09 April 2008

The Way They Live Now

From a letter by Dan Niven published in yesterday's Boston Globe:

Judging a 10th-grade English class's poetry slam last week gave me insight on why there is a gender gap in eighth-grade writing levels in Massachusetts. . . .

Seven of the 10 boys competing waxed on about their Xbox 360s with the same tenderness Romeo used to describe Juliet. Four of the six girls in the slam drew from their extensive Facebook repertoire and included the line "No one knows the real me" in their opening stanzas. The poetry was wretched, but, as Irene Sege points out in her article "Dear blog..." (Living/Arts, April 5), girls are at least regularly engaged in the writing process.

Last fall, while hiking in the Berkshires, I passed a family of four trudging up a trail. Like ducklings, the tween daughter and son dutifully followed their parents' footsteps. But unlike his sister, the boy's head was bowed in concentration as he both negotiated the trail and played on his Gameboy.
Of course, if the cell-phone reception were better, the girl might have been texting her friends.

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