By Mark Bauerlein
This stunning, unusually enjoyable romp into the highbrow nether areas of trendy underthirty set finds the annoying and, finally, incontrovertible fact: cyberculture is popping us right into a society of know-nothings.
The Dumbest Generation is a dire file at the highbrow lifetime of teenagers and a well timed caution of its influence on American democracy and culture.
For many years, problem has been brewing concerning the dumbed-down pop culture to be had to children and the influence it has on their futures. yet on the sunrise of the electronic age, many idea they observed a solution: the net, e-mail, blogs, and interactive and hyper-realistic games promised to yield a iteration of sharper, extra conscious, and intellectually refined teenagers. The phrases “information superhighway” and “knowledge financial system” entered the lexicon, and we assumed that young people may use their wisdom and realizing of know-how to set themselves aside because the vanguards of this new electronic era.
That used to be the promise. however the enlightenment didn’t occur. The expertise that used to be presupposed to make teenagers extra conscious, diversify their tastes, and increase their verbal abilities has had the other impact. in keeping with fresh stories from the nationwide Endowment for the humanities, such a lot youngsters within the usa don't learn literature, stopover at museums, or vote. they can't clarify simple clinical tools, recount uncomplicated American historical past, identify their neighborhood political representatives, or find Iraq or Israel on a map. The Dumbest new release: How the electronic Age Stupefies younger american citizens and Jeopardizes Our Future is a startling exam of the highbrow lifetime of teens and a well timed caution of its influence on American tradition and democracy.
Over the previous couple of a long time, how we view early life itself has replaced, turning out to be from a pitstop at the street to maturity to its personal area in society, thoroughly break away grownup lifestyles. this alteration in adolescent tradition has long gone hand in hand with an insidious infantilization of our tradition at huge; as kids proceed to disengage from the grownup global, they've got equipped their very own, buying extra spending cash, guidance school rooms and tradition in the direction of their very own wishes and pursuits, and now utilizing the expertise as soon as promoted because the maximum desire for his or her futures to bask in diversions, from MySpace to multiplayer games, 24/7.
Can a state proceed to take pleasure in political and financial predominance if its electorate refuse to develop up? Drawing upon exhaustive examine, own anecdotes, and ancient and social research, The Dumbest iteration presents a portrait of the younger American brain at this serious juncture, and lays out a compelling imaginative and prescient of ways we would handle its deficiencies. The Dumbest Generation pulls no punches because it unearths the real rate of the electronic age—and our final probability to mend it.
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Extra info for The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future(Or, Don 't Trust Anyone Under 30)
One Whitman junior, categorised by means of Robbins “The Stealth Overachiever,” gets an attractive 2380 (out of 2400) on a PSAT try, yet rather than rejoicing, he concerns that the corporate administering the perform run “made the diagnostics more uncomplicated so scholars might imagine the category used to be operating. ” Audrey, “The Perfectionist,” struggles for weeks to accomplish her toothpick bridge, which she and her associate count on will win them a place within the Physics Olympics. She’s one of many younger Democrats, too, and he or she does catering jobs. Her motivation sticks out, and she or he thinks any other scholar competes along with her in my view, so every time she gets a graded try out or paper, “she [turns] it over with no it after which [puts] it away, resolving to not payment the grade till she [gets] domestic. ” “AP Frank” grew to become a Whitman legend whilst as a junior he controlled a “seven-AP direction load that had him learning each afternoon, snoozing in the course of category, and going lunchless. ” whilst he scored 1570 at the SAT, his domineering mom screamed in dismay, and her surprise subsided merely while he retook it and bought definitely the right 1600. Julie, “The Superstar,” has 5 AP sessions and an internship 3 times per week at a museum, and he or she runs cross-country in addition. each night after dinner she descends to the “homework cave” until eventually bedtime and past. She obtained “only” 1410 at the SAT, although, and she or he wonders the place it's going to land her subsequent fall. those children have descended right into a “competitive frenzy,” Robbins mourns, and the highschool that are supposed to open their minds and strengthen their characters has develop into a torture sector, a “hotbed for Machiavellian method. ” They discount and bully and suck up for larger grades. They pay tutors and coaches huge, immense sums to elevate their rankings a couple of issues and support with the admissions procedure. mom and dad hover and question, they usually time table their young ones all the way down to the minute. Grade inflation merely makes it worse, an A- commonplace now a stigma, now not an accomplishment. They can’t chill out, they can’t play. It’s killing them, throwing delicate and clever youngsters into pathologies of guilt and depression. the pro rat race of yore—men in grey flannel fits mountaineering the enterprise ladder—has filtered down into the pre-college years, and Robbins’s tormented matters demonstrate the results. The success chase displaces different lifestyles questions, and the children can’t appear to break out it. while David Brooks toured Princeton and interviewed scholars again in 2001, he heard of joyless days and nights with out room for newspapers or politics or relationship, simply “one skill-enhancing job to the subsequent. ” He calls them “Organization young children” (after the outdated association guy determine of the fifties), scholars who “have to time table appointment occasions for chatting. ” They’ve been programmed for achievement, and a preschool-to-college gauntlet of standardized checks, mounting homework, motivational messages, and extracurricular projects has rewarded or punished them at each degree. The process tabulates studying frequently and ranks scholars opposed to each other, and the scholars quickly divine its essence: merely effects topic.