Unwilling to read, although able to do so.
‘this generation is not illiterate but aliterate’
[ Oxford English Dictionary ]
It also seems that people no longer read books …
no longer “have the time” to read.
Mothers used to raise families – incredibly,
there was a time when that
was the most honourable career on earth;
the whole family ate dinner together;
and fathers MADE the time
to read to their children at bedtime,
play with them, and instil moral values,
a sense of personal accountability,
and even … respect for others.
Children were taught the basic good manners
of addressing adults as “Miss”, “Mr”, or “Mrs” –
and young people did not roam the street at night
like packs of wild dogs.
Even television stations in Britain and America
were endued with enough morality
to broadcast a nightly message:
“It’s ten o’clock, do you know where your children are?”
But then, those were the days BEFORE
society threw off
every last pretence of moral decency.
Funnily enough, in the days of one-car families
and conventional ovens – – – there was always … ‘time’.
In the 21st century, the more luxuries, toys, and gadgets
people have at their disposal, the less … time …
they claim to have.
Apparently, all that “time” is needed to run around
frenetically gabbling profanity-punctuated nonsense,
plug oneself into some iMachine or mobile telephone,
or spend hours hypnotically transfixed
in front of the television.
As technology has turned the human brain to mush,
with an attention span measured in seconds –
multitudes no longer read or write,
and have thrown away the art of intelligent conversation.
With every luxury at their convenience,
one cannot but wonder:
What precisely it is that people now do
with their … ‘time’ ?
From perusing the flight arrivals board,
I turned my head towards the wall-mounted television
in disbelief at the sound of the narrative
which was coming from something called a ‘newsmagazine’
programme – about police procedures
in locating missing people.
I would quickly realise just how far the world and I
have – irreconcilably – parted ways.
I actually grinned, (at first), at one embarrassingly
pretentious fellow – all shoulder-patches and a shiny metal badge –
who was obviously relishing his moment in front of the camera
– trying to impress his listeners with ‘big words’.
But the smile was wiped from my face –
and I had to offer a mental ‘apology’ to the man –
when I realised that THIS was the way that “official”
government employees, journalists,
and up-and-coming ‘media stars’ today actually speak.
“… and so, we’re going to utilize the volunteers in an effort to …”
It would seem that people no longer “use” things – they “utilize” them.
“.. in an effort to alert people, we’ve put up lots of signage.”
We used to say “signs”.
What – ( one cannot but wonder ) – is next?
Will dictionaries soon be filled with … “wordage”?
I have learned that those who value objective standards
and seek to pass on their skill to younger generations,
are now impudently termed “Grammar Nazi’s” …
by the new breed of humanity who are
too lazy to make the effort;
too arrogant to humble themselves enough to learn;
and whose arrogance makes them defiantly determined
to remain vulgar, ignorant, and stupid.
It is no longer enough to wallow in apathy and laziness,
but modern humanity must also actually DESPISE those
who would dare to strive to impart knowledge.
[ Let us return, though, to ‘education’ by television ]
“It was soon discovered that the man went and hung himself”.
In the English language … Objects are “hung”.
Evil, sadistic, predatory people ( when there used to be
a justice system, rather than a legal system ) are … “hanged”.
A house may be “burgled” … not “burglarized”.
There is now, evidently, a tragic enthusiasm for
“True Crime” programmes in which one may hear
bandied about the term … “Serial Killer”.
Those of us who acquire English from somewhere
other than a TV set, were taught the English language term:
“… the elderly man was found deceased.”
Apparently … something is now ‘wrong’
with the term … “dead”.
The whole world of TV, Hollywood, and Internet imitators,
apparently now speaks in courtroom ‘legal-ese’.
And then there are such disgraceful travesties,
as should not even merit refutation …
“We’re done here!” … and …
“Good to Go.”
One strongly suspects that this kind of grammatical atrocity
could only result from some Hollywood trend
in which steroid-assisted, foul-mouthed, ‘action heroes’
brandish guns and are prepared to set about
brutalising other people
for the “entertainment” of cinematic audiences:
“locked and loaded”, they are … “Good to Go!”.
And then, of course – “We’re done here.”
Absolutely disgraceful: North Americans reduced to
the absurdity of TV-speak
by mindlessly imitating, rather than thinking.
The Magic Wand, in folklore, was supposedly made
from the wood of the Holly: Plainly, that particular device
for magically entrancing and stupefying
the minds of people … is still in use.
Whatever may be its origins, the phrase
“You’re good to go!”
has evidently become the new
“Have a Nice Day.”
And there are those who actually believe
that minds are not affected by …
– that people do not mindlessly imitate –
what they see on that screen,
the altar of family worship in the average home.
What I learned through the medium
of that airport television set
let me realise that I am – truly – nearly extinct.
“The assailant was a 21 year old male who had recently
moved to the neighbourhood…”
I am confounded.
“Motorists are asked to be on the lookout
for a 42 year old female last seen …”
A 42 year old female?
And multitudes consider the 21st century
to be a technologically … “advanced” … civilisation ?
A 42 year old female.
A “42 year old female” … What?
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo?
Incredibly, those of us who were pupils
at Elmgrove Primary School in Belfast,
in the 1960’s, learned that sentences
actually needed to have … a subject.
It was something of which all of us
eight-year old boys and girls were well aware.
How times have changed.
“… a 42 year old female …”
“Male” and “Female” … are Adjectives.
“I have a male Jack Russell Terrier, his name is Ben.”
When referring to human beings, in English, we say …
“Man” and “Woman”
“Boy” or “Girl”.
It distinguished human beings from animals.
Or at least, that is what we –
as British schoolchildren, were taught.
And – while I understand that it is an integral part
in the programme of social engineering
to develop a mindless, unthinking, subservient human race
and reverse every last vestige of normalcy
up to and including human gender –
I had imagined that people could at least PAUSE
long enough to THINK –
rather than immediately ape whatever absurdity
the TV and Cinema presents to them.
But then of course, in the 21st century,
and Humanity is finished.
Do people truly not see what is happening?
Or is it just that television has simply been THAT successful
in obliterating the capacity for independent thought ?
Adults are no longer called “employees” …
but are reduced to being disposable possessions
– now referred to as “human … resources”.
Resources – a thing, a disposable commodity,
to be used up and replaced by more of the same.
Amongst the latest innovative “improvements”
of the last few years,
cursive writing is being eliminated from schools;
and schoolteachers are no longer allowed
to fail students because it might “damage the self esteem”
of the lazy, the irresponsible, and the openly rebellious.
Youngsters spew filth and profanity from their mouths
as part of common conversation,
yet are unable to string six sentences together grammatically;
while “educators” ‘dumb down” what passes for ‘education’
to such an extent that now, the ability to write like an adult
is soon going to be a thing of the past.
And all people care about is ‘partying’, being entertained,
and coveting the next iProduct or upgrade
for the one that they have just bought.
All the while, roundly despising anyone
who might call for objective standards of professionalism,
common decency, moral accountability … and grammar.
That penchant of Noah Webster’s – to summarily dispense
with objective standards according to my own personal opinion,
has ( plainly ) not been confined just to English grammar –
but has become the very foundation for modern thought.
Maturity, life experience, and the application of wisdom,
mean nothing to most:
“That’s your opinion” has become
the commonplace response of the day.
After all, screams the modern mind:
“No One is going to tell ME what to do.”
The least suggestion of self-control or morality,
and they are stirred to fury.
Our old English teachers instilled an appreciation
for the objective standards of grammar, reading, and writing.
Reading good books, they maintained,
was the greatest pastime we could ever have.
Reading worked our minds; it made us visualise
the scenes and situations about which we were reading.
It obliged us to actually use our brains.
Reading was the nutrition that made us think;
whilst writing was the exercise that conditioned our brain.
I recall, with gratitude, the teachers
who gave us a glimpse into the wonderful things
that we could learn from reading books –
by people, and about people,
who knew more than we did.
Reading taught us humility: that … we …
were not the centre of the universe.
And now – forty five years later, looking around
at the filth and profanity that spews from mouths
(and keyboards) of modern “civilisation” …
the Luciferian pride, contempt for diligence,
and the lack of moral integrity …
I am so very, very grateful that they did.
To Miss Evaschesen … Thank You.
Your student in 1967 – 68,
[ Postscript: How very sad to have learned
that Christine Evaschesen … died in 2010 ]