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The Not So Greatest Generation (The Dumbest Generation: Don't Trust Anyone Under 30)
The Spectator ^ | Jan 15,2009 | David N. Bass

Posted on 01/15/2009 6:47:54 PM PST by SeekAndFind

With his soft voice and unassuming manner, Mark Bauerlein seems an unlikely prospect for penning an ostentatious book like The Dumbest Generation. The title immediately brings to mind the Greatest Generation, the idol of 20th century American history that weathered the Great Depression, beat the Nazis at Normandy, and brought us swing music. But the generation that Bauerlein writes of is very different. Ignorant of politics and government, art and music, prose and poetry, the Dumbest Generation is content to turn up its iPods and tune out the realities of the adult world. It is brash, pampered, young, and dumb -- and content to stay that way.

Or so argues Bauerlein, an Emory University English professor and baby boomer. It would be an easy accusation for my generation (I'm 23) to ignore. After all, the fogies have always railed against the ignorance and excesses of youth. What's the point of reading a book or going to a museum in the age of Wikipedia? Why bother knowing who the Speaker of the House is or voting for president when the only vote that matters is the hit count on my latest YouTube video? Being able to locate Mexico on a world map or name the Axis powers during World War II won't help me score a date on Friday night or get tapped for the high school football team.

But something is different this time. In past generations, the young had fewer opportunities to fritter away their lives. Two-parent households and a generally religious culture made sure of it. Today, half of teens grow up in single-parent households and secularism dominates society. Undergirding that is the digital culture, the 24/7 rush of information and entertainment that young adults thrive on. Bauerlein says it's a rush that's killing their intellectual development.

(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: dumbest; generation; genx
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1 posted on 01/15/2009 6:47:55 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
This is what the author of the book observes :

"Speaking of homework, teens spend twice as much time in front of the boob tube as they do completing school assignments, according to a study Bauerlein refers to in the book. The citation is one of many he uses to build his case against the encroaching evils of the digital world. Given the evidence, it's not a hard case to make. When a higher percentage of students can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of government, something is amiss.

Bauerlein points to reading apathy as a major contributing factor. One study found that 18- to 24-year-olds are the least active, least avid reading group in the country except for those 75 and older (who probably suffer from age-related ailments that make reading difficult to begin with). High school and college students have time to read -- another study found that they average five and a half hours of leisure time per day -- but they choose less intellectually stimulating avenues of entertainment. In fact, the average teen now dedicates the equivalent of a full-time job to media. "It isn't enough to say that these young people are uninterested in world realities. They are actively cut off from them," Bauerlein writes.

2 posted on 01/15/2009 6:49:10 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
yup. I would agree with that.

Anyone see that movie Idiocracy?

3 posted on 01/15/2009 6:51:57 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: SeekAndFind
yup. I would agree with that.

Anyone see that movie Idiocracy?

4 posted on 01/15/2009 6:51:57 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: SeekAndFind
The reviewer defends today's electronic media gadgets, saying:

Yet these entertainment mediums are just that -- mediums that can be used for either good or evil. How an individual chooses to use the tool is the moral question, not the tool itself.

But Marshall McLuhan might disagree. Sticking an ipod in your ears, chatting with total strangers on MySpace, etc. -- it's pretty central to this sort of lifestyle that you're not interacting with the world that's in front of you -- you're off in your own world. The author seems to be making this point, but the reviewer seems not to be getting the point. Maybe that's because he's part of the Dumbest Generation.

5 posted on 01/15/2009 6:54:16 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: SeekAndFind

—bflr-


6 posted on 01/15/2009 6:55:47 PM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the MSM tells you about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
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To: rellimpank

Bundesanstalt fur Landeskunde und Raumen…?


7 posted on 01/15/2009 7:04:28 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: SeekAndFind

It doesn’t matter. There are still plenty of smart kids who read, understand abstract concepts and are willing to work their butts off.


8 posted on 01/15/2009 7:08:03 PM PST by durasell
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To: SeekAndFind

This thread relates:

THIS KID’S A TEXT MANIAC OMG! 14,528 MESSAGES IN A MONTH!
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2163104/posts


9 posted on 01/15/2009 7:10:19 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: SeekAndFind

I supervise people who fit into this category and say:

“the world needs ditch diggers too.”


