This has nothing to do with “Friends” (although the series represents pieces of it) and what you describe has been common in the USA for a long time. The USA (as with most nations that flirt with fascism) has a very strong anti-intellectual streak. Fascism is all about politicians manipulating the public, by encouraging them to divorce themselves from reason, and wallow in raw emotion instead (Trump).
- Your Bill Gates Reference *
Bill Gates was not much of a tech guy. He wrote one piece of software for Microsoft in its very early days. He was the “business end” of the company, not the tech end, and his forte was THEFT. He stole other peoples software and sold it under the Microsoft name. He stole from DIGITAL - you see MS DOS was initially a front end for CPM called “Quick and Dirty Dos” which was purchased by Gates for a pittance. However QDD could only be used when it sat in front of DIGITALS copyrighted CPM operating system, which Gates just stole and sold freely. They stole code from a company called STACKER (and ruined the company) and when they inserted the stacker code into MD DOS, it lost files randomly. They stole software from APPLE (the stolen Quicktime code still contained Apple’s copyrights). The Gates way of doing business was to break the law, have a big legal staff, pay the court when they rule against you — and laugh all the way to the bank. Gates heavily abused the employees who made him rich.
- Back to Anti-intellectualism *
Regardless, anti-intellectualism in the USA was pretty strong in the 1960s and by the 70s too. It was so rampant it was nuts. It was “pop culture” to try and look and speak as if you were a poor teenager from a ghetto. It still is. Why do you think RAP music became so popular? And Hip-hop? That music scene started out with pimps and murderers becoming stars (and they were considered “cool”).
I was born in 1963. The US has always lauded it’s muscle bound idiots and despised its smart people. Think about how much money grown adults get paid, for playing children’s games in front of millions of people (football, basketball, baseball, etc). Nearly everyone knows who Magic Johnson is, but how many people know what a “ Turing test” is or know the name “ Margaret Hamilton” (she pretty much invented software design for NASA and got the U.S.A. to the moon).
- How to get Assaulted as a Kid in the USA *
The most effective way to ensure that a male student in a US school is regularly beaten up (in the past and right now) is for them to be openly SMART. Females were/are allowed to be smart (usually) without being assaulted (though they will be harassed)… but not the males. A smart male is viewed as effeminate, and is therefore a target (yes it does overlap with homophobia). You can be a teacher pleasing “Garden Variety” smarter kid (a B student who vomits the lectures back onto the test and then forgets it all) and be OK in a US school… but you can’t be seriously intelligent without being in trouble.
- A Sit-Com Example *
Back in 1975 the TV show “Welcome Back Kotter” came on the air and the extreme majority of the Jr High and High School in the USA were obsessed with it. The students suddenly wanted to be SWEAT HOGS like in the TV show (in remedial education for acting like jackasses in school). It became even *less* attractive to be intelligent.
— — — quote — — — — — —
The theme song itself is filled with foreboding, telling us that life is inherently deceptive, career pursuits are laughable, poverty is right around the corner, and oh yeah, your love life’s D.O.A. But you will always have the company of idiots. They will be there for you.
— — —end quote — — -
Ah yes the FRIENDS theme song.
In your 20s even if you have a good skill set with a degree, you will work crappy jobs until you have a good reputation (that’s life). As for your love live, until you get older and understand people better and also get your personal crap together (if you ever do) your love life will be messed up (it is a reflected of who YOU are too).
One piece will not change. In the USA your life WILL have poverty right around the corner (living 2 to 3 months from being homeless for most of your life). That is a fact of life unless you manage to become wealthy. Why? Because that is how the political system is ‘broken’ in the USA.
In fact this has caused a pathological fear of poverty in the USA that is so big, people treat the poor as if they were infectious (as if you could catch poverty or unemployment or homelessness).
However the idea that your FRIENDS will always be there (“I’ll be there for you…”) is crap. They are not your “friends” they are your “playmates”. They want to have fun with you, not do hard work that is meaningful. They want you to be entertaining. Hanging around with you is a “past time”.
If you get sick for a week you are likely to be totally alone until you are well. If you become disabled in the USA … your friends (and often your family too) will be gone. Lose your job and sink into poverty and most of those “FRIENDS” will let you live on the street and not lift a finger to help you (because in ‘MERICA you are supposed to never need help, and only lazy people are poor). Mostly it is because poverty is such a threat to folks in the USA that people really are terrified of homeless people (because they could be one in less than 3 months after losing a job and they DON’T want to think about that).