Book: The Dumbest Generation
A book of interest: Mark Bauerlein’s The Dumbest Generation. What it says is that the under-30 generation is so removed from books and reading that it is shockingly ignorant, and we should all be worried. Bauerlein blames the internet. The Chicago Tribune published a decent review a few days ago. The students at the university where Bauerlein is a professor naturally didn’t like what he has to say about them.
My take on it is that what Bauerlein says is true, but that it is a mistake to treat it as a generational issue. Librarians know the sad truth… and I think this is a definitive truth… As a society we now make available to people an unprecedented amount of valuable information, in the form of millions of books, data sets, and scholarly literature, and people of all ages are ignoring it in favor of television and other forms of mindless media. The potential of all of this unused information and all of these unused minds is incredible, and I am constantly depressed by the choices our society makes. Blaming the younger generation for what the older generation has created is never fair, and distracts us from what is all of our problem. And it is a terrible problem and probably not solvable.