The Dumbest Generation

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Yesha Patel
Mrs. Herzog
AP Lang
16 January 2013
Mark Bauerlein claims that “you guys don’t know anything.” And by “you guys”, he means the under-thirty generation, OUR generation, which he believes to be “The Dumbest Generation.” However, we are just adapting our learning abilities to the situation in which we are educated, which is completely media-focused right now. Technology has provided us with the chance to do our work and research more efficiently. Bauerlein has made a serious, judgmental claim about today’s society, but he has forgotten to acknowledge the positive effects of the new world’s technology and learning habits.

In The Dumbest Generation, Bauerlein makes a valid point that the newest generation does not have as much knowledge as the older generations do. We have different resources which allow us to not have to know all these useless facts, such as “who wrote the oratorio ‘Messiah’ (which 35 percent of college seniors knew in 2002, compared with 56 percent in 1955) (Begley). We just learn where to find this kind of information rather than knowing it. Just because we do not know various facts that older people find to be important does not mean that we are the “dumbest.” It simply shows the transformation of what is important intellectually. However, all of this technology that helps us is also a major distraction, as portrayed in the cartoon, “Shelved” by Roz Chast. A boy is sitting in a comfy chair, headphones in, and laptop on his lap. But, the background is filled with books; he is in a library! He is so engulfed in whatever he is doing on his laptop that he pays no attention to the books around him. Chast drew the books with different faces that express different emotions, but they are powerless and can’t do anything. Chast’s comment is pretty straightforward; the books have been forgotten and abandoned. Their era is over.

Having information easily accessible through the internet is a huge influence on students; however, this does...
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