Friday, June 5, 2009

The Newest Dumbest Generation

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of having my generation called dumb. It seems like every few weeks I read some article about how the youth of American are the dumbest ever.

For the latest example, we turn to USA Today (that paragon of intellectual stimulation), which ran an article on a new book called The Dumbest Generation. The gist of the book is that the generation between the ages of 16 and 29 (of which I am a member) has been intellectually ruined by technology. Apparently my long exposure to the internet medium with all of its gizmos and gadgets has made me incapable of clear thinking or decent academic writing.


But don't worry, for balance, the article quotes someone else saying that youth today aren't dumb, we're just smart in different ways. Smart in different ways? With friends like that, who needs condescending academics? I reject this premise outright. I think it's just the latest example of adults complaining about "kids these days."

Whenever I hear a "kids these days" complaint, I always return to this quote:

"The youth of today love luxury; they have bad manners and contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Youth are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up food at the table, and tyrannize their teachers."

That's from Socrates, who lived about two and a half millennia ago. Kind of ironic to hear that criticism from him, given that he ended up being charged with corrupting the youth of Athens. But more than that, let's keep in mind to whom he might have been referring. After all, Socrates was teacher to Plato, the father of modern philosophy. Yet he was a member of the dumbest generation of that generation.

I guess it sells books and gives elders another reason to shake their heads. But for god's sake, quit calling me dumb. It's my little brother and his friends that we really have to worry about.

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