Dumb and Dumber

Gerald Celente Major forces of change are clearly shaping the course of history, making it clear that it is more than just alleged global warming that’s heating things up. As the New Year began the flames of Mid-East war were being vigorously fanned. Beyond the decades old Israel-Palestinian battle, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has morphed into a guerilla war with no end in sight, fueling hatred for its actions among humiliated Arabs everywhere.

But most Americans aren’t prepared for what lies ahead since these were among the issues and topics that were pushed out of sight and not on their entertainment-occupied minds. Although they know that there are serious problems in the Mid-East and that their country is at war with Iraq, the majority population is blinded by patriotic fervor, partisan politics, and fixed ideologies that prevents it from finding truth and assessing consequences.

A mass media indoctrinated public, like Pavlov’s dog trained to react to the sound bites it is fed, are information ignorant except when it comes to directing their inquiring minds on the minutia of sports, TV, the movies, Hip Hop, Rap, Pop and the latest gollmy details of some fallen star: Michael Jackson’s misery, Kobe Bryant’s rape trial, the J. Lo and Ben breakup.

And, virtually nothing is being done to broaden the horizons, enrich the souls, bring beauty to the eyes and joy to the hearts of an intellectually challenged people existing in a cultural waste land.

The facts and figures tell the story of a nation overdosed on junk news and intellectually, spiritually and emotionally deprived.

It is said that art captures the true meaning of the human spirit, and it mirrors the spirit of its age. And, to learn about nay civilization all you have to do is look at where it directs it’s creative energy.

If this is true, the spirit in America is surviving on a respirator. Total annual state spending on the arts fell from a paltry $351 million per year in 2003 to a miserly $272 million for 2004.

On the federal level, the National Endowment for the Arts will spend $122.5 million this year. Imagine? A country of 285 million people with a GDP of $10.5 trillion spends statistically next to nothing for the arts.

Canada, with only 35.5 million people, spent $3.2 billion in 2001-2, or $3.2 billion in 2001-2, or $217 per citizen, on culture. The combined Canadian federal provincial funding totaled $6.8 billion, contrasting with a disgraceful $400 million combined federal and state outlay for the arts in the U.S.

But defining the spirit and energy of a civilization goes much deeper than the fine arts. Ancient Egypt left us its temple, pyramids and tombs; Medieval Europe its colossal gothic cathedrals; Renaissance Italy’s palaces, piazza’s, music and art, while the United States has given us Disney Land, McDonalds and Wal-Mart.

The squandered “creative energies” of America’s people can be seen everywhere you turn. The absence of art and culture is nation wide – every city and town is littered with millions of square miles of ugly big box stores, cities crammed with look-alike tall buildings, the suburbs are painted vanilla, the shopping malls are bland and gray. The nation wakes up to the drone of moronic morning show TV banter, and goes to sleep hearing the gushing praises from late night hosts over trivial lives of insipid “stars.” It is a nation rapidly moving into a state of decline – so speedy and swift that hardly anyone can see what is happening or wants to hear about it.

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