10 posted on 01/15/2009 7:14:15 PM PST by keving (We get the government we vote for)
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To: durasell

It does matter. The idiots will drag the smart ones down. Higher taxes because the idiots can’t take care of themselves. Higher crime because idiots are more likely to turn to drugs and crime. Higher out of wedlock births because idiots don’t think about consequences to their own offspring let alone society. More idiots in public office because idiots can be easily persuaded and bought by shiny baubles and “free” money.


11 posted on 01/15/2009 7:15:17 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: SeekAndFind

12 posted on 01/15/2009 7:19:37 PM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: GeronL

bttt


13 posted on 01/15/2009 7:21:26 PM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: Calpernia

Thats where we are headed


14 posted on 01/15/2009 7:27:40 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: SeekAndFind

Anecdotal but from speaking to younger people at work they have no idea of the evils of Communism or Socialism, they think of these systems as viable alternate forms of government. This is scary.


15 posted on 01/15/2009 7:27:59 PM PST by this_ol_patriot (I saw manbearpig and all I got was this lousy tagline.)
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; m18436572; InShanghai; xrp; ...

Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.  

16 posted on 01/15/2009 7:28:03 PM PST by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: SeekAndFind

My wife is 28. I am 35 — She has an IPOD, I do not. I have no degree — only about 90 credits toward a History degree. My wife has a bachelor’s in speech language pathology and is on her way to a Master’s. She graduated summa cum laude and currently has a 3.9 GPA — she has less than a year left. All while working full-time with our child who is now two years old.

Dumb? Disinterested? Swamped by digital media? I don’t think so! People need to be careful when they paint with such broad strokes. There are slackers in all generations.


17 posted on 01/15/2009 7:31:13 PM PST by model B (attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference -- Sir Winston Churchill)
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To: SeekAndFind
Does the not trusting any one under 30 include the Men and Woman who are fighting our enemies? I mean if we are going to make stupid generalizations.
18 posted on 01/15/2009 7:31:15 PM PST by JimC214
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To: SeekAndFind

Oh. Like all those men and women who are serving in the Armed Forces and defending the asses of people like the author?


19 posted on 01/15/2009 7:33:03 PM PST by Kozak (USA 7/4/1776 to 1/20/2009 Requiescat In Pace)
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To: SeekAndFind

20 posted on 01/15/2009 7:33:11 PM PST by Starfleet Command
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To: Cicero

—my Geramn is limited to “nein”-— bump for later reading—


21 posted on 01/15/2009 7:36:29 PM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the MSM tells you about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
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To: model B

Slackers are not exceptions when their numbers rise to the level of pandemic. I admire you and your defense of the nuclear family you have built but based on my own annecdotal sampling, you are the exception, not them. Sorry.


22 posted on 01/15/2009 7:40:36 PM PST by johnnycap
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To: durasell
It doesn’t matter. There are still plenty of smart kids who read, understand abstract concepts and are willing to work their butts off.

I don't think technology and smart, hard working, well read kids are always at odds w/each other.

Our 20 year old has an iTouch iPod, does the Facebook thing (well so do I for that matter), texts his friends, a lot, yet he's graduated from college and has one year of his graduate work under his belt. He reads voraciously, and is forever coming home with new books that his dad and I read after he's finished with them (LOL), this is in addition to the reading he has to do for his classes. He works on campus as a GA...yet he doesn't seem to lack time for any of these activities.

I think there's plenty of time in the day to read, use technology (heck look how much time we sometimes spend on FR), work, and socialize.

23 posted on 01/15/2009 7:45:34 PM PST by Dawn531
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To: SeekAndFind

My 16 year old niece works on the student newspaper at her public high school. She did a survey of fellow students if they knew what the Bill of Rights are. Unfortunately, most failed. Most of her peers thought healthcare, housing, minimum wage, and college education were a part of the Bill of Rights.


