Life in the digital age …

Quick: Name the last book you read.


That’s the simple question Jimmy Kimmel asked people on the street.

The results are predictable … most choked on the question.

You can view the 2-minute clip below … or just take my word for it.


What  the heck is going on?


According to Allahpundit – one of my fav bloggers @ – there are a couple of plausible explanations …

First, it may be that people read books but hav a brain freeze when a mic is pushed under their face and cameras are rolling.

This is less a commentary on Americans’ illiteracy than a demonstration of how nervous people get when you stick a camera in their faces and ask a suspiciously simple question that seems designed to embarrass them.

Suddenly you’re a deer in the headlights, caught in a feedback loop in which you’re increasingly paralyzed by your deepening awareness of your own stupefied paralysis.

Most people either “don’t know” or blurt “Bible” or “Harry Potter”


A second explanation hinges on life in the digital age.

Many of my colleagues (and I) have concerns that students these days are smart, but seem decreasingly able to think critically, and to “connect dots” into compellingly logical arguments.

One hypothesis: they don’t read as much as prior generations of students.

I remember confronting a couple of millennials with “You guys just don’t read enough!”

The consensus counterpunch: “Are you serious?  We spend most of our day online reading.  We just don’t read long articles or books.”

As Allahpundit puts it:

In my case, though, blanking on camera would be a fairish representation.

Embarrassing but true: I read maybe one book a year, sometimes none.

After putting in a 12-hour shift at the ol’ blog factory and sifting through endless piles of news detritus, my mind can’t handle sustained narrative, complex arguments, or, ah, paragraphs consisting of more than four sentences.


Maybe, if you want to shore up your critical thinking and logical argumentation, it might help to pick up a good book … not a NYT book review or a modern day Cliff’s Notes … a real book.

Might help …


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