Outsourced to Kevin Drum:
The Washington Monthly: HOW DUMB ARE WE?....What a remarkable essay this is. Susan Jacoby spends 1,500 words telling us that Americans are getting dumber but doesn't offer a single piece of evidence to support this notion. Not one. She tells us that we're reading fewer books. She tells us that it's bad for toddlers to watch a lot of TV. She tells us that campaign soundbites are getting shorter. She tells us that FDR urged people to buy maps so they could follow his fireside chats during World War II. She tells us that kids today don't care much about geography.
But dumber implies a comparison over time. It demands evidence that kids (or adults, for that matter) are less capable, less knowledgable, or less adept than they were 50 years ago. And who knows? Maybe they are. But I'm only willing to be persuaded if Jacoby is willing to offer up some actual evidence first.
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?