Monday, May 2, 2016

Age of Ignorance. By Charles Simic. From New York Review of Books. (2012)

It took years of indifference and stupidity to make us as ignorant as we are today. Anyone who has taught college over the last forty years, as I have, can tell you how much less students coming out of high school know every year. At first it was shocking, but it no longer surprises any college instructor that the nice and eager young people enrolled in your classes have no ability to grasp most of the material being taught. Teaching American literature, as I have been doing, has become harder and harder in recent years, since the students read little literature before coming to college and often lack the most basic historical information about the period in which the novel or the poem was written, including what important ideas and issues occupied thinking people at the time.

The misery.

I don't know where this has appeared lately, but two different readers sent the link to us in the past week.


  1. It does seem not to be limited to right-wingers, though. The pushing of ignorance, that is.

  2. Ah, but there is hope. As Mencken observed, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." And yet, the very politician mentioned in the figure for this article, Sarah Palin, became a national joke precisely because she's clearly too uninformed to be president. Rick Perry was another. I hope Donald Trump proves to be another.

  3. So, I am a dummy and send that same link, reading it after linking to it from right here. So plus one ignorance for me (and I sincerely apologize, Dr. Darlin'!) However, please do click on the link in the comment above. The best of machine translation and SEO writing in one package. I'd like to especially direct your attention to the satisfied user comments in the box at the left.

  4. I'm reading the linked article now. It's like reading about a car wreck unfolding. I am repulsed and yet can't look away.