09
Nov
06

A rather sorry state of affairs

As if we needed any more evidence of the decline of literacy in this country, this sentence appeared in an article in the Tooele Transcript Bulletin, of Utah.

“Even if he could toss this Slider 2.0, he wouldn’t have the full endurance to consistently throw it for strikes and keep a solid arm for a good amount of time, just ask Minnesota Twin rookie, and new disabled-list regular Francisco Liriano what breaking balls do to your arm, and then tell me you can thrown a candy-cane-like pitch better than Greg Maddux can hurl a change-up.”

This has to be one of the most poorly constructed sentences I’ve ever seen in a newspaper. Now, granted, the Toole Transcript Bulletin is not exactly the national newspaper of record, but it’s still a newspaper, dammit! I do not think it too much to ask of the print media to at least adhere to basic standards of literacy. Where was the editor? Or is he or she as illiterate as the writer? In an era when our nation’s teens cannot even spell or construct a basic sentence, the media has an obligation to set a example of the proper way to express thoughts through the written word.

The whole article is written like this, which is a shame because the subject matter is actually rather interesting, at least to a baseball fan. It’s here if you’re interested.
This is by no means an isolated occurrence, either. Every day I see examples of incorrect spelling, grammar, and syntax in my newspaper, and I wonder what the hell is happening to this country’s educational standards. As John Lennon once wrote, “It gets on my tit!”

–Smith

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2 Responses to “A rather sorry state of affairs”


  1. November 13, 2006 at 5:44 am

    The same can be said regarding many blogs. Some folks just can’t seem to conceptualize the English language in they’re (their) brain and much gets lost in translation. Your (you’re) right, this shit drives me crazy.
    As far as the sentence above, shoot the editor.
    ~m

    I no. Wear the hell did thees peepul lurn to right?

  2. 2 Tiffany
    April 12, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    “In an era when our nations teens cannot even spell or construct a basic sentence…”
    Excuse me? So our entire teenage population is completely illiterate? That’s news to me, buddy.

    The fact that there is a teenage illiteracy problem in this country is news to you? That says more about you than it does about me, I’m afraid. Allow me to quote from an article that appeared in the New York Times on February 22nd, 2007:

    The share of students lacking even basic high school reading skills — meaning they could not, for example, extract data about train fares at different times of day from a brochure — rose to 27 from 20 percent in 1992. The share of those proficient in reading dropped to 35 from 40 percent in 1992.

    Or if that doesn’t convince you, perhaps you should read this Washington Times editorial that appeared on April 9th of this year, authored by Colin and Alma Powell (you DO know who they are, right?):

    In the time it takes to read these paragraphs, another U.S. teenager will drop out of high school: 1.2 million students per year, nearly 7,000 students per school day, one student every 26 seconds drops out. For young people of color, the statistics are even more startling. Nearly half of African-American and Native-American students will not graduate with their class, while less than six in 10 Hispanic students will.

    Most of the kids who don’t go to school don’t attend because they live in poverty and can’t afford it.

    Then apparently it must also be news to you that public education in this country is FREE. While it is true that children who grow up in poverty face obstacles to learning that the more well off do not, the cost of education is not one of them. Your argument is utter nonsense.

    To say what you did is ignorant and rude. I also find it ironic that in the very same statement you bash us in, you made a punctuation mistake.

    Do you know what I find ironic? That in an approximately 300 word essay, all you’ve managed to focus on is 15 words that were tangential to my overall point, and one typo. I fixed the typo. Thanks for the heads up.

    In the meantime, I suggest you go back and reread the post, and this time try to grasp the point that I was actually trying to make: namely, that the media have a responsibility to set an example in literacy for the rest of the country, and that the article I quoted was a sad but by no means isolated example of how the media are not living up to that responsibility.

    Better yet, Tiffany, perhaps you should simply spend less time on the Internet and spend more time doing your homework.

    -sps


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