Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Dumbest Generation - Harrowing First Thoughts

I've been reading the book "The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age is Stupefying Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future" recently, and reflecting upon what is being said as I travel through everyday life.

The more I think about it the more I realize my kids are very much an isolated case - they read a ton for pleasure, listen to a wide variety of musical genres, enjoy art and museums and make an attempt to understand religion and politics and the world around them.

Stop in just about any forum site on the Web that includes teens and you will immediately be regaled by self-interested illiteracy. All of the inward focus and scoffing at the value of cultural literacy the book talks about is proudly on display.

These kids are 'smart idiots' - they are intelligent kids who see no problem using text speak such as 'u r wrong' in business communications ... and they are beginning to make those changes acceptable. This isn't a cultural broadening or an accepting of technology integration - it is dumbing down, plain and simple. It is sad, and scary.


UnoriginalAlias said...

I would say that we aren't dumb, just not very knowledgeable. I consider intelligence to be the ability to effectively use knowledge. I read the book description and the things they were being asked about all seemed fairly unimportant. How is the ability to locate Iran on a map going to help someone get a job?

I may seem pretty dumb at first glance. I don't like paintings or old literature, I don't enjoy school/learning, I'm not particularly fond of reading and my vocabulary is rather small. I'm still not dumb just because I'm not into things that your stereotypical smart guy is into. Being smart doesn't mean that you enjoy reading, paintings and museums. It doesn't mean that you're very knowledgeable about history and geography. It's the way you use knowledge.

We aren't dumb, we just don't know much.

By the way, I'm not saying that I'm smart, just not dumb. I don't want to appear arrogant.

txa1265 (Mike) said...

The assumption that the end goal of all of civilization is focused around getting a high-paying job is a part of what makes this the dumbest generation. There is a term for cultures who have eschewed cultural curiosity and turned to selfish aims ... dead.

UnoriginalAlias said...

That's not what I said. I just said that you don't need to be interested in things like art and literature to be smart. That doesn't mean that I think that things like art and literature are completely pointless.

Also, the questions asked in the survey seemed to be more about history and geography than culture.