24 posted on 01/15/2009 7:45:48 PM PST by yongin (I support the new President the same way Code Pink supports our troops)
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To: beaversmom

I’ve seen the “smart ones.” Many of them are either the kids of immigrants or the kids of hyper-intelligent professional parents. It looks to me, they’re the kids who’ll grow up to run things.

Of course, there’s also the overseas competition — about a billion kids in India and China all willing to work their butts off 24/7 for a house in the suburbs, a decent mid-sized car and a chance to send their kids to college


25 posted on 01/15/2009 7:58:31 PM PST by durasell
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To: johnnycap

Yeah I know we’re a dying breed. But you know what?

I have no fear. The cream always rises to the top.


26 posted on 01/15/2009 7:59:10 PM PST by model B (attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference -- Sir Winston Churchill)
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To: SeekAndFind

Just 1 preliminary comment/observation:

If this professor is really “Boomer” (perhaps of the Hippie genre, specifically), I find it all so typical that he’d insult yet another younger generation.

Not that he is, or it’s so terrible, or totally wrong. Just can’t help observing how the Hippie Boomers are so good at calling everyone else “bad” in 1 way or another.


27 posted on 01/15/2009 8:17:47 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: GeronL

Funny you mention that. I saw it a year ago and in some ways was intrigued.

Just last night I looked it up on IMDB to see if anyone was scared by it the way I was.

Oh, they’re scared, alright, but “they” see it the opposite - that the country is full of idiots who are “right” leaning, voting for Bush, etc.

The irony is the stupidity and baseness and shallowness of the people in the movie is set in the amoral landscape that Leftists as them so love.


28 posted on 01/15/2009 8:20:44 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: model B
People need to be careful when they paint with such broad strokes.

Broad strokes here? At F.R.? Surely you jest.

I'm a retired union member. Wanna see broad strokes? Just wait.

29 posted on 01/15/2009 8:21:59 PM PST by Graybeard58
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To: durasell

Actually, we need less “smart” than we do honest, moral and hard-working.


30 posted on 01/15/2009 8:22:29 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

exactly, there was nothing right-leaning about that future.


31 posted on 01/15/2009 8:23:48 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m 38, but it’s the nature of my life and work that I interact with a lot of people in their early twenties on a daily basis. I see some of what the author describes, but I don’t see it as pandemic at all. Virtually everyone of that generation uses the media in question, but I haven’t observed use of such as being a factor in whether or not they are smart and hardworking or dumb and complacent. In those respects, they seem to be no different than any other group of people, meaning that some of them are the former group, and some the latter. Certainly this isn’t scientific, just my own anecdotal observations. I’d be interested in reading the book once it becomes available at the library. Doesn’t seem like the sort of thing I’d spend money on.


32 posted on 01/15/2009 8:26:32 PM PST by squidly
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To: johnnycap

Agree. Lots of people take great offense to things that are, unfortunately, all too true, just because they happen to belong to that group. (Remind us of anything?)

The “don’t use such broad brush strokes/generalizations” is a common protest.

Happens all the time with the Hippie generation. So many Boomers are offended how so many come in and speak the truth that Boomers altered the nation in a bad way, etc.

It goes without saying that tons of “Boomers” are good solid people, and many willingly fought a war, etc, but the truth is far too many spoke out loudly and wielded heavy influence the wrong way.


33 posted on 01/15/2009 8:30:25 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: squidly

I’m pretty sure that the first person I knew who owned an iPod was my father. He was about 60.


34 posted on 01/15/2009 8:32:45 PM PST by Dianna (<i>)
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To: GeronL

All those “idiot” reviewers/posters could whine about was the “corporatism” of Big Evil Companies getting their stuff out everywhere and everyone only able to get their things! As always. They never worry about the real power - government. Communists.


35 posted on 01/15/2009 8:34:45 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

lol. I’m going to leave a review of the critics


36 posted on 01/15/2009 8:36:07 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: SeekAndFind
A good depression is whats needed to straighten out 3 generations.
37 posted on 01/15/2009 8:39:22 PM PST by dalereed
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To: this_ol_patriot

Anecdotal but from speaking to younger people at work they have no idea of the evils of Communism or Socialism, they think of these systems as viable alternate forms of government. This is scary.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tell me about it! The worst part is they have absolutely no clue to the fact that they are totally ignorant and they DON’T WANT TO LEARN! They think they are smart! Most of them are little more than zombies in that department. The poll results from the Obama voters plainly showed that they had no clue what they were voting for. We have millions who are beyond hope or help but they vote anyway and they are producing more zombies every day. I am reminded of a short story I read long ago, I think it was titled,”The Marching Morons”.


