Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Where Are All Of The Smart People Hiding?

Is it just me, or is Stupid the New Normal? I feel as if, not so very long ago, some massive shift occurred and, at that point, it became Perfectly Acceptable to air out your ignorance and you didn't have to worry because everyone would Really Be Okay With It.

All of you know when I would fix that turning point; it would be the day that George W. Bush took the oath of office and control of the White House. At that moment mediocrity and smirky doofusness won the day, and we have never, ever been the same since. The country decided it was more important to have a President with whom they wished to "have a beer" than one who could, say, clear the board on "Jeopardy."

But I digress. My point--and I do have one--is that No One With Any Smarts seems to be in any position of authority anymore. One does not have to look very far to see Stupidity In Abundance. And on sale! Here, for example, is a shirt I found at Target here in NEO, where everyone is beyond tickled that LeBron James is back to rescue us and make our lives immeasurably better:

There is absolutely no justification for this shirt's existence.  None.  Do you mean to tell me that there was not a single person involved in the creation, execution, and packaging of this garment that didn't notice its error?

Here's some more Stupid that makes me sad.  I'm the first person to admit that I am not mathy.  But holy crap, I sure as hell don't need the Ortega Taco Shell people to hold my hand as if I might be so feeble as to need to take my shoes and socks off right there in the grocery store to figure out what The Value Is:

Oh, brother.  And believe it or not, I can actually link these two items, the LeBron shirt and the taco value pack, because I'm reminded of when Dan Gilbert first took ownership of the team and arena.  One of the things he did was to add a New! Feature! to the Jumbotron scoreboard.  Called The Diff, it showed the point differential between the Cavs and their opponents.  Yes.  That's correct.  It did the math for you so that you didn't have to. Another example of The Stupid.  Here it is, in all its glory:

Sigh.  Finally, because Stupid is The New Normal, no one cares to do any better.  Everyone gleefully pulls out his markers and her doofusness and figures it's all going to be Just Peachy because You Know What They Mean, Right?  Like this:

Sam snapped this for me at the Goodwill Store near his workplace.  So, no, it's not some trendy textile art show by a cool hipster artiste named Kid.  Nope.  We should be so lucky.

Listen.  Apostrophes, correct grammar, intelligent discourse, and clear speech aren't like high heels and pearls and tuxedos; they aren't meant only for special occasions and the elite classes.  Too many people and businesses are engaging in Sweatpant Language, and I'm sick of it.  Class up your act, America, and do better.

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  1. You know, I think "auto-correct" might be the downfall of literacy, even among fairly smart and well-educated people. (Like you and me and everybody who reads this blog!)

    1. phoebes in santa fe--I hear you. Spell-check already started the slippery slope, not that any of my students truly paid any attention to it, choosing to gleefully hit "print" as soon as possible after that last word was typed in a sweaty, sleepy haze the night before the assignment was due.

      I disabled auto-correct immediately on my iPhone; it drove me batty. Honestly, I don't understand its utility. It causes more stupidity by inserting wrong words than it fixes.

      On the matter of the IQ overall of the readers of the Dept., we completely agree. I maintain a very erudite readership. It makes me quite happy, too.

  2. Nance,

    I think you are too critical....For instance...

    What's wrong with the Cavs shirt? Did they spell Lebron wrong?

    I just took my calculator out and added 12 + 6 and they are correct! The answer is 18. You should apologize...

    We have the same type scoreboard here in Philadelphia and everybody likes it. What good is a basketball game if you don't know how bad the 76ers are losing?

    Don't be mad at the guy who wrote the Kid's cloths sign. He is a sign writer for the tea party and he's just brushing up on his technique

    Have a heart. Remember the time you told us about the guy who put Chocolate Mouse on the dessert menu? You let him slide ,didn't you?

    1. Nancy--Welcome back! You've been sorely missed.

      I'm often admonished for being far too critical when it comes to The Language; that's true. I suppose when it comes to the Cavs shirt, I should be counting my blessings that there isn't an apostrophe in Cavs and be done with it.

      Speaking of your 76ers, I took their name in vain last night. I have Robert Covington on my fantasy team and started him. Your hapless Sixers late-scratched him, and as result, I ended up with an open roster spot far too late to fill. If I lose to Jared this week, IT IS THEIR FAULT. I am in a good spot right now for the playoffs and the eventual championship. THAT HAD BETTER NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.

      The teapartiers making more signs are the only good thing about a Rand Paul presidential campaign. More blog fodder.

      I do remember Chocolate Mouse! You know, ever since that faux pas, that wine bar has gone downhill. Rick and I went back only once, and the food was awful, and their red wine was held far too warm. Sad, but I should have known from "Chocolate Mouse" that things were on the downswing.

      *NOTE TO EVERYONE* See how important The Language is?!

