MANY THINGS sound the death knell for intelligent life on planet Earth, or at least here in America since I suspect other cultures are much smarter, which is why we always end up way down on the list of global surveys regarding student scores, general happiness of the citizenry and good health. But one that irks me quite a bit is the fact that cursive is no longer taught in our public schools, having been deemed a waste of time now that everyone uses computers to write everything. I suppose printing the alphabet will stick around so kids can text their moronic message like LOL, ROFL, SMH, BTW, TMI and ATROTBS. (I just made that last one up and it means All The Rest Of That Bullshit, but I bet if lots of you start using it it will become part of the texting lexicon.) Writing cursive is fun, not to mention beautiful, and has long been used in police work as offering a peek into someone’s psyche.
Also on the wane is simple math, like 2 +2 = 4. My own son, having attended a decent university and approaching 30, besides being one of the smartest people I know, who reads books I cannot pronounce just for fun and quotes authors whose names I could not spell correctly given all the time in the world (Kieerkegaard? Kirkegaard?), unabashedly struggles with the basics of math, shrugging his shoulders like it’s no big deal. His defense, being that if you’ve got a calculator on your iPhone what difference does it make, holds water.
So how dumb will people get? The sky’s the limit! BTW, that expression originated at a time of optimism and progress in the USA, just before WWI. The earliest citation is from the New York newspaper The Syracuse Herald, in September of 1911: “Then good luck, and remember the sky’s the limit.” Despite that, many people still wrongly attribute it to the writer Cervantes.
See that? Google has made it possible to know everything while actually knowing nothing. This is either really good or really bad news; only time will tell.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.