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Warning: any further reading online could make you stoopid.

That’s the gist of an argument in this month’s Atlantic Monthly about Google, the Internet and its effect on our brains. It’s an interesting read, but a bit light on context. The “us” the author discusses is a relatively small cohort of self-described “knowledge workers” — writers, researchers, professors, artists, critics, who now sit in front of computers for a living. They fear they’re losing their attention spans and depth of thought as they skip from one hyperlink to another, surrounded by blinking ads, scrolling text and a thousand other distractions.

I suppose it’s possible, and likely. But it makes you wonder how powerfully they were able to concentrate in the first place and how deep their thoughts really were if their hard-won discipline is so easily undermined. Few people in history ever have had the patience to read thousands of pages per week. (Reading itself can be a bit of a pathology — substitute the act of reading for watching TV when you skim this particular diatribe about the boob tube. Somewhere on a shelf in a Virginia sits a copy of this book, my feverish notes covering many of its pages.)

The author of the Atlantic article, Nicholas Carr, offers a perceptive quote from Socrates, who was concerned about the invention of writing — there’s always someone to lament the advent of new technology. Socrates’ gripe was that writing offered a shortcut to knowledge. People would gain the conceit of wisdom without achieving true wisdom. However, Carr argues, Socrates failed to foresee the great improvements in the human condition that would come about because of writing.

Socrates’ greater point about wisdom still holds up. I doubt technology has ever been an impediment — or a facilitator — on the road to wisdom. People get it or they don’t, no matter how many speeches they hear, books they read or web sites they visit. Technology just makes it easier to seem less dumb.

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Lawyers for David Archuleta are filing a motion in federal court today to overturn the American Idol victory of David Cook, who was crowned victor in a stunning finale of the musical competition’s seventh season last night.

Archuleta’s attorneys rest their case on the fact that Cook has failed to win over the crucial bloc of white girls aged 10 to 13, who make up a significant portion of the music-buying audience. Cook’s inability to dazzle this demographic threatens his ability to cook up a hit single this fall as a follow-up to his victory in the TV contest, the attorneys allege.

“Without getting into names, other Idol winners have clearly failed in the wider marketplace,” said Stu Ing, lead attorney for the teen sensation Archuleta. “We think it’s time the show reflected the broader, music-buying public rather than a narrow elite of people who have phones.”

Ing and his colleagues also contend that the finale should be redone as many tweens were asleep in bed during the crucial final phase of voting. Had these girls been able to vote, the results might have been different and Archuleta would have been the one weepily crooning at the end.

Wait a sec. Are we talking about American Idol or the Democratic primary season? Who knows anymore. But it’s tempting to consider what Cook’s win portends for the second-biggest election this year.

Is Cook a stand-in for Barack Obama, the outsider who wasn’t even expected to enter the contest? And is Archuleta Hillary Clinton, with a troublesome stage father in place of an intrusive stage husband?

Or is Cook John McCain, the grizzled veteran, while Archuleta represents a new face, i.e. Obama, who was buoyed by a youth vote that failed to materialize when it really mattered?

We can only wait and see. And hope that tween girls aren’t so disillusioned that they give up on American Idol entirely.

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