38 posted on 01/15/2009 8:39:47 PM PST by RipSawyer (Great Grandpa was a Confederate soldier from the cradle of secession.)
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To: keving
Rub it in their heads


39 posted on 01/15/2009 8:53:44 PM PST by BBell
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To: ClearCase_guy

Chatting with strangers on myspace? Except for two trivia/book group kinds of friends, I have met every person who is on my myspace list. Then, again, I’m over 30.


40 posted on 01/15/2009 9:02:38 PM PST by HungarianGypsy
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To: the OlLine Rebel

Yeah, we should leave smart to China and the EU s/


41 posted on 01/15/2009 9:03:54 PM PST by durasell
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To: SeekAndFind
Comparisons of different generations are invidious and usually originate from older observers about younger ones, but they have a long tradition.

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

~SOCRATES (469–399 B.C.)"

42 posted on 01/15/2009 9:23:18 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: beaversmom

The idiots will drag the smart ones down.

&&&
Indeed. I encountered this many times in the classroom.


43 posted on 01/15/2009 9:45:57 PM PST by Bigg Red (Palin in 2012!)
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To: keving

Judge Smeales


44 posted on 01/15/2009 10:10:39 PM PST by al baby (Hi mom)
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To: SeekAndFind
That's the most ominous implication of Bauerlein's findings. An uneducated citizenry is handy for ambitious politicians but disastrous for the welfare of a republic. At best, the Dumbest Generation might be remembered as useful idiots. At worst, as Bauerlein puts it, it could be remembered as the generation that lost the great American heritage, forever.

They don't give a ##ck. As long as they've got their little Myspace page, their little earphones, their little insignificant and meaningless world --- who cares?

45 posted on 01/15/2009 10:19:58 PM PST by Lexinom
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To: keving

Suppose that’s a nice positive spin on it...


46 posted on 01/15/2009 10:20:45 PM PST by Lexinom
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To: Lexinom

Hell given the chance most generations is like that. 90% of kids don’t want to learn fractions and read Moby Dick be it 1955 when they was into hot rods,rock and roll and drive in movies or today.

The big difference was that the baby boomers had to learn things in school or else. Now that the baby boomers are the teachers, principals, and professors they have let the education standards slide in the name of self esteem and other education fads. These kids isn’t going to be picking up this stuff on their own, they have to be educated.

This generation isn’t dumb it is ignorant.


47 posted on 01/15/2009 11:18:26 PM PST by Swiss
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To: Swiss
Remember E.D. Hirsch's book, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know (1988)?

Maybe the realization among some people that we needed a book like that (e.g. a dietary supplement because our regular diet was no longer balanced and adequate) was the beginning of the end.

48 posted on 01/15/2009 11:23:47 PM PST by thecodont
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To: Anti-Bubba182

Richard Vernon: You think about this: when you get old, these kids - when *I* get old - they’re going to be running the country.
Carl: Yeah.
Richard Vernon: Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night. That when I get older, these kids are going to take care of me.
Carl: I wouldn’t count on it.

The Breakfast Club (1985)


49 posted on 01/15/2009 11:26:48 PM PST by Swiss
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To: thecodont

Well sad to say but anymore when I go into Barnes and Noble or other bookstores I wonder if this was what it was like during the decline of the Roman Empire.

Every year the number of well written interesting books declines in my opinion. Hell the fiction authors of just ten or twenty years ago seems like giants compared with now and I knew that the Steven King’s and Tom Clancy’s of that era was just hacks compared Steinbeck and others of earlier eras.

As for kids reading newspapers, most adults have given up on the newspapers. The typical newspaper of say the 1970’s read like Shakespeare compared with the trash that is called journalism nowadays.


50 posted on 01/15/2009 11:37:10 PM PST by Swiss
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