The old cliché of the teenager spending hours talking on the phone has been replaced with a new cliché: The teenager spending hours talking with her thumbs.
The positive aspect of this development: we all write a lot more than we used to, typing endless texts and emails to communicate on virtually every subject. We write a lot but not necessarily well. We have to rely on ALL CAPS and exclamation marks and acronyms (LOL! OMG!) and emoticons 🙂 to overcome the deficiencies in our vocabularies.
All this writing is really typing. The keyboard has replaced the pen and apparently for good. Virtually every one of the United States has recently changed the core curriculum for their schools eliminating a cursive learning requirement. They’ve replaced it with a mandate for keyboard proficiency.
Now, malcontents have been bemoaning the decline of handwriting since the invention of the typewriter 150 years ago. Most offer iffy arguments — Doctors with bad handwriting kill patients with illegible prescriptions. F’real? Others say we are losing the ability to read crucial old documents, that kids who can’t write cursive can’t decipher it either and they’ll never be able to read the Bill of Rights, Democracy will wither, and we’ll all go to heck in an illegible handbasket. Whatevs.
I have always had messy writing and I’m also a fairly poor typist, so I can go either way on this (nonexistent) debate. But I have thought of a more compelling reason for the young ‘uns to brush up on their penmanship.
Most of the entertainment loved by tweens and teens these days is dystopian. The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and endless variations on how tsunamis, asteroids, aliens, bird flu, Benedict Cumberbatch and/or werewolves will soon take over the world. When this happens (and it could be any day now), down goes the electrical grid and the Internet — and with them the power of the keyboard.
A whole generation of people who don’t know how to use ham radios or morse code will also not be able to legibly write signs warning that there are seriously zillions of zombies coming down this road or not to drink the brown water or kiss a chicken or leave home without a hatchet. People will stand around trying to work out what the signs mean and meanwhile, vampires will emerge for the caves or zombies will come out of the trailer park … and the writing will be on the wall.
It’s high time The Calligraphers Lobby® and The Penmens’ Guild™ started infiltrating Hollywood and embedding scenes in movies in which brave young men and women write gorgeous Palmer Method graffiti that save their pals from the monster invasion. Neatly lettered, perfectly grammatical signs could well be the salvation of humankind.
Think about it. Maybe write your Representative a letter.
(I had some other important ideas on this subject but unfortunately I wrote them down on an envelope and now can’t read a word of it. 😦 )
P.S. PL: Happy 616!!