Fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress<, Charles Simic, in the NYT Review of Books, the blog:
Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal. It’s no use pretending otherwise and telling us, as Thomas Friedman did in the Times a few days ago, that educated people are the nation’s most valuable resources.
I translate this mention of the Mustache to “He takes the pigeons’ paycheck then argues to be their King.” Simic is too busy to bother so he goes on.
An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country… For starters, there’s more money to be made from the ignorant than the enlightened, and deceiving Americans is one of the few growing home industries we still have in this country. A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business.
Bad for Sarah Palin. For Ted Cruz. Michele Bachmann. Steve King. All these barracuda are richer than Midas because they learned to preach viciousness to the mob. It’s not so much the tawdriness of politics as it is the business of fame.
In the past, if someone knew nothing and talked nonsense, no one paid any attention to him. No more. Now such people are courted and flattered by conservative politicians and ideologues as “Real Americans” defending their country against big government and educated liberal elites. The press interviews them and reports their opinions seriously without pointing out the imbecility of what they believe. The hucksters, who manipulate them for the powerful financial interests, know that they can be made to believe anything, because, to the ignorant and the bigoted, lies always sound better than truth:
Christians are persecuted in this country.
The government is coming to get your guns.
Obama is a Muslim.
Global Warming is a hoax.
The president is forcing open homosexuality on the military.
Schools push a left-wing agenda.
Social Security is an entitlement, no different from welfare.
Obama hates white people.
The life on earth is 10,000 years old and so is the universe.
We’re overrun with the mole people. Anybody have any idea what to do with them? Will they spontaneously form seawalls, or do they float? What about thickeners for concrete? Maybe drainage channels? Wind breaks?