How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization
David Hopkins
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Hi Mr. Hopkins,

The article is a brilliant and gripping read, and judging by the number of recommends it has got, it sure is appealing to the target audience. The whole article combines two of the most famous ‘characteristics’ of the ‘nerd life, ‘Friends’ Sitcom and the feeling of being bullied, misunderstood & the apparent dumbness of the rest of the world (on which only the whole new sitcom, probably as famous today as friends was around the year 2000, is based, ‘The big bang theory’). The article was bound to be liked and shared, heck! a friend of mine from India sent me the link to this article. So, you can see that these feelings are universal.

However, I disagree completely.

The article does nothing more than feed the egoistical monster of the ‘intellectuals’ who fail to face the fact that they are relatively asocial or believe that people who are more social are dumb as well, and world calls them the ‘nerds’. It very carefully uses the same methodology used by our journalists, who this article mocks, which starts with the supposed victim who target audience can relate to, partial view of the picture and and ends with a call to action.

The show nowhere depicts Ross as the ‘victim’, nor does it depict him as a ‘hero’. He is just one of the friends, ‘intellectual’ among the equal. The article made him a victim. The article was right in saying that the show was a huge success, but it was wrong in suggesting that Ross was the victim, because it ignored the fact that Ross at the time was the most loved character, and was even offered the pay raise, which he himself declined. Audience didn’t love the ‘idiots’, they loved the ‘intellectual’, so occurrence of the events after 2004 cannot be the effect of a single sitcom. Just because things happened in a certain order does not mean that they possess a cause-effect relationship. The world was never fragile enough that it crumbled due to a single sitcom.

Ross was mocked, yes like everyone else, but no one can argue against the fact that Joey was the one who was mocked the most. The show did not mock the intellectual only, rather it mocked the stupidity more. The article also fails to mention that Ross was also the one who made the most and the biggest blunders, in his and others lives as well, and at times tried to get out of them on a technicality. He might have been naive in those instances, but then was his ‘intellectual-ity’ only limited to paleontology? Naive or not, he acted stupidly in those instances. But I am not saying that he was the only stupid one, rather all of them were stupid and experts in their own fields and joked about each other’s but with mutual admiration. That is what the show portrays that what being a friend is about, you can be honest to each other and not feel insecure. Didn’t, Ross himself, mock Rachel’s love for fashion? Or Monica being fat? or Joey’s plays, or Chandler’s job?

The show sees the definition of an intellectual beyond where the article prefers to look. The article defines the ‘intellectual’ as the person who has strong pursuit and love for ‘science’, and but restricts ‘science’ to a college degree, or in the sense of mathematics, paleontology, or other conventional form. However, the show also looks at an intellectual as a person who has a strong pursuit and love for science, but does not restrict science. Monica was an excellent cook, Rachel rose from ground up in the fashion industry, and Joey had some interesting turn of events. To imply that a person who is a brilliant cook or people who study fashion are idiots, is nothing but is a way to spice up the media and gain popularity at the cost of skewing up the perception of the readers, which thankfully, our media and politics does already.

Yes, I have been a big fan of the show, but I do not believe that the world is getting dumber. Its just with increased forms of media, we interact with so much new information outside our comfort zone, that we fail to understand it and regard it as BS or dumb.

However, credit to the article where its due, it was a brilliant and gripping read, it provided an interesting theory to think about. It was great at what it was aimed at, sensationalizing and gaining popularity.

As a rookie blogger on Medium, I learned a lot from it. And to prove it, I will too end with a ‘call to action’.

  1. Intellectuals are not just the people who are interested in science or maths or computers, they are everywhere, and intellectuals don’t need protection.
  2. Most people have certain knowledge and expertise in their fields, we need to understand the relevance of each rather than look down on them.

Thank You