Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader

I was on World Have Your Say again last night (if you’re my mom, you can download the show). The discussion was about Susan Jacoby’s new book The Age of American Unreason, which claims that Americans are getting dumber and dumber. Most of what she had to say was an attack on “video culture”, essentially saying that Americans watch too much TV, which leads us to swallow information in smaller soundbytes with less critical thinking, which leads to a dumbed-down knowledge of the world, which leads to uniformed decisions.

The problem is, when someone — even someone I generally agree with — throws out a shock statistic like “99.99% of adults haven’t opened a single book this year,” you have to wonder about the data collection methods behind the statistic. Swallowing the numbers without knowing where they came from is participating in the dumbing-down. One might even say that throwing out such shock stats is helping to dumb down America.

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0 Responses to Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader

  1. Hugo says:

    I AGREE! you Rock!

  2. ??? says:

    . . . do they have books in America 🙂

  3. Hugo says:

    yes but only is Manga counts

  4. Hugo says:

    ok… i ment to say and now its no longer funny but “only if manga counts” sorry

  5. threegee says:

    I say, no more uniforms for decisions! From now on, decisions get to choose their own clothes, like the rest of us.

    Silly rabbit, books are for kids.

  6. Meg says:

    ??? — Sadly, it’s not having books that’s the issue, it’s the opening and looking inside.

    I actually agree with the majority of what she is saying. But it seems like she’s only reaching people who read academic books, which is either preaching to the choir of educated pleasure-readers OR cliquish backslapping, using the academic argument to prove “we’re smart, they’re not”. I can’t condemn making fun of dumb people (for proof, see previous years of blog entries) but it seems that readers of the book will respond with agreement but not surprsie, while non-readers will see it as elitist whining and go back to American Idol.

  7. Meg says:

    by the way, Hugo boss, what have you got against comics? They’ve got words and everything!

  8. Anonymous says:

    America is the richest and the most powerful country in the world. “If you are smart, why aren’t you rich?”

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