This is a question that has been haunting me. The attitude seems to start around middle school but it projects itself into the political arena all the time. Maybe doubting the intelligence of the world is simply a rite of passage, like the rite of passage where adults upon reaching a certain age (much older than I, of course) question why the world doesn't value the wisdom of its elders more.
I asked a group of students this question last week and one girl replied that Jessica Simpson started it. I dare say it started long before her chicken of the sea embarrassments, but it was good to know the student knew what I was talking about.
Have been working hard on two new books, many hours at the computer. Not enough time for reflection.