....bias and ignorance about art, music, and movies, both current and past, their apparent complete isolation from the near-exponential rate of scientific advancement, and seeming utter failure to notice the fact that we are living in the most literate time there has ever been....
So please, have you any objective (and accurate) evidence for your claims?
There is not a near-exponential rate of scientific advancement, for a start. There is currently an exponential rate of growth in certain objective measures of computing capacity, commonly referred to as Moore's Law. Advances in fundamental theory are not coming at an exponentially increasing rate. Indeed, they do not appear to come with any regularity at all. A universal literacy unfamiliar with something so basic isn't worth so much.
Certainly your literacy isn't so good that it can draw a distinction between the different ideas expressed. It would be foolish to take your word about bias and ignorance. In particular, the evidence, both objective and accurate, powerfully suggests your thesis, that popular culture is getting better, is the best example of bias and ignorance in the thread. Your literacy doesn't even help you distinguish what you mean by popular culture, which is in practice, commercial culture.
PS I understand the point made upthread about Charlemagne, and considered changing my opinion that for regular people Middle Ages means twelfth century western Europe, and Dark Ages means something shortly after the fall of the western Roman Empire. But the amount taught has to count for something, and the school textbooks I've seen spend about four pages on this. Maximum. And its usually called the Carolingian Renaissance, i.e., treated as a forerunner. Perhaps it's different elsewhere but in the end you can only go by what evidence you have.