Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Great Dumbing Down

Let me let you inside my head for just a second. Not too far, mind you - just past the dusty stacks of mathmatical knowledge left untouched since my college days and down the hall to the door marked "Pet Peeves." Do be careful with the doorknob though. Brass conducts heat quite well....

Once upon a time, the vast and ever-expanding universe of knowledge we call the internet was solely the domain (old usage of the term) of scholars and intellectuals, hidden away in the halls of learning and used only by those interested in the rapid dissemination of information. As such, there were certain protocols and points of etiquette associated with its use, consistent with the decorum reserved for use among intellectuals and scholarly peers.

Fast forward to the present-day, when the "'Net" is nearly as ubiquitous as belly buttons. This, in and of itself, is a Good Thing. Unfortunately, however, etiquette and spelling were among the victims of the violent explosion of popularity that the internet has enjoyed.

I'm not talking about typos, for heaven's sake - we all make them from time to time. No, I'm specifically referring to a lack of basic rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Granted, the internet has been opened up to all strata of society, including quite a few people who have never needed to use a keyboard to communicate previously, but it's no excuse for not at least making the effort to learn the proper use of one's native written language. Rapid access and instant communication has led to a shorthand of sorts, called "netspeak," which only serves to make excuses for sloppy writing and lazy, unintelligent communication. I find myself reminded of the whole "Ebonics" debate. (shudder)

Rather than raising the collective conscience by holding the masses to a higher standard of learning, we are allowing this decline to spread through ambivalence to the problem - or worse - ignorance that there's a problem at all. We are becoming a society of idiot savants - illiterates in control of an amazing wealth of knowledge.

Personal irritants of high order (culled from recent communication):

"Your an idiot" Maybe I am, but when the intent is to mean "You are an idiot," use the contraction "you're" , or just spell it out properly. "Your" is posessive, as in "your lack of education."

"R U Nutz?" Increasingly, yes - especially when I get asked in this less-than-zero manner. Instant messaging-level communication is barely above grunting in my book. I'll overlook the cutesy spelling of "nuts" for now.

"Your to hung up about this." Most likely, yes. There's that "your" thing again, followed by another common error - using "to" instead of "too." Yes, it could be a typo, but given the rest of the email as a barometer, I'm going with the assumption that the author got through college strictly on his ability to catch a football and nothing else. For the record: TO - towards a destination or given state. TOO - very or also. TWO - the number 2. It comes after one and before three, the grade-level by which you should already know this information.

If intelligent speech and writing skills make you look intelligent, what image do you suppose such a poor grasp of language projects?

I could go on, but the vein in my forehead is throbbing painfully and looks like I'm signaling a left turn onto the Anuerism Bypass.

3 Comments:

Blogger Blubrik said...

j00 ph0rg0t j00r t3h 5ux, 2, j00 l4m320rr2. STFU, n00b!

:-)

July 14, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

d00d!

July 14, 2004  
Blogger HeadCheese said...

1 am teh sux0rr2!!!1111111

July 15, 2004  

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