The Internet is the Great equalizer, and not always in a good way. Cursive? Nobody needs no steenking cursive any more! It’s actually being removed from the curriculum in some parts of the US. We’re talking about kids who literally won’t learn to sign their names. I can’t tell you how flabbergasted that leaves me.
Throw in the hashed, sliced-and-diced muck used in instant messenger and Twitter, and ye Gods…
Whoever thought up “No Child Left Behind” needed to start by cleaning up online.
Language does change over time. For example, this is a copy of a very early English manuscript, a snippet of the poem Beowulf:
I don’t know about you, but I can’t make hide nor hair of it. Even if I could read and pronounce it as the language was at its original writing, it’s a pretty safe bet I’d be equally clueless.
This one’s a 12th century manuscript:
Raise your hand if you can interpret. Anyone? Don’t be shy.
So yeah – obviously language changes, both in its written format and in its verbalization. And I’m good with that.
What I loath is the bastardization that comes not from the normal evolution of the spoken and written word, but the Internet shortcuts born of pure laziness. Going incognito, ergo no responsibility, no need to do it right. Throw in the entitlement rule that’s taken the education out of schools and stripped parents both of their responsibility and of their right to raise their children into adulthood and it’s the perfect storm of intellectual implosion. Children today physically strike their parents and their teachers, and teachers and parents can’t do a blessed thing to stop it because spanking a child constitutes child abuse. I’m not in favor of battering children, don’t get me wrong – but children have to be held accountable for their actions. There must be some kind of control, and right now it’s just not there. Is there any wonder our citizens of all ages are lost and terrified?
Kids can’t read, can’t write, and whenever I see the “c u l8r” on a text message (or anywhere else, for that matter) it makes me want to throw something very heavy and very breakable at the wholesale destruction of our future. You think our unemployment’s bad now? What do you think will happen when the only candidates for jobs can’t even sign their names, much less do simple math or apply logic and reason to solve problems? These kids today are the ones who will be responsible for us in the future. The kid who can’t read will be the one responsible for managing your meds when you’re incapacitated. Think about that.
Maybe it would be different if I didn’t love words so much. Our children are being robbed of the privilege of reading. There is power in words, whether they be about Harry Potter (imagination) or the Declaration of Independence (freedom). Words can kill or save a life (instructions on a prescription). Words can uplift or destroy – ask anyone who’s received a love letter, or a Dear John letter. The writer in me is anguished because I see so many things falling by the wayside and I want to shake our leadership out of their malign complacency.
This isn’t a Republican-Democrat political issue. It’s a human issue, an American issue, and in fact a world issue. For good, bad or indifferent, the US is still a significant part of the world community and when we screw up, it does a number on everybody else. Our international neighbors are warily eying on our current joke of a Congress as it bungles the budget. (One of the few times I actually agreed with the self-appointed financial goddess Suze Orman.) If you doubt me, look up the front page of news outlets in the UK and in India, two for which I know news is available written in the English language.
Of course we can let things run their course, which in its current trajectory means China will resume its long-held status as the the number one world power. In many, many ways it already has. When China was an empire it was astounding. God help us with China’s might wielded by the fist of communism, on a worldwide basis.
I don’t share some of my neighbors’ conceit that America is the end-all to be-all, but it makes me ill to see our nation’s freedoms being executed, one after another, while Congress mumbles platitudes about how it’s for the good of the country, that it’s because of terrorism, and whatever other bull they feel like using as their latest excuse. All the while, naturally, Congress holds itself exempt from the laws. I would hope and pray that someday very, very soon our country’s populace wakes up and votes in someone responsible and someone with integrity, the kind of person who gets that whole “of the people and by the people” concept and actually FOLLOWS it when making laws.
Yeah, I know I’m dreaming, and even if we had a 100% write-in vote for a genuine candidate, the electronic voting system would require the click of a mouse to change the reported outcome.
As you probably gathered, I’m among the millions of Americans thoroughly pissed off that our legislative “leadership” can’t pull their collective heads out of their asses and get our national budget done. Maybe since the Republicans are crying “let them eat cake,” we should reinstate the guillotine. I certainly don’t advocate actual murder of the Republicans behind this chest-beating power ploy, but I do think their political careers should be cut off once and for all. As far as I am concerned, the Republican Party is guilty of economic treason against the country and should be held accountable for it.