Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dumbest Generation?

In the four minutes it probably takes to read this review, you will have logged exactly half the time the average 15- to 24-year-old now spends reading each day. That is, if you even bother to finish. If you are perusing this on the Internet, the big block of text below probably seems daunting, maybe even boring. Who has the time? Besides, one of your Facebook friends might have just posted a status update!

Such is the kind of recklessly distracted impatience that makes Mark Bauerlein fear for his country. "As of 2008," the 49-year-old professor of English at Emory University writes in "The Dumbest Generation," "the intellectual future of the United States looks dim."

Lee Drutman on The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Idiocracy is thus a must see

David W. Congdon said...

I agree. That movie was right on in so many ways. By no means a great work of art, but possibly a prophetic one. Although I hope not.

(Though, in another sense of the word "prophetic," it definitely is. In other words, the film may not predict our world's future, but it sure pinpoints via hyperbole the state of our world today.)

drew said...

Sounds similar in tone to Barber's "Consumed" or Jacobs' "Age of American Unreason". Both of these are really musings on Lasch's "Culture of Narcisissm" and Blooms' text.

Much of this sounds to me like pissed off baby boomers and nothing more. Like their Great Depression parents.

It gets salient when scholars like Julia Schor back it up with data. Dumbing down becomes a symptom of privatized corporate marketing. That's where Idiocracy seems dead on in it's dystopian assessment. And it's funny as hell!

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed a change in your own reading skills? When I first went online, my dreams changed from being panoramic to scrolling. Google reader has me zipping through blogs but I've lost my attention span for tv or movies. I think I'm more into seeing patterns and getting a feel for the context as opposed to analyzing specific words. I've started using a French New Testament to slow down the processing rate while retaining the interest level.

WTM said...

'The Atlantic Monthly' is in on this action: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google