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American Kids: Dumber than Dirt

My first reaction to this article actually came before I even read the first paragraph of the article. It came when I read the extended title which read, “Warning: The next generation might just be the biggest pile of idiots in U.S. history.� I read this and was shocked. All I could think was whoa, how could someone say that about me, my friends, and this generation of kids that I am in. What evidence do they have to back this statement up. This extended title is really the reason that compelled me to continue reading this article.

I used Google to search for Mark Morford, the writer of this article, to get some information about him. I was directed to Wikipedia. On Wikipedia I found that Mark Morford is a very controversial writer. He is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Morford writes about various topics including sex and deviance to popular culture, technology, music and politics. He has actually been suspended twice, once for a comment he made in one of his writing about on a sexual relationship between a teenage male student and an older female teacher and the other time he got suspended for using a swear word in an email news letter.

One thing that a have a problem with is this paragraph:

Nor does he speak merely of the notion that kids these days are overprotected and wussified and don't spend enough time outdoors and don't get any real exercise and therefore can't, say, identify basic plants, or handle a tool, or build, well, anything at all. Again, these things are a given. Widely reported, tragically ignored, nothing new.

This bugs me mainly because I think it is very untrue. Maybe it might be how I was raised or where I am from compared to Morford’s informant from Oakland. I grew up in Cub Scouts and later entered Boy Scouts. Cub Scouts and Boys Scouts taught me a lot about the things mentioned in the above paragraph. I know a lot of people through Boy Scouts and know that a lot of people participate in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from the camps I went to and seeing how many people were at these camps. Earlier in the article it also talked about kids watching too much TV and playing video games. I played a fair share of video games and watched a lot of TV when I was a kid and I am pretty sure I turned out all right. I am attending a major research university after all.

“It's gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country.� For me this is not a very good reason for someone to leave the United States and there are some very good reasons to leave the United States. For example, not agreeing with the United States government and issues going along with the government is a much better reason to leave the United States to go live somewhere else.

The last part of Morford’s article gives reasons why he thinks that American kids are getting stupider. His first argument blames the educational system. From my experience in the public education system where both of my parents taught, I did not think my schooling was that bad. Sure if you did not want to be there let’s face it, you were not going to learn anything. To be taught something one must moderately apply themselves while doing it. After pretty much saying the educational system in the United States sucks, he goes on about how America’s young people have done some great things. For example, he gives the example of kids making the internet what it is today. Morford then wonders how these kids did it. How did they escape the public school system? Morford’s friend came up with saying that those kids were lucky.

As I said before school is a state of mind. You either want to be there and learn or you do not want to be there and you most likely will not learn. This last part of the article I thought was thrown in there by Morford to make himself sound not as harsh towards Americas youth. That is just the way it sounded to me.


First of all, after reading the article “America’s kids, dumber than dirt�, I can not believe that a classroom of high school students could not figure out how to correctly use a ruler to draw lines without seeing it for myself. That is at worst a first-grade level task.

I can back you up on your outdoors argument. I was not a Boy Scout but I spent a large part of my summers outside with friends from my neighborhood. We had squirt gun and water balloon fights regularly, built tree forts, jumped on my trampoline and played football and baseball. My dad and I also built a soap box derby car. During the winter, we would sled and snowboard.

The problem with this article is that it is far too general. It is called “America’s kids, dumber than dirt�, but only cites stories from one Oakland high school teacher as evidence. Oakland high schools may not be a fair example. On May 28,2007, Katy Murphy of the Oakland Tribune shows that forty percent of Oakland’s public schools ranked in the lowest ten percent of California’s schools. However, Minnesota schools are ranked first in the nation, followed by Montana and Iowa, according to the American Legislation Exchange Council.

It seems to me that Morford and his friend should do a little more research than exchanging stories before they make rash generalizations about America’s future and children.

First let me start off by saying that I think you did a great job attacking some of the ridiculous statements made in the article, “American kids, dumber than dirt; Warning: The next generation might just be the biggest pile of idiots in U.S. history� written by Mark Morford.
I completely agree with what you said about kids watching TV. and not spending enough time outside. Personally, when I was a kid, my days were spent playing and exploring outside, and my nights were when I was allowed to watch TV. Maybe it was the influence of my parents, who never had TV when they were younger, and who encouraged me to play outside in the fresh air rather than stay inside and be a couch potato.
I think it is a stretch for someone to come out and say that all kids in a generation are stupid, and the fact that he used the word “stupid� enrages me. This man is supposedly an intelligent man who writes for a respected paper? And he is choosing to write about something like this? I am not saying that there are not kids or young adults today who can be placed into his category or “dumber than dirt,� but certainly not all of us.
One thing that I found amusing in your paper was the fact that you said that kids are getting “stupider.� Not trying to be mean, but the last time I checked that was not a word. The correct way of saying it would be to say that the kids are getting “more stupid.� Was this your way of sticking it to the man?
I think that you had some good insights on what this guy had to say about our generation, and I don’t know about you, but I feel as if he might just be trying to make people upset, as you did say that he is a controversial writer. If that was his intention, he certainly got the job done.