Lee Drutman reviews The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein. The book's thesis:
Increasingly disconnected from the "adult" world of tradition, culture, history, context and the ability to sit down for more than five minutes with a book, today's digital generation is becoming insulated in its own stultifying cocoon of bad spelling, civic illiteracy and endless postings that hopelessly confuse triviality with transcendence.
The natural (and anticipated) response would indeed be to dismiss him as your archetypal cranky old professor who just can't understand why "kids these days" don't find Shakespeare as timeless as he always has. Such alarmism ignores the context and history he accuses the youth of lacking -- the fact that mass ignorance and apathy have always been widespread in anti-intellectual America, especially among the youth. Maybe something is different this time. But, of course. Something is different every time.
Kassia Krozser comments:
So tired of Mark Bauerlein and his theories on how weâre going to hell in a handbasket. Is it really such a shock that 15 to 24 year olds arenât doing a lot of pleasure reading in their free time?
I liked Carr's article better.