Thursday, 18 August 2011

Word of the day

What is the opposite to "dumb down"? It needs an opposite. Dumbing down isn't a great concept, and we should be pushing the opposite, avoiding dumbing down where we can. The term is widely used, and even has a Wikipedia definition.
Searching for antonyms doesn't work very well, since all of the sources of antonyms limit themselves to current English words or expressions, and I am mostly happy to accept a neologism, where one is needed. I think that the opposite to "dumb" is smart, and in the expression "dumb down" the slang adjective "dumb" works as a verb. So I suggest smart up, or smarted up as a past partiple analogous to dumbed down, or smarting up, like dumbing down.What do you think?
Speaking of dumbing down, I've just read Lindsay Tanner's book Sideshow: dumbing down democracy, and recommend it. You all knew that Australian politics is being dumbed down, of course, but you haven't seen it documented in such detail before, or thought about the answers, as Tanner has. Have a quick browse. Think about how we can smart up our politics.

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