Back in the antiquated days of 2007, a television show burst upon the scene with the provocative title, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? By and large, the adults who competed proved that they weren’t. Which really says something, considering that today’s 5th graders aren’t exactly well educated.
The popular program was hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who achieved notoriety through his “You might be a redneck if…” jokes. Foxworthy, like many a comedian smarter or not smarter than a 5th grader, recognized that there was gold in gently ridiculing the intelligence, habits, and appearance of “rednecks.” After all, to be a redneck, you have to be White. And devoid of fantastic riches. So they’re fair game. And with the culture effectively banning comedy routines directed at any other group, where else are you going to go? Just imagine what would have been the reaction if Foxworthy tried, “You might be a ghetto rat….” or “You might be an illegal….”
But the point of the show was to demonstrate, as if it needed more demonstrating, that American adults are woefully ignorant. This goes back to Steve Allen’s “Man on the street” segments over sixty years ago. Jay Leno used it, and alternative media icon Mark Dice has made it into an art form. He goes out on the ocean front in southern California, and gets mostly Whites, from mostly wealthy families, to reveal just how unknowledgeable they are. In one case, he asked a bunch of them what they thought of President Kennedy recently dying in a car accident. Almost all of them accepted this without batting an eye. Like others before him, he gets Americans to sign petitions to take away the First Amendment and the like.
Remember, even though it seems like yesterday, that in 2007 Americans overall were more intelligent and informed than they are now. And they still were usually not as smart as the ill educated and uneducated average 5th grader. This show competed with the likes of Donald Trump’s mind-expanding The Apprentice reality show, and Deal or No Deal, hosted by germaphobe Howie Mandel. Both had their punchlines, which made it easier for the dumbed down audience to enjoy them. They waited breathlessly for the future president to growl, “You’re fired!” They cackled with glee as some contestant, undoubtedly not smarter than a 5th grader, turned down $200,000 by shouting, “No deal, Howie!”
So by the time the internet started creating social media stars, especially on YouTube, the country was ready and waiting. They’d proven their total lack of class, and their uncultured, uncouth, and barely educated selves were ripe for the picking. In 2016, one Danielle Bregoli incomprehensibly became famous by uttering the immortal line, “Cash me outside.” She eventually devolved further into the alleged rapper Bhad Bhabie. Between hip-hop and texting, it’s a wonder than modern Americans can spell anything correctly. But proper grammar is racist, anyhow, according to the experts. She has reportedly earned over $50 million through her incredible talents.
Most of Bhad Bhabie’s income is derived from OnlyFans, perhaps the most absurd of all the social media platforms. Not only “sex workers,” but regular women as well, sell “content” on OnlyFans to subscribers who are seemingly the descendants of those who made Jim and Tammy Baker rich. The girls can be marginally attractive, and show no nudity, and still make lots of money. Basically, the same girls who sneer at the typical Incel, can force him to pay to look at them. Nice “work” if you can get it. The total unknowns, with few subscribers, can still make around $200 a month. Which is nice pocket change for simply batting your eyes and looking pretty.
Just a few days ago, a twenty one year old “twitch influencer” named Kai Cenat, who has more than 20 million followers, caused a bit of an uproar when he urged his fans to come to Union Square Park in Manhattan. He promised them some gaming swag, and that was enough to get them rioting. The rioters threw things, and even stole plates of food from outside dining patrons. The “most subscribed Twitch streamer of all time” is described as, “an American live streamer and YouTuber who is best known for his live streams on Twitch and his comedy-based content posted on YouTube.” So he isn’t even a rapper. How do you possibly get 20 million followers from that?
On Instagram, someone called Hudabeauty (aka Huda Kattan) has almost 47 million followers. Well, what does she do to attract such a following? She is a “makeup artist and blogger.” She also has her own cosmetics line. I’m guessing she blogs about different things than I do. A “cooking influencer,” one nusr_et, is a chef who has accumulated 35.6 million followers. That’s almost as ridiculous as when Prince changed his name to some unpronounceable hieroglyphic. “Entrepreneur and poker enthusiast” Blizerian has over 32 million followers. Six year old Eva Diana has over 73 million YouTube followers. From her Ukrainian home, she got over 1billion views for her video, “Diana and her Barbie car- Camping Adventure.”
What leaps out at you is the startling lack of any discernable talent amongst these “influencers.” Or impressive skills. At anything. Well, I guess if Kim Kardashian’s little sister can become a billionaire, anything is possible in America 2.0. In the old days of America 1.0, I would often make fun of all the lame entertainers, and question how they had possibly become so big. Dick Clark was always at the top of my list. No acting, singing, dancing, or comedic talent, but one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. How does that happen if you’re not any kind of entertainer? But Dick Clark is Louis Armstrong, Cary Grant, and John Lennon all rolled up in one, compared to any leading “social medial influencer.”
When I first heard about something going “viral” online, I began investigating this phenomenon. In the early 2000s, there was a kid that my daughter (along with millions of others) loved, whose sole gimmick was sucking from a hydrogen filled balloon and talking in the resulting funny voice. You know, like countless non-”influencers” have done at family parties for decades. I think he later parlayed that into some kind of Nickelodeon show. It’s amazing there isn’t some kind of super farting “influencer” out there, with millions of adoring fans. Maybe there is- I am certainly not up on these things. Perhaps I’ve given some enterprising reader an idea. If some farting “influencer” is out there, the world is your oyster. It’s America 2.0. Your time to shine.