, and physical resources.

Time period? Let's say three years. Long enough to allow deep experience and lasting changes to be manifest.

Up for the challenge?

Not me!

But then again, I'm not advocating an immersion experience to convert dulled, secular citizens into people like me!

If you find this stick too sharp, just consider who is poking it.

No harm intended.

Just something to think about...

As always,
Laugh if You are Able!!!


Bill said...

MTV actually had a show called from "G's to Gents" which kinda touched on this theme, but it was a very trashy show. I like your idea much better, Doug!

One of things that bothers me about television, and frankly America, is somehow along the way, being smart became uncool. Recently I was watching a program on CNN and some minority leaders were talking about how in certain parts of their culture, sounding educated makes you "sound white," and that educated minorities were being harassed in their community for being a sell-out/Uncle Tom, etc. How sad is that? Education is the best way to defeat poverty, unemployment, and the recession--not to mention it enables you to live a richer, fuller life.

I don't like TV programs that celebrate idiocy or stooping to the lowest common denominator. I'd love to see a TV show that focuses on positive outcomes and improving one's life, not just winning money or being manipulative or achieving one's 15 minutes of fame. You referenced The Biggest Loser in your posting--that show rewards people for becoming healthier (the easiest and cheapest way to reform healthcare, by the way), it'd be great to see a show that rewards individuals for getting smarter and more educated.

I think your show idea would get great ratings (which I'm sure Doug would hate) and be a positive message for America.

Dante said...

Haha, that sounds like a lot of fun. But I don't think three months would be enough. Six months perhaps, or a year.

Jim Pemberton said...

I would be interested in a study, from a Christian worldview of course, to determine the contribution good education has toward Godly wisdom. It may be interesting to see how relatively uneducated individuals fare with the normalization of an educated lifestyle. However, I'm skeptical of any supposition that it will result in the sort of wisdom whereby a human is humbled of self and learns that God is to be glorified in all things without that such cause and effect is reasonably observed to be likely.