RE: The Dumbing Down of America

Subject: RE: The Dumbing Down of America
From: salatas <salatas -at- micron -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 13:09:04 -0600

Dan Emory wrote:

"I'm reading the new biography of John Adams. The literateness and breadth
of knowledge of people back then is amazing. Read the letters of Adams'
Abigail, for instance."

Dan, you can't judge the literacy of an entire generation based on the
letters of one elite member. I have some letters from my husband's ancestors
who settled in Kansas around 1870. Their children must have missed out on
going to that alleged school in Salina. I think that they were too busy
trying to survive. The letters are filled with such charming phrases as
"Ehrn it gets too cold..." and "Me and Frank been halling feed..."

"The internet is teaching teen-agers as well adults how to skim-read, not
how to read in depth. The result has been an exponential increase in the
size of the non-literate caste."

I don't think that you've established a causal relationship here. I have two
of those wired teenagers at home. One of them reads voraciously and one
doesn't read unless he's forced. I can't link any of their many online
activities to their literary inclinations. Could their preferences have
anything to do with the fact that I read voraciously and my husband doesn't?

The TW tie-in: Know your audience, but also know that individuals vary
greatly within a population.

Salette Latas


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