We’ve all laughed about the dumbing down of America. Every time we see a post where adults are consistently unclear about the differences between to, too, and two or your and you’re, we roll our eyes and decide to either chide them or automatically discount everything they said. If we know or like them, we cringe inside and hope it was just a slight oversight or the result of errant autocorrect.
Well, last week, I think either the gods of ignorance were out to haunt me or I was being tested by the universe because I seemed to encounter, online and in-person, an abnormal amount of people who apparently only learned basic educational lessons long enough for the quiz and afterwards, kissed the knowledge goodbye (kind of like I did with calculus).
The week began with me having to tell an editorial assistant (I guess) that actually most of the words in a title do, indeed, need to be capitalized and no, it’s not true that words four letters and under don’t need to be capitalized. I’m not certain why this wasn’t understood, but this person was content to post my content with a title that looked like a ransom demand where the letters were cut at random out of a magazine. I was annoyed, of course, because instead of taking my writer word for it, I actually received flack for wanting this very obvious mistake corrected before it was posted under my name. I low-key had to fight for that shit to the extent of screenshotting another random article as an example. Imagine!
But, I was even more annoyed by the fact that someone reached full adult age and made their way into an editorial position fully believing that what they did was correct. Despite the fact that they’ve seen books, articles, e-articles, and periodicals throughout their life (I’m sure), they chose to believe that all those publications were wrong and they were correct.
Then, there was this Twitter exchange about Prince Harry and Prince William where someone didn’t know the difference between the words “princes” (as in the plural form of “prince”) and “princess.” This person vigorously defended their poor understanding of 2nd grade grammar.
I won’t tell you the number of people I, as a Texan, encounter who don’t seem to be able to rationalize “signal, brake, turn” in favor of “sudden brake, start turn, signal.”
This goes beyond the comical “lack toast and tolerant” (lactose intolerant) gaffe that was made on Twitter a few years back. I mean, I don’t really understