Friday, July 22, 2011

Script Slap!

If you can read this, you're old.


In the United States teaching cursive handwriting as part of school curriculum is being tossed to the curb. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. Let me explain.

For the most part we use cursive, or script, only for signatures which morph into illegible things of scrawl anyway. Almost anything else is done online or, if you or the entity with which you're dealing is stuck in 1980, you  must print in neat block letters in black ink. So...where is the need for cursive?

We don't write letters...in fact we hate actual phone calls at this point. Ever heard of a TEXT? Not only have we stopped utilizing snail mail for anything other than valuable coupons but we've stopped using voices as well. So what's the big deal if we drop coveted school hours devoted to a dead art for something along the lines of more standardized test teaching?

I think I have a theory. In England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Greece...well let's just say Europe in its entirety, one thing tourists like to do is look at old castles...you know, the kind are not very eco-friendly; they're not hugely accessible for people of all makes and models, and the plumbing isn't up to code. In Italy you can see buildings and bridges that have stood since the 1200's or so...I mean they're so old! Why on Earth would people KEEP something like that?

Ew, this bridge is OLD and so is the whole town! Get rid of it.


People travel many miles at great financial cost to visit ruins. RUINS! Old things that are BROKEN.... Why?

Here's a thought: maybe it's a good thing to respect the path you've travelled. Vendors sell things on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy (that's the picture above) and the stuff they're selling isn't old. Just the bridge. See how that works? They keep both.

Why don't Americans keep both? I think we have room in our days, in our towns and in our lives for the "stuff" of our history. Perhaps this doesn't answer the question of whether or not cursive should still be taught in school because maybe cursive will truly become an art form the way calligraphy has, but it's a valid starting point to examine all that we trash because something newer and better has come along.

I believe this country suffers from a history deficiency. We are so quick to tear down, replace or upgrade that we're totally annihilating the path that brought us to this day. Whether or not we ever need to go back is rather pointless in my humble opinion because when we forget our history we are doomed to repeat it over and over again.

And these days it seems our historical memory lasts all of two or three days. (Ahem...this is why LIBRARIES are so important, American peeps!) There is so  much wisdom in the history of our collected years as a nation and we seem to be content to bully through the days without one moment of reflective thought. We allow no other country to have its own civil war for independence, though where would THIS country be if a slave holding country had stepped in and offered help to "Secessionists?" If we thought about our history for half a second we'd be glad we were left alone to slog through our own fight.

We want things too fast and it seems the ability to look back and draw from lessons is too much time to take. Those were yesterday's problems and who care about them now? I think we should.

So where does that leave me on the cursive question? I still don't have an answer. But I do have pause...because not all that is old and outdated is worthless and not all that is old-fashioned is wrong. We owe the rest of the world a great debt for holding onto the debris of the past for us, allowing us to dump whatever we don't need today.

Maybe it's time for us to start carrying a bit of historical weight, and we can start by doing it with a flourish.






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