17 May 2005

Unpopular Mechanics

      After reading this galling article from the Telegraph last evening, I had planned to issue a little rant that probably would have sounded rather like one of Chicken Little's plaintive cries, but I got lazy and shrugged it off, as lazy shruggers like me are wont to do.   This morning, though, I see RK has done my work for me, moreorless saying everything I had planned to say, but certainly more eloquently and more succinctly than I would have.   It's all gold, people, and to which I would only add this, that I find distressing the implicit disrespect for language and its basic demands.   This disrespect is nothing new, but in the wake of phonics and the internet culture, this disrespect is reaching critical mass, in part because those that should be protecting language most forcefully-- particularly those of us that teach it-- are so Dionysaically permissive that it's little wonder how besotten matters have become.   The more we coddle such sloppiness, stroking its maturing head and palliatively saying that everything is okay, the more we encourage imprecision and carelessness of both language and thought.   Language is the only technology-- which is what it is, after all, a skill which we use to deal with and to treat knowledge-- we treat with such abandon, and we do so at our peril.  

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