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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  March 2006, Week 1

ARCHIVES March 2006, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Early Friday Funny

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 6 Mar 2006 15:54:22 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (151 lines)

While there always has been some generational grousing, there is enough 
poll data to suggest that the number of people reading about current 
events has dropped.  This obviously has greater implications than 
whether one generation follows another'sl tastes in music, 
entertainment, etc.  I'm not talking about where people get their news 
(traditional print or broadcast journalism, cable, Internet, etc.).  
I'm talking about whether they follow the news at all.  In fact, just 
recently David Mindich published a book, _Tuned Out: Why Americans 
Under 40 Don't Follow the News_.
See
http://shrinkster.com/cpw .

An article about public diplomacy in the National Journal in 2005 noted 
the results of a poll in 1994

"Americans also fare poorly compared with Europeans both in following 
the news and in understanding it, according to a 1994 survey by Pew's 
predecessor, the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press. No 
identical survey has been done since the 1994 study, but in that study, 
Americans were less likely than the Germans or the British to have read 
a newspaper the day before the survey was taken and were less likely 
than the Germans, the Italians, or the British to have listened to 
television news.

And when asked five current-events questions based on items then in the 
news, Americans scored next to last among the eight nationalities 
polled, ahead only of the Spanish. More disturbingly, young Americans 
trailed British, Spanish, Italian, and German members of their 
generation in reading a newspaper and were the group least likely to 
understand international news. That inattentive and uninformed 
generation of Americans is now 10 years older, and it would appear, 
based on the more recent Pew survey, that they are even less engaged 
with the world today than they were a decade ago."

See also
http://www.education-world.com/a_issues/chat/chat078.shtml
for an discussion of the observation that many young Americans are 
"aliterate" -- that is, they know how to read but choose not to!

The Washington Post's Linton Weeks reported on this phenomenon on May 
14, 2001 in an article, "The No-Book Report: Skim It and Weep:  More 
and More Americans Who Can Read Are Choosing Not To. Can We Afford to 
Write Them Off?"

Weeks noted, "A 1999 Gallup Poll found that only 7 percent of Americans 
were voracious readers, reading more than a book a week, while some 59 
percent said they had read fewer than 10 books in the previous year. 
Though book clubs seem popular now, only 6 percent of those who read 
belong to one. The number of people who don't read at all, the poll 
concluded, has been rising for the past 20 years."

Weeks reported that "To Jim Trelease, author of "The Read-Aloud 
Handbook," this trend away from the written word is more than 
worrisome. It's wicked. It's tearing apart our culture. People who have 
stopped reading, he says, "base their future decisions on what they 
used to know.

"If you don't read much, you really don't know much," he says. "You're 
dangerous."

Weeks specifically addresses the "loss of heritage."

To read the Weeks piece, go to
http://shrinkster.com/cpx

All of this suggests that there must be something going on beyond the 
usual us vs. them that you find with various generations.  But, I'm not 
a sociologist, I just know what I know from reading the Washington 
Post, Washington Times, the New York Times, Newsweek, U.S. News & World 
Report, and Time on a routine basis -- that is reading them every 
day/week, to say nothing of various supplemental journals, LOL.

Maarja



-----Original Message-----
From: Scott, Paul (FPM) <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent:         Mon, 6 Mar 2006 14:07:56 -0600
Subject: Re: Early Friday Funny

Colleagues,

 

Perhaps it is time we reflected upon human foibles-especially our own.

 

Whenever colleagues talk about how woefully ignorant the younger 
generation is, I recall a conversation I overheard between two history 
professors in 1965 or 1966.  They discussed how woefully unprepared 
were the undergraduates "nowadays" and how my generation did not know 
the basic elements of American History, let alone world history.  We 
were even surprisingly ignorant of recent events of only 10-20 years 
ago.  This conversation was only remarkable only because I've heard it 
many times since then, and not only from historians and archivists.  It 
all breaks down to the same phenomenon-the younger generation is 
pitiful.

 

Give the kids a break-they haven't lived through half the stuff the 
rest of us have, nor have they had the opportunity to read even 5% as 
much as the average old timer.  Besides, it seems that no one has ever 
learned all that much about American History in High School.  And what 
do we know of their culture?  How many of us over 50 watch their shows, 
listen to their music, or play their games?  I don't.  The average 
teenager today probably knows more about rock-and-roll than I know 
about hip hop. 

 

The bottom line is that the younger generation is going to the 
dogs-always has been-always will.  But, in the end, they will bury us.

 

Paul R. Scott, CA, CRM

(Curmudgeon 3rd Class)

 


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