Few of you may remember the entertainment formerly known as the Cinema, but in that art form the audience sat eating popcorn and while waiting for the main feature to begin were entertained by seductive excerpts from other upcoming main features. Typically these “Coming Soon” mini-features were more entertaining than the films themselves, because the purveyors of the ads simply waded through the tedious films they were promoting and picked out the best bits for display. Cutting out the dross gave the resulting clips a sense of urgency and drama, often belied by the films themselves.
By virtue of the mutative process of intellectual intercourse the ads served another social purpose. The audience soon learned that the ads were better than the films, so if the ads were not very good they calculated the film itself would be awful, and mentally chose the best of the ads to guide them as to which films might, conceivably, be worth paying to see, whilst understanding that there were probably better things on television, and free to boot.
However, for those of you with an interest in human intelligence, any upcoming publication on the Flynn Effect is worth a look. The effect, the apparent relentless rise of intelligence, or at least the rise of IQ scores, deserves some attention. It implies, dear reader, that you have been getting brighter or, more likely, that your children will be brighter than you are. Any publications on the Flynn Effect are likely to bring a glow of pride to the average citizen. (Pride: a sensation, usually entirely unmerited, that you have achieved something of value).
The Flynn Effect is a feel-good movie, starring the dashing Jim Flynn as the antidote to all those worries that your vocabulary is not up to scratch. Although the journal Intelligence is not usually associated with dramatic entertainment, the special issue on the Flynn Effect is the exception. In this issue the whole Effect is Taken Apart and also Beaten To A Pulp and then, when all seems lost, in the very last tearful minutes it is nursed back to health by Jim Flynn himself.
In the best traditions of Hitchcock’s Psycho, I will not allow readers to come in during the last ten minutes of the movie, but the whole production should be showing in a cinema near you very soon.