Sunday, January 4, 2009

Entrenching the Google=Stupid meme

Picked this up from a reTweet by Stony River. StonyRiver RT @mwesch "Is Stupid Making us Google?" James Bowman explores cultural (not just tech) trends impacting higher ed

Lots of people getting mileage out of the Google=stupid meme. Here is another but with some interesting applications of critical theory.

Bowman, J. (2008). Is Stupid Making Us Google? The New Atlantis, 21(Summer), 75-80. Retrieved January 4, 2009, from

This article is a review and discussion of Mark Bauerlein's his new book, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.

Talking about the changes to intelligence as a consequence of technology. The Flynn effect that suggests that scores on intelligence tests have been increasing and that the notion of reading has changed. Also that the nature of intelligence has changed. Well Duh! The measures of intelligence that are being used have long been suspect for their support of cultural dominance and hegemony.

There is a challenge to the idea of "great literature" although it looks like the author of this article sees critical analysis as an abdication of the "guardians of Culture" ie professors and academics.

Snip from the article ".....Most of his fellow professors have no interest in the “great” works of the Western tradition—indeed, they reject the very idea of “greatness”—except to “deconstruct” it, along with the works to which it has been attributed, showing how their unexamined political assumptions have tended to reinforce the patriarchal, imperialist, racist, and homophobic foundation on which traditional societies have been built. Only now, in the work of our most advanced theorists, have these assumptions finally been brought to light and exposed for what they are."

The article also criticizes the over-emphasis of the socialization function over learning (through developed reading skills) of the industrial education model.

Bowman references Johnson, S. (2006). Everything Bad is Good for You. New York : T. and supports the sentiment expressed in this quote.

....No one has ever taught them that books can be read for pleasure or enlightenment—or for any other purpose than to be exposed as the coded rationalization for the illegitimate powers of the ruling classes that they really are. Why would you willingly read a single line of literature if that is all you supposed it to consist of?

Over all this article is furthering the Google=Stupid meme and may be trying to prop up some hegemonic values of old media and the control structures of knowledge production and dissemination.

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