Dumb is Cool, It Starts Early – A Venting Post

December 14, 2011

I am very proud of my son (4.5) and daughter (7). They are both wonderful children. This year my daughter started first grade and she took on reading like a hurricane, she even participated in an Author Q&A segment on her old man’s blog. In four short months she went from reading books with three words on a page to reading chapter books.

Both my wife and I are amazed and are thankful for her wonderful teacher as well as content in seeing our labor (we take homework very seriously in our house) bearing fruits. This has been a tough year and the way our daughter is loving her school, teacher and classmates as well as being popular is one of the brightest spots in our lives currently.

Yesterday my wife picked up our daughter and her friend from school. Our daughter proudly opened up a book and her friend made a nasty comment. Of course my wife intervened immediately but that has gotten me thinking (a dangerous past time…).

Something really has to be done to make “smart” cool. I remember in my high-school when someone readily admitted to getting a “D” but the “A” students were embarrassed to say so.

It is a sad reality and I want my kids to be proud in their achievements, scholastic or otherwise. As Walt Whitman so eloquently said: “If you done it, it ain’t bragging” or young Clark Kent said in the classic Superman: The Motion Picture[I]s it showing off if somebody’s doing the things he’s capable of doing? Is a bird showing off when it flies?

We banned Disney’s The Suite Life on Deck because one of the characters on the show is a ditsy girl which our daughter found hilarious and started imitating. I keep telling her that people on TV are idiots and try to keep tabs on what is being watched/said/read/repeated in our household but of course our domain is limited and sometimes you just want 20 minutes of quite.

What does it say about our society that this type of “dumb is cool” attitude starts so early?

Zohar – Man of la book

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12 Comments

  • Spangle December 14, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I have often thought the same. Why is it that characters who are considered to be smart and read books, are portrayed as spotty, glass wearing and generally unattractive, where as those ‘cool’ people are completely the opposite?

    The media thrives on depicting people who are visibly attractive, but half of the time lack any brain cells whatsoever (a prime example is ‘The Only Way Is Essex’, a show that is such drivel that it makes my blood boil). What sort of message is this sending to our future generation?

    Good for you for trying to teach your children a different sort of message!

  • Che December 14, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I feel a huge rant coming on but I’m going to try and rein it in 🙂 You’ve totally hit the nail on the head here. The media is constantly flooding us with people who are ‘fun’ and ‘cool’ which seems to be a synonym for stupid. I’m glad your kids think books are cool and more power to you for teaching them to value their intellect.

  • Carol December 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    It’s sad that it starts so young, isn’t it? I do think it’s great that you’re paying attention and doing what you can to counteract what your daughter sees and hears.

    My daughter’s 11, but has never cared for any of those Disney shows, at least so far.

  • Suzanne December 14, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    It’s too bad there isn’t a Disney show that shows that smart is cool; not that I would promote TV watching for kids but perhaps it would change some minds.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book December 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

      I don’t promote TV watching either but it’s just so damn convenient sometimes. I think that age appropriateness also has a lot to do with it, young children like to watch shows for older kids.

  • Sam (Tiny Library) December 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    As a teacher, I could not agree more. If smart was cool, my job would be so much easier and children would achieve much more. Don’t know how to do it though …

    • Zohar - Man of la Book December 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

      Easy, mandate that parents have to involved in the school and have the students “own” the school by doing janitorial/construction tasks

  • Jonathan December 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Agree 100%. We need to bring back the 18th century when being educated was the “in” thing to do.

  • Jennifer, bookspersonally December 22, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Oh this drives me crazy, though I think by and large parents and teachers do their best to model and encourage being smart. Keep holding up the cool/smart role models of the world and just keep encouraging.

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