Vocabulary – Are you being dumbed down?

Have you been dumbed down?
Are you being dumbed down?


The word dumb originally referred to “people who could not hear” or “people who were mute”. It came to mean “people who could not think or understand” or “stupid people”. Look at this scale:

very clever – very intelligent
clever – intelligent
quite clever – quite intelligent (surprizingly clever – surprizingly intelligent)
of average intelligence
not stupid
stupid – dumb
very stupid – very dumb
an idiot
a complete idiot

Pronunciation Note

The “b” in “dumb” is silent.

Cultural Note

The words “dumb” and “stupid” can be inflammatory. People do not like to be told they are dumb or stupid. If you think another person is “dumb” or “stupid”, they may think you are “arrogant”.

Roleplay – for English teachers with classes

“an argument between an arrogant person and a stupid person”

Are your students emotionally mature enough to handle this? Perhaps it is perfect for some high school students who would enjoy being offensive and insulting on an experimental or comic level and enjoy taking expressive dramatic roles.

Phrasal Verb – to dumb down

The adjective “dumb” can be used as a phrasal verb “to dumb down”. It refers to a situation where people are intentionally not given information. Look at these phrases.

We were kept in the dark.
We were not told what was going on.

Those phrases refer to a state of facts. “Dumb down” has the idea of a process where the education system was designed to make people “stupid”, rather than to make them “smarter”.

Note that smart means “clever” or “intelligent”. Look at this scale, which is embedded in phrases:

She is really smart.
Smarter than most.
The smartest kid in the class, in fact

Each class consists of individuals and individuals are evaluated and ranked by educators according to an education policy but does the education policy aim to increase the ability to think and observe and understand, or does it aim to reduce that ability and distract the mind with stupid machines?

Does the education system deliberately dumb people down and try to control them? Does the education system try to make people contented consumers who do not ask questions or threaten the general scheme of things or the status quo?

Look at these phrases:

Do not upset the applecart.
It is important not to upset the apple cart
We have to be careful not to upset the applecart.

Another way to say it is:

Don’t make waves.


Keep your nose clean.
Keep your nose out of trouble.

The basic idea is that it is a big bad dangerous world out there and you could get into a lot of trouble so keep your head down and keep out of trouble. Don’t ask too many questions. Don’t ask the wrong kind of questions.

Have you been discouraged from speaking?
Have you been discouraged from expressing yourself?
Have you encountered “taboo topics” or “sacred cows” that cannot be discussed?

If you wanted to get into an argument or see a disagreement, you could start by beginning a conversation on any of these topics:

Sex, money, income, religion, politics, sexual politics

Sex Education

Was these sex education at your school?

Were you dumbed down?

Do you feel that you have been dumbed down?

The Dumbing Down of America

These organisations took control of education in the united States and deliberately manipulated education policy to dumb people down:

The Rockefeller Foundation
The Ford Foundation
The Carnegie Foundation
The Guggenheim Foundation

We think they are charitable organisations but they have hidden economic and political agendas to dumb us down and control us.

Read about it here:

Link to Article on Dumbing down of America

This man Anthony Sutton documented the American development of the Soviet Union by tax free corporations working behind the scenes to feed the military industrial complex.

Norman Dodd discovered that so-called educational foundations and charities were secretly trying to erode the quality of education. It is creepy!

Norman Dodd link

Narrative or Multiple Choice – Robot or Human

Which style gives more information?
Which style is more succinct, accurate, to the point and focussed?
Which style puts the narrator in control?
Which style takes the control out of the hands of the narrator and gives it to an administrator in an office far away somewhere, or some person looking at a computer screen years ago or years in the future?

An Interview with a Psychologist

I went to see a psychologist about stress related to overwork and family problems but he did not let me tell my story and made me fill out multiple choice forms which led me down a pathway to depression medication and suicide counselling and pharmaceuticals of all kinds to prevent these ailments. But I only wanted to tell him I was tired because I work too much and I do not have enough money to live away from my family so we all live together and we argue.

An Interview with a Paramedic

I was in the street bleeding but I had to answer questions while the paramedic filled out a form before he treated me and he would not let me say what happened.

An Interview with a Nurse

I was in the reception area bleeding but I had to answer questions while the nurse filled out a form before she treated me and she would not let me say what happened.

An Interview with a Doctor

The doctor examined me and prescribed antibiotics followed by surgery but did not listen to my full description of my symptoms because it was too long.

An Interview with a Teacher

The teacher asked me questions about what I did not know and I did not have the opportunity to tell him what I did know. I was also not given the opportunity to ask him questions about what I did not know. I was told to learn it myself by reading books.

The Librarian

The librarian told me that I had to know the name of the book and the author so that she could get it from the stacks. I had never seen the book so I did not know what it was called. She would not give me books on a subject. I had to know the title and the author and the publisher and the place of publication and the date of publication. These details were important than the content.

The University Lecturer

The university lecturer required us to attend his class (so he could keep his job) by telling us in class which page of which book to read. Then he tested us on those pages. The ones who passed, moved on to the next grade. The ones who failed had to repeat or leave forever.

Have you noticed that in life a coded form has replaced a narrative or story in many facets of life?

Are we losing the ability to tell stories? Is the loss of this basic ability a loss of identity? Is it the beginning of becoming a robot inside a machine with no understanding of past, present or future?

What do you think?

Write the answer in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Are you being dumbed down?

Infant Death Syndrome

Recently there was a story in the news about infant deaths. It says it is dangerous to sleep with your baby. All parents who were studied had slept with babies which had died. It is dangerous to sleep with your baby.

But this is illogical. parents who slept with their child but it did not die, were not studied.

In the news stories are slanted to sound scientific but they are ridiculous.

All heroin users drank milk as children so milk leads to heroin addiction.

Is that logical?

The media is manipulating us.

We are being dumbed down.

The wool is being pulled over our eyes.

We are being kept in the dark.

We are not being told what is going on.

We have to break out of the matrix!

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The clock is ticking.

Time is running out.

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