Are We the Dumbest Generation?
I recently downloaded the USA today app for my iPhone which allows me to get an instant dose of mediocre and politically neutral news anywhere at any time. Technology is truly wonderful. anyway, I was scrolling through this application during a spare nano-second and I ran across an article titled, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30). because I have some interest in this topic (see Talkin’ bout my generation – How to deal with gen X and gen Y) the title certainly caught my attention and I immediately thought that this author better have some substantial reasoning behind a generalized statement like this. Guess what – he doesn’t.
I know, I know, I didn’t read the book, and frankly I don’t care to, but the article gives a synopsis of what the author, Emory University English professor mark Bauerlein, is trying to say.
The cost, he says, outweighs the convenience. Kids are writing more than ever online or in text messages, but it’s not the kind of narrative skill needed as adults, he says. those forms groove bad habits, so when it comes time to produce an academic paper EUR or when they enter the workplace, their capacity breaks down.
Mark goes on to say,
If you go into a room of strangers, you don’t know how to relate. you can’t replicate your IM habits, it closes people off from a wider engagement with the world.
Uh mark, this is totally not true. what writing were kids doing before email, text message, and IM? because it certainly wasn’t to their pen pals. it was nothing. And if we can’t trust anyone under 30, who can we trust? The 65 year old Bernie Madoff perhaps? Bank executives? Enron board members?
If we’re the dumbest generation then the smartest is certainly yet to come. I think mark Bauerlein is quite possibly the dumbest faculty member at Emory and he’s the only one I’ve ever heard of.
But maybe I’m wrong and his book goes into depth about how smart and full of potential younger people are. I’m not going to find out because I’m not going to buy it. And its a shame that a book with a title like this gets notoriety on USA Today and will probably sell a lot of copies.
In my experience younger people have a much more appropriate ethical boundary and while being very proficient with technology are also strong with communication and people skills. And my experience with old folk is that their ethical line has been pushed off the cliff by greedy higher-ups, their ability to communicate sucks, they have limited and crude technological knowledge, and they’re really not that much fun to work with.
Ok, that’s a little harsh. I actually know a handful of people I’ve worked with who are in their fifties who have a kick ass combination of experience, people skills, and technical knowledge. And for those, the Madoffs and Enrons are extremely bad publicity. So really, I’m just a little ticked that a book with a title like this gets publicity on USA Today.
I guess there is plenty to be ticked about nowadays, so perhaps this isn’t one of them.