Are You Smarter Than Betty White?

Jun 26

bettywhitered.jpg Nobody doesn’t like Betty White.

Hell, she inspired an unprecedented Facebook campaign to get her on SNL, where she said — with wide eyes and perfect timing  — that before all this she didn’t even know what Facebook was. And now that she does, it sounds like “a huge waste of time.” 

She’s saying worse things than that:
She blames technology and our “over-reliance on gadgets” for making people unable to play Password anymore.  CBS tried to revive the gameshow recently, upping the ante to Million Dollar Password. Well, inflation and all that.

Ms. White says that “kids today,” and I take that to mean all of us, can’t keep up with the fast pace of the game because we’ve created a generation who “can’t think on their feet.” In other words, unless we can look up the answers on Google we’re dead.

  To those of you who actually are kids, Password was a really popular game show in the 60s and 0ddcouplepassword.jpg70s hosted by Betty’s husband, Allen Ludden. A contestant would feed clues to a partner who’d try to guess the secret word.

Odd Couple Alert: there’s a great episode called, appropriately, “Password” (Show #58, first aired in 1971), where Felix gives really weird clues like “Aristophanes” for “birds.” Huh? Well it’s clear to him: Aristophanes wrote a play called “The Birds.” Everybody knows that. Really? Not the steamed and frustrated Oscar, who lost the game — to Betty White and her partner.

That was a long time ago, and 99.9% of the audience wouldn’t have gotten the ancient Greek playwright/bird clue then either. Felix, the original metrosexual and know-it-all, was always more learned than the rest of us. But to Ms White’s point: Is technology making us dumber?

I’m not so sure . . .

Maybe people can’t play Password because they’re not used to actually, like, you know, talking to each other.

But wait, that’s mostly because of technology too, isn’t it? It all started with television, when for the first time in recorded history people could spend hours staring at a tube without the annoyance of actually having a conversation. Well, before that you could sit around a campfire, but you’d probably break out into song at some point.

textingatdinner_1.jpgThese days you can and do text or confer with your Iphone (iPad or iDon’tknowwhatelse) while you’re at dinner,  riding in a car, in your living room or anyplace else, so you can be with someone for hours at a stretch and pay no attention to your companion(s).

Playing Password requires interaction. With a (Gasp!) human. Could we do it? Betty may be right. We are pretty hooked on gadgets. Humans, not so much,.

I don’t have any statistics on this, but I bet we’re actually using fewer words these days too. After all, our favorite noun, verb, adjective, and adverb of choice seems to begin with f and end with uck. Get rid of that word and our vocabulary choices would dwindle down to a precious few, to quote a song from the distant, more literate past.

passwordvideo_1.jpgAnd see, words are important. They form thoughts. They allow us to communicate. They’re good for song lyrics. They make us better at Password.

And if we’d learn to use words again, and you know, like, talk to each other, could we learn to play Password?

Would we get some respect from Betty White?
Nobody wouldn’t like that.

SO:
ARE WE TOO DEPENDENT ON TECHNOLOGY?
ARE WE GETTING DUMBER?

W E IG H  I N  H E R E.

WE’RE ON YOU TUBE, TOO: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvaxQfQgto0

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