There was this rant the other day on NPR from some snot nosed kid whining about what a bunch of losers Baby Boomers are and how they dropped the ball. Nothing new, the same old Your Day is Over and Our Day is Just Beginning crap that every generation delivers at some point to the generation preceding it. The world will be a perfect place when all these old bastards are dead. But a funny thing happens, a whole new crop of old bastards shows up and takes their place. Only to be told by the new kids how much they suck and how much better the world will be when they are dead.
The Dumbest Generation takes the other view of things. It’s not the old bastards you have to worry about, its the idiot kids under thirty. The Dumbest Generation tells the story of kids who never want to grown up. They live at home until they are thirty, have multiple sex partners and multiple jobs, and they spend their spare time on Myspace and Facebook-that is they waste their time on social networks.
The real problem isn’t that these kids are all idiots, which most of them seem to be judging from the mountains of data recounted in The Dumbest Generation, but that all previous generations look at them and say gee, how did we miss out? No one wants to work for a living. No one wants to have settle for a dull life when one of endless adventure is there for the taking. So instead of being told to get off their lazy asses-we all try to figure out how to do the same things ourselves. Ok, not totally true. The Dumbest Generation is not about slacker envy. It’s about a world where morons hold the keys and run the shop-if they can it. A world just a few years down the road from now.
In standard blogger fashion I didn’t actually read The Dumbest Generation. The countless statistics and studies quoted left my head spinning. Suffice to say they all point to the fact kids are dumber and more determined to remain dumb than they have ever been before. Anyone who spends any time on a high school campus could have told you that without having to do a study. Again, there is not so much a feeling of kids today get away with murder, as there is a feeling of why did I have to wear shoes and long pants? Kids wear whatever they want and do whatever they want. And when someone tries to impose even the smallest dress code there are literal riots in the streets. As long they’re fighting for something important like studded belts.
Does fashion have anything to do with intelligence? Hard to say, but you sure look less intelligent with a shaved head and tattoos on all visible skin. Before I am lynched by erudite conclaves of the Pierced and Tattooed Mensa-ites of America, I tend to like tattoos and piercings. I also tend to think that most scientists are more old school like Ducky and less like punk rock like Abby on NCIS.
In my own totally unscientific survey I have found that most people don’t know the significance of 1066 or what animals Hannibal took over the Alps-let alone what battles where involved. The Dumbest Generation says that most kids can’t name the Three Branches of Government-and it has been a while since Schoolhouse Rock was on all the time.
The interesting bit is not people under under thirty are stupid, implying they can’t learn, but they are ignorant, meaning they don’t want to learn. More to the point, they don’t want to learn stuff that they don’t think is important-such as the three branches of Government or who the Secretary of State is. I don’t spell well myself, but I have a spell checking that works pretty well most of the time. I tend to Google just about anything I have a question about, so why should I carry around any more useless info in my head? The Dumbest Generation addresses this issue, but still maintains that real learning that involves using the brain and not the internet is more important.
I was never a big fan of school and did a lot of serious learning on my own once I graduated. But I had all the basic stuff already in place-my public school education was a pretty solid one. There was a lot of total crap as well, but you never know what you will actually use in life until you need it. Hence that whole idea of a well rounded education.
But Modern Education has followed the long tail down to it’s logical conclusion that each student should study what they want to study. After all the kid who made Facebook is bleeding rich even if the people using it are all idiots. And yes, I do have a Facebook account, but I’m not under thirty.