Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And They Think I'm Slow, Eh?

Wednesday Lunch Lull Roundup of Cultural Trends. Okay, just one cultural trend.

In between pithy smackdowns of the Republicans' "Blame Clinton for North Korea" bullshit, Josh Marshall notes an interesting article about the decline of cursive handwriting, which kids are apparently learning less and less.

I have the feeling that this might be the first of the many inevitable subtle things that separate us from the Young once we get Old. Who would have thought that using cursive would mark you as one of the Old? I see a far-off premonition of grandkids saying "Grampa, I can't read your birthday card!" and me giving a crotchety impromptu lesson on how to write "r" and "s," and the grandkids not really understanding it and just being relieved when this all is cut short by dinnertime.

Actually, I've mostly trimmed "r" and "s" out of my handwriting, replacing them with slower but more satisfying printed letters that interrupt the cursive line. And I was never on board with the monstrosities that pass for capital letters — G, Q, S, etc. But still . . .

You know what else turns out to be weird? When I imagine having grandkids, however vaguely, I feel a lot of affection for them. But their imagined parents (i.e. my hypothetical grown children) look like the nondescript extras who portray extended family members in movies, and I'm pretty indifferent to them. Somewhat fascinating! . . .


Blogger Pete said...

I don't write in cursive. Hell, I don't even use lower case letters when I print. I just use big capitals for capital letters and smaller capitals for lower case letters. Only 2 years difference between us, too.

10/11/2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Yeah, but you always had terrible cursive handwriting anyway, right? Weren't they keeping you inside during recess for penmanship? Maybe I'm thinking of speech class for the "pwwonouncing youw awws" problem.

Anyway, you can at least read cursive: it's not like you're totally unfamiliar with it.

10/11/2006 5:19 PM  
Blogger Nate said...

An interesting side note that doesn't involve mocking anyone's remedial learning in elementary school: Austrian handwriting: Completely different from American. I learned this during my college semester abroad, when our landlady handed me & my roommates a slip of paper with an address handwritten on it. She was generally happy enough with our stilted German (it was better than her own English) but when we told her we literally couldn't identify a single letter she had written out she looked at us as though she thought we were mildly retarded.

I'm sure this is a general thing but I'm not sure if it breaks down by country, language, or both.

10/11/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

yeah, I was held in from 5th grade recess for a while to do extra cursive writing practice. It never really helped any though - I had made the switch to all-caps by 9th grade or so, I think.

10/11/2006 6:21 PM  

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