Mark Bauerlein on ‘The Dumbest Generation’

by Thomas A. Shakely

In this week’s episode of, Andy Nash speaks with Mark Bauerlein on how modern social technology and targeted media isolate and absorb young people as often — if not more — than those technologies empower them as thinkers, as intellectuals, and as maturing adults.

Bauerlein, a professor at Emory University, is author of the 2009 book The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30).

Watch “The Adolescent Instinct & The Dumbest Generation“:

In the interview, Bauerlein speaks bluntly about the problem as he sees it:

“Youth culture is, by and large, anti-intellectual. It is anti-eloquence, anti-historical, [and] it is fixated on the concerns of adolescence. The trends, the fashions, the idioms, the lingo, the music, of seventeen year olds, and that world is adolescent.

“What’s happened is that we’ve lost that adult pressure in young people’s lives, and we’ve got now peer pressure all the time, and this is not harming their native intelligence, but it’s wrapping them up, absorbing them into adolsecent concerns way too much through the adolescent years.

“The idea of indulging the young,” says Bauerlein, “is an abdication of responsibility” by adults, and mentors, he says, should promote engagement with “intelligent media.”


“You have to preserve critical period of time in the day to encounter important things in history, politics, arts, literature. If you don’t, it will cost you when you’re 30 years old. They will help you in the workplace, in the job interview.”

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