February 22, 2009

The so not Write Stuff

So, I just read this headline on Yahoo! -- my homepage of choice, so get off it, Googlefolk, you'll never convert me, never I say! -- that says learning cursive handwriting in schools is losing importance.

Now, I didn't read further than that -- mostly cos it was actually a video link, and if you think I'm going to tax my poor ol' computer trying to open that effer, well, you're just plain outta luck, but also becos, I don't need to read that damned story to know it's probably gonna say something like, "Yeah, cos kiddies are learning computer skillz at a way earlier age."

I could be wrong, but in the event I'm not, I'm going to continue my rant.

First of all, WTF. I'm sorry, but learning handwriting is a fucking -- oops, there's a form of fuck, which as you know = ire of Flapjam -- basic skill that every goddanged person needs to know. I mean, sure, we're all turning into 'bots and everything, but what about the day when we're all plunged into some kind of nuclear holocaust (ok, not nuclear, too extreme, but you get the idea) and we revert back to the days before the digital age was upon us? When we had to scrawl our math homework on the back of a shovel with a piece of chalk or talc or something? Or (gasp) use a number 2 pencil to color in a blob on a standardized test? What then? If all our kiddies know is how to get carpal tunnel syndrome by banging away on a fricking keyboard, whatever will they do?

Which brings me to point number 2, which, as you probably surmised, is personal.

My name is Flapjam, and I have carpal tunnel syndrome. We're not getting into the specifics of just how this occurred, but I gotta say, when I know that kiddies are being trained on computers uber-early, it irks me. Sure, sure, they're going to have to know how to use them at some point, but do we really want to send them down that road so soon? Well maybe we do. I dunno.

But the point is, all this fricking typing on keyboards is bad for everyone's health. I've said it before...sitting at a computer all day, staring at a monitor and typing away is going to cause some bumps in our evolution.

First off, we're paving the way to the compound eye. I mean, I never saw "The Fly" (not a bug fan), but I don't think any of us wants our descendants to look so damned wacky. How will they romance each other? It won't be, "Baby, I am losing myself in your blue eyes." It'll be more like, "Baby, I can't look deep into your soul, but damned if my reflection(s) ain't fiiiiiine!" Plus, can you imagine the glasses they'll have to wear?

Next, folks will have shortened torsos and realllly long arms, a la Plastic Man. (Or is that Plasticman.) Or Dhalsim from Street Fighter. (Except his torso didn't look that short to me and he was awesome at giving noogies.) Actually being like Dhalsim would rock. Beats Blanka, anyway.

I seem to have drifted away from my original thought. Hm.

Well, you get the idea. Teach the kids to write, goddammit. I'm miffed that I can barely hold a pen, and I am especially miffed that it hurts to write a note by hand. I used to enjoy scrawling notes and letters, and now it's painful. My hands cramp up and my handwriting, which was never *that* great, deteriorates the more I write. I know that some cultures don't even have written languages, so everything's passed down orally, but that ain't what we're talking about here. We're talking about my fear that handwriting is going bye-bye, and I just ain't down with that.

I could rant more about computers and spellcheck and shite like that, but why bother. And just cos I'm ranting doesn't mean I don't use computers. So don't call me a hypocrite.

Now, wouldn't it be funny if that video said they were straying from cursive to focus more on print lettering? :D This is what happens when you only read headlines. I don't recommend it, but it's not like I'm writing a thesis here. Besides, I need to take a nap. I will dream of classrooms where the Aa Bb Cc still frame the blackboard, and kiddies learn how to connect one letter to the next. I'll also ponder why the capital G and Z cursive letters are so weird (but kinda fun to make)!

Thoughts? It's ok if you type 'em. After all, we are blogging here...


Anonymous Hoytster said...

Dhalsim is great for the noogies, but it's impossible for me to control him. That's why I favor Blanka because all you have to do is repeatedly press the "B" button on the Sega Genesis control and he immediately starts electrocuting your opponent. I also like Honda because he does the superhand flap when you press the "B" button. Balrog's pretty easy to control, too, and I like his home turf in Vegas.

Cursive writing takes me longer than printing. But either way, my handwriting sucks because I don't have time to make it neat. That's why I learned to type and use the computer.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Hannah L said...

Hallelujah sister!

I occasionally write thank you notes, or cards to people (HATE ecards), and I've already noticed a deterioration in my handwriting. Also, I never capitalize 'I' anymore, because Word does it for me.

11:50 AM  
Blogger H. said...

