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Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30)
Synopses & Reviews
Let's take stock of young America. Compared to previous generations, American youth have more schooling (college enrollments have never been higher); more money ($100 a week in disposable income); more leisure time (five hours a day); and more news and information (Internet, The Daily Show, RSS feeds).
What do they do with all that time and money? They download, upload, IM, post, chat, and network. (Nine of their top ten sites are for social networking.) They watch television and play video games (2 to 4 hours per day).
And here is what they don't do: They don't read, even online (two thirds aren't proficient in reading); they don't follow politics (most can't name their mayor, governor, or senator); they don't maintain a brisk work ethic (just ask employers); and they don't vote regularly (45 percent can't comprehend a ballot).
They are the dumbest generation. They enjoy all the advantages of a prosperous, high-tech society. Digital technology has fabulously empowered them, loosened the hold of elders. Yet adolescents use these tools to wrap themselves in a generational cocoon filled with puerile banter and coarse images. The founts of knowledge are everywhere, but the rising generation camps in the desert, exchanging stories, pictures, tunes, and texts, savoring the thrill of peer attention. If they don't change, they will be remembered as fortunate ones who were unworthy of the privileges they inherited. They may even be the generation that lost that great American heritage, forever.
This shocking, surprisingly entertaining romp into the intellectual nether regions of today's under-thirty set reveals the disturbing and, ultimately, incontrovertible truth: cyberculture is turning us into a society of know-nothings.
About the Author
Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory University and has worked as a director of research and analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he oversaw studies about culture and American life. His writing has appeared in many publications and scholarly periodicals, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Mark lives with his family in Atlanta. Danny Campbell's regional acting credits include the Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Vermont Stage, Stage West, the Mint Theatre in New York City, and six years with the Independent Shakespeare Company in Los Angeles. His favorite roles include Falstaff, Bottom, Launce, and the Porter. He has appeared in CBS's The Guardian, the recent films A Pool, a Fool, and a Duel and Greater Than Gravity, and over twenty-five commercials. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty in the theatre arts department at Santa Monica College. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, Danny has recently narrated the audiobook Once a Spy by Keith Thomson, and he read the part of David Foster Wallace in Mike Lipsky's Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself.
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