People are often accused of being shallow for only liking pretty people, but it is not often you hear someone being accused of being shallow for only liking smart people. There is a growing group of people who have become more elitist about intelligence. To these people, intelligence is often a major criterion when judging a person. Therefore in meeting and interacting with people, one must quickly present that they have intelligence and substance. People do this in a number of ways, from using foreign words to carrying noticeably thick books. Because the persona of being an intellectual is so desirable, one can put a lot of weight on these intellectual symbols, without necessarily caring about the actual issue. Although this projection of intellect is often confused as genuine intelligence, true intelligence comes with thorough understanding of information and the ability to apply knowledge.
With the rise of the internet, faking intelligence is becoming more prevalent. The internet offers a vast amount of information in varying degrees of depth and accuracy. This can be abused as people skim through articles, absorbing very little but then later speaking as experts on the topic. In past generations, it would be much harder to amass such information. Now it is hard to perceive when someone actually is knowledgeable about a topic or if they are just regurgitating what they remember from the internet and filling in what they have forgotten. This can be dangerous as misinformation becomes viral as it gets passed onward. I also credit the internet with the rising feeling of individualism. The internet gives people an outlet to express themselves and exposes them to what others are doing. Although this can be really positive, it also perpetuates an intellectual superficiality. With sites like facebook and myspace, people must project very efficiently who they are in a profile. Through these profiles, people often sculpt the person they want to be — carefully placing the cues necessary to portray themselves ideally as both intellectuals and individuals. These profiles bridge the internet world and the real world.
Puppets were an obvious medium choice for me. I didn’t want a real human face or a real human voice saying real human words attached to my message. I want the characters’ look to match the ridiculous sounds they are making and that to match the nonsense of the content they are conveying. My puppets are both individuals and at the same time are masses of sameness. They are various stereotypes of intellectual characteristics. There are puppets who use large foreign words to appear cultured and exotic. Another pair carries large intellectual books so others will observe them with their pieces of literature. One puppet is overly bombastic about how ecofriendly his lifestyle is in order to impress people with his concern. Two puppets are fact memorizers and internet skimmers . They only speak in Wikipedia entries. All of the puppets are overtly shallow and superficial. They believe their behavior makes them intelligent and free thinking, but it has only narrowed their minds.
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