Or is there an irreducible level of cultural stupidity that exists at any point in time – an “S factor,” if you will?

P.J. O’Rourke explores these questions in an entertaining and insightful article which demonstrates that one cultural constant over the last 40 years is the quality of his prose.  I especially liked his comparison of cultural output in 2011 and 1974 and conclusion that in one area – movies – there is irrefutable evidence of decline.  I’m tempted to say this is an unfair barometer, because 1974 was a particularly great year for film, but he’s right.  As they say, read the whole thing, and consider whether things are really as bad as they seem.