    2. Holy crap. And there I go, making a stupid subject-verb agreement mistake in my comment above. The third paragraph should read:

      The teapartiers making more signs IS the only good thing...fodder.

  3. This is mighty disturbing (and hilarious - no, no, I'm laughing AT these folks, not with them), but lately I'm fretting about the children who won't be taught cursive writing anymore. Does this mean that eventually there won't be anyone who can read my random scribblings? Horror!

    1. Bug--Kids haven't been taught cursive for--at least around here--the past 12 years or more. It's distressing; I completely agree. I always wonder not about whether or not they will be able to read my writing, but whether or not they will have an actual signature. Will they just print their names? Will it look like everyone else's, and will anyone be able to "sign" anyone's name? It's all very strange, isn't it?

  4. Sweatpant Language is a wonderful phrase! So apt.

    Can't help but wonder how much of a demand there is for kid's cloths. They're not so popular around here, but maybe it's a regional thing. Now if that store was selling adult's cloths, that'd be a whole different thing. Very popular in this area. :-J

    1. Ally Bean--Why, thank you. Point taken; I had not thought of that. ;-)

  5. I also enjoy the term, "Sweatpant Language" and believe the same idea can be expanded to "Sweatpant Logic", for those who are too lazy to Think Things Through.

    Regarding The Bug's comment about cursive, I will say that just last night, Maya was telling me about how wrong her teachers always were. In elementary school, she was told she had better learn cursive, because it would be required in middle school. Middle school teachers forbade cursive, because they couldn't read most kids' handwriting. Then in middle school, she was warned to learn good penmanship, because in high school, all of the teachers would want hand written reports. Nope, all of her teachers wanted typed (printed) reports. Which gets me to thinking about how she DOES have really good penmanship, and I wonder if that's why she did so well on her AP tests...

    1. J@jj--Thank you, and I applaud your term and definition for Sweatpant Logic.

      I can't speak to whether Maya's teachers were wrong or simply defending what they had to teach/require as part of their course of study/curriculum. Regardless, it's a huge deal if graders can't read student responses on state tests or AP tests. I always harped on that to my students, especially for their Ohio Graduation Test. Graders don't struggle to read anything; if they can't read it, they merely mark it as illegible and fail it. They don't really care that it's high-stakes testing. They have hundreds of papers to read and mark.

      Certainly Maya's content had to be excellent, but her legible writing was not a hindrance.

  6. 1. IM guessing that missing apostrophes are one of the many negative side effects of texting. IM also guessing that the man who says he "isn't going nowhere" probably doesn't even know it needs an apostrophe.

    2. And speaking of side effects: in the debate over whether to ban cursive writing altogether, the point about how you "sign" your name had not occurred to me. This makes a strong case for implementing the Hispanic custom of adding a rúbrica to one’s signature. Difficult to define, but it is basically some sort of scribbly flourish added to a person’s signature. Rather like the curvy lines we used to draw under our signatures as kids so it would look fancier. I thought it was a bit affected at first, and wondered why official documents required firma y rúbrica, i.e., that the person include their rúbrica with their signature. Later I was told that it was really a security measure against forgery. Some rúbricas are a mass of scribbly lines that can partially cover the signature and make it virtually impossible to forge another person’s name. So perhaps that would be a way of a “printed” signature to be a bit more unique.

    3. Sweatpant + noun ... this could go viral, Nance.

    1. Ortizzle--1. You know, I swore I'd never be a person who sends text messages, and I make a liar out of myself hourly. So many people who know me (better, it seems, than I know myself) told me how much I would like it as a method of quick, written, convenient communication. And I do.

      I do not, however, care for how its lax spelling, grammar, punctuation, and etiquette has seeped into Real Life. Your point is probably correct: it is a bit of a drag to add the apostrophe when you are trying to zip off a quick text message. But rather than OMIT IT, why not instead opt for NO CONTRACTION? Aaarrggghh.

      2. It's odd that the one thing that instantly occurred to me regarding the lack of cursive instruction completely escaped you! I wonder why that is? Fascinating. Listen, I'm all for adding a John Hancockian flourish to otherwise pedestrian signatures, but you and I both know what that will turn into--we've already seen it time and time again in the public school classroom. I's dotted with hearts and smileys, little faces and misplaced accents randomly inserted hither and's a dumpster fire.

      3. Oh, my dear. If only. You heard it here first. Off I go to register domains.

  7. I fully understand. I life e and work in an area where both sweat pant logic and language are in the majority and I struggle sorely to prevent my son from picking up both of those as well as lazy speak.
    If this continues, our country is doomed!!

  8. WhatIfWeAllCared--You bring up a very important point with regard to setting a good example for future readers, writers, and speakers of The Language. It's sad to think that we are raising a nation/generation of lackadaisical and apathetic individuals who think that the mantra of "It's okay, close enough" is absolutely sufficient for all communication. Fight on!


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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