Are we dumber?

Well, I think so, and so, apparently, does fellow curmudgeon Mark Bauerlein, who has written a book entitled The Dumbest Generation:

“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. Two-thirds of U.S. undergraduates now score above average on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, up 30% since 1982, he reports.”

They’re depraved, man, these snot-nosed kids!!!

I seem to be reading a lot of this stuff lately. Over at the Atlantic, Nicholas Carr writes of a similar phenomenon in an article entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”:

“As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

Yep. I see it happening, every day. Skimming the surface, missing the point. Then there’s this, from Slate, entitled “Lazy Eyes: How We Read Online”:

“”You, my dear user, pluck the low-hanging fruit. When you arrive on a page, you don’t actually deign to read it. You scan. If you don’t see what you need, you’re gone.”

Yeah… I read the first part of it, but then lost interest. Gotta go!

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