Any discussion of intelligent people and TV shows is vastly incomplete without mentioning ‘The Big Bang Theory ’. It is the highest rated sitcom since ‘Friends’! Now what a turn around is that? A show about scientists, where one of the main gags is that Sheldon is smarter than everyone else, is popular?
To be honest I was also surprised by this success but apparently the “dumb masses” are just as interested in smart people when you make them laugh. In fact it has a major positive influence on the perception and interest especially in physics. And it’s way bigger than Friends potentially negative influence ever was. Some kids get interested in physics and even study it due to this show. You can tell the average Joe that you are a theoretical physicist and he won’t ask if you are sick but say “Ah like Sheldon!” with a look of admiration and respect.
I felt like you did about the intellectual downfalls of the west a couple of years ago. But your post is ten years too late and it turned out that times have changed ☺