So no one told you life was gonna be this way. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Interesting reflections on the same series. Could I add - a hugely successful programme....with no regular Black characters? What impact did that have ? An opportunity missed.
I agree with almost everything Mr Hopkins says. It's unfortunate that he links the re-election of GWB with the downfall of Western civilization.
He took a well reasoned social argument and turned it political. Has Mr Hopkins seen Big Bang Theory? It took several Ross Geller Ivy league types and subjugated them to the whims of an under educated waitress. I would like to get his opinion on that.
I never watched “Friends”, but I can identify strongly with the Ross character as explained (which is probably why I didn’t watch the show). My mother always told me to play dumb when dating, because that way men will be interested in me. But what I found is that when I played dumb, I was insulted for being so. When I was myself and secure, I was insulted for being a “wise-a$$” or “too smart for my own good”. There was no winning. Dating was a nightmare, until I finally gave up. My friends, however, know that I’m there for them through thick and thin. That I’m a deep thinker and think out-of-the-box so they gain insight and a lot of laughter, but I don’t do well at dinner parties.
A very thought provoking article but I more blame social media for the downfall of intelligent discourse than "Friends." Bullies are given a voice on facebook and other platforms while nerds are trampled. "Friends" was just a reflection of this trend.
I might add to Mr. Hopkins list of things to do to reverse the trend: travel and gain new insights into the world around you. I travelled abroad for the first time last month (I am 67). I am still filled with joy at having experienced cultures, both ancient and modern, and new people. I feel like I am a better person for having experienced this.
I'm not highly educated but I've always hung out with brainiacs. I had always related to them as I have many of their (our) personality traits. This is just one of many 'groups' that have always existed. It has been present since the beginning of time. ROTC's hang with ROTC's, jocks with jocks, band members with band members, etc. Ross comes in every size, shape, ethnicity, political pervasion, religion and sexual orientation ..... and an integral part of our world. It would be a very boring world if we didn't have some much diversity. No matter what type of people you choose to relate to, we have to find our own comfort zone and be ok in our own skin.
In terms of maintaining your sanity I feel like reading a book is such cliché advice but it’s so true - and I probably should read a book and stop buying so much￼￼
Comedies either reflect the current trends or they are cutting edge, taking people where they’ve never been. Friends was the former. It was a show about young, entitled white kids that never grew up, so entitled they let a rent controlled apartment go at the end. Who else could live in Manhattan with barely no income? It was a way for the rest of us to mock people like that. That’s what made the show funny.
Friends took everything going on at the time and essentially mocked social trends, from clothing to coffee shops to the trend of extending adolescence. It even added an intelligent black character near the end. If you stop and think for a moment, there was another side to each character that made their contradictions interesting and allowed them to mature into better people as the series matured.
Joey may be a goofball but he was loyal and had an I ate wisdom.
Chandler was the one who found a job he was good at and then made wise choices to support his family.
Monica was the opposite of Chandler and part of the reason he grew up.
Phoebe was honest and always knew the right thing to do when no one else did.
Rachael was independent and ambitious but also found her opposite and balanced her independence with a focus on family.
Ross was accepting of others and listened to their opinions,Malaya’s there to give support. He also never gave up on his dream.
There are two,sides to every coin. Nearly all comedy mocks something. At best you can speculate whether Friends was the chicken or the egg, and if a television show like Friends can have that much of an influence on our society we are all doomed.
Oh, so many words, so little space. To begin with, sitcoms are meant to be an escape from reality for a 22 minute stint. They are not meant to be the moral compass for viewers across our fine land. Some achieve that goal regardless, but please don't make the sitcom deeper than it's meant to be.
Second, he writes: "Professors from colleges like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Stanford are offering their lectures online for free." Those universities are partly responsible for the dumbing down of society. The coddling of elitist, self absorbed whiners who protest and cancel any professor who makes them work hard, or any guest speaker they don't agree with, is partly the reason we are in the situation we are in.
Woke-ism, reality TV and social media have had more to do with how dumb people are than sitcoms. "Influencers" are more well known than world leaders, scientists and authors.
I'm sorry smart people were bullied by dumb students. It's been going on forever. I was an ok student who was bullied by teachers.
Sorry I would have to disagree with your three numbers.
No. 1 should be destroy your damn smart phones! I'm so tired of constantly hearing about this drug problem and that drug problem, when nobody talks about the worst addiction problem humanity has ever seen; the smart phone. People are so unhealthily addicted to their phones it's sad and as someone who has struggled with addiction problems, it's hard to see this because most people don't even realize they are addicts and to me their drug of choice is way more damaging then some other ones out there.
Also No. 2 should be GET THE HELL OFF SOCIAL MEDIA! There is absolutely 0 redeeming qualities of social media. Fakebook is one of the most disgusting companies on the planet and the fact that people waste hours upon hours of just lying through their teeth about how great things are when a lot of times they aren't. I miss the days when people actually interacted face-to-face and did things like go outside, instead of wasting hours indoors thumbs upping what someone ate for breakfast.
Other than that, yeah definitely protect the nerds lol!
Unintended consequences: Writers' Guild felt threatened by the rise of Reality TV in 2007.
Their demands for proper compensation for their skills and creativity (and the strike) led the networks to realize that they did not need intelligence to be profitable.
Hence the focus on the most outlandish dumbest-common-denominator.
It is not surprising that this anti-science, anti-thought, anti-effort mentality gets picked up and promoted by politicians, influencers and thought leaders.
Then Facebook (fraudulently) claims that users prefer video to printed text. Thus destroying the market for copywriters, print journalists, etc.
The pendulum swings: scripted shows are becoming more prevalent, and Facebook is being destroyed by TikTok.
The dumbing down of society is frightening.
Interesting perspective from D.Hopkins regarding Friends. I too was a teacher during the time Hopkins was, and a champion of nerds and other students who were square pegs trying to fit into round holes. My own children came into their teens during the show’s time period. They loved watching the show, including one child who was in the John Hopkins Talented and gifted program. For them, and from my perspective, the show was about a group of people with wildly different personalities who learned thru trial by fire how to love each other. Each brought their own meshugas and strengths. Not such a negative message for young people, and yes, in the end, Ross gets the girl (Rachel).
I never watched Friends so I cannot comment on the show. However, I totally related to David Hopkins' post. It has been difficult finding people with shared intellectual interests to do things with now that I am retired. Those not interested in conversations that go deep dominate discussions. Covid proved we need human interaction but I keep signing up for Zoom topics that I find intellectually stimulating. Not a full solution but at least it engages my brain.
Um, David needs to take a Zanax. The real downfall of civilization is coming from those that take themselves too seriously and can’t see the joy and beauty in things. Those that want to shout down others and say “the downfall is because of you” remember what your parents told you. “When you point a finger at someone, 3 more are pointing back at you”. Just chill out man
Over roughly the last two decades, the only thing I listen to when driving alone is an audiobook. I have found it very uplifting and have learned a lot because I drive a lot. It enhances my patience with other drivers. I normally listen to non-fiction history books but there is only so much US history, so I have done fiction and other subjects. I don't do social media. I enjoy life.
Interesting, I remember reading the full-form of this essay on Medium, if I'm not mistaken it's one of the all-time most-read essays, with millions of views. Nice to see it come round again.