Just How Stupid Are We?

Tue, Aug 12, 2008 at 7:30 PM
I have just spent the last two days in focus groups with teenagers. I now have a whole new understanding of the dumbest generation.

In Just How Stupid Are We? Rick Shenkman talks about how only 10% percent know the year 1066 as the date of the Norman Conquest, less than half know the names of their Senators or members of Congress and only 34% know that Congress declares war (well, they don’t really—there have only been eight declarations of war and only five declared wars in our entire history, the last one in 1942). That just shows how completely out of touch he is. From what I saw today only a small fraction even knows what month it is.

People don’t read—they don’t even know what to do with words. They are not illiterate, the can decipher them when prompted. But they just won’t bother unless they absolutely have to. They certainly demand no interest or attention let alone delight. People today seem to scan for pictures and react to those. It is easier to click around and use trial and error than to bother to read a caption. Besides, reading presumes that you have some goal or purpose, that you might want to know something—how passé. The dominant driving force today is bright moving colors and loud noises without purpose or reason. Exactly the sort of fare you get from TV, blockbuster movies, Las Vegas and Disneyland.

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~ by severalfourmany on August 12, 2008.

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