Hoytster - As you're well aware, I can't play D like I used to, circa early 90s. My proudest moment was besting this kid I didn't know at the KMart or no, no, it was Wal-Mart, back in New Orleans. Sweet victory! But I mostly print cos my cursive is..well, illegible is too kind a word.

Hannah- I think Ecards are okay when you're in a hurry. Plus, they have cute pandas you can use. Aw. And I'm miffed at the damned Post Office too. 42 (soon to be upped) cents to send a fricking letter???? WTF people. Just...W. T. F. (Also did you just praise Word, cos i think I might have to clean out my eye sockets.) ;)

12:56 AM  
Blogger Jelly-Filled said...

Many of my students can't read cursive handwriting, much less write it themselves. I thought maybe this problem had something to do with their being pulled from class for deaf/hard-of-hearing services during handwrting time in elementary or something, but I asked around and found out it isn't just MY students. Many of the highschoolers have forgotten how to write cursive. I guess nobody requires them to use it after they learn it? Weird.

1:30 AM  
Blogger H. said...

Dang, Jelly, that *is* weird. And very disturbing, if you ask me. Which you didn't. It just seems wrong and sad to me. You know, back in the day when they had feather quill things, they seemed to take pride in a nice handwriting. Illuminated manuscripts! Flowy efs and esses and things. What the hell. Typing is great, but it shouldn't replace a basic literacy skill. It's Reading, Writing, etc. Not, Reading, Typing! (And yes, I am taking writing literally, but so what, it's *my* blog.)

I can understand turning in a typewritten paper or one that is printed out, but regular assignments, etc., journaling, should be done by hand. Can you guys tell it's late and I'm still up? Shite. I need shuteye. I will be less ranty tomorrow. Anyhoo thanks for sharing your teacher's point-of-view, J. Even tho it makes me weep.

1:50 AM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

But man it sure helps if you have a really fine gliding yet precise pen doesn’t it? Hey Lady Flapjam, this reminds me: I have a friend who due to an illness can no longer type OR use a pen at all but is still writing -- by using Dragon Software. It’s a dictation software which like Popeils Pocket Fisherman or that thing that slices it dices, really-really works. So YOU to take a random example could write the first draft of your novel longhand and then dictate it all into a Word Processor doc via Dragon.

8:23 PM  
Blogger H. said...

Hey Who,

Now how did I know you were going to come up with something like that? :D

I've actually heard of Dragon but never really thought of using it. Then again, I haven't entertained thoughts of novel writing in quite a while either, but..since you are my new-found patron of the arts, or benefactor (btw you owe me twenny bucks) as it were, how's about..you pay me or buy me the software and then we'll see what happens, k?

(Translation: Damn. I'm lazy.)

But that is a good idea...
Thanks! ;D

10:05 AM  
Blogger KateGladstone said...

Did you know that research shows that the fastest legible handwriters avoid cursive? The fastest legible handwriters tend to use print-like shapes for the letters that "disagree" between printing and cursive, and also join only some letters, NOT all of them (making the very easiest joins, and skipping the rest).

Learning to write cursive takes months (or longer), and often fails even then -- learning to *read* cursive takes 15 minutes to an hour, and then you have the skill for life. So why not teach kids to read cursive (you can teach this to five- and six-year-olds once they can read print), teach them to write the way that the fastest legible handwriters REALLY tend to write (which isn't cursive), and use the time saved to teach other important things?

Kate Gladstone
Founder and CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works handwriting instruction/remediation service
Director, World Handwriting Contest

Even signatures don't legally require cursive, and never have. (Yes, I checked this out with legal counsel. Anyone saying that "signatures require cursive" has misrepresented the law of the land.)

12:38 AM  
Blogger H. said...

Hey, my blog is attracting new people, how about that!

Kate, thank you for your comment. But I have to say that teaching kids to read something they won't be able to write seems counter-intuitive to me. If no one learns to write cursive, will there still be a need to learn to read it? These aren't questions I can't answer, and maybe I don't really even want to know the answers. Yikes.

I can say, however, that my post, while leaning towards cursive (since that was the issue at hand, no pun intended), was more of a rant against the early use of computers while the art/skill of handwriting (whether print, cursive, or sanskrit) continues to deteriorate.

Personally, I did small printing, myself. (It also saved paper. How you greenies like me now?)

10:26 AM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

So now it's March 19 and your fans (and you do have them, you know) want to know: What's happening, Flapjam? Que pasa? Que what you call your pasa?

1:05 AM  
Blogger venus said...

Cursive writing takes me longer than printing. But either way, my handwriting sucks because I don't have time to make it neat.
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3:51 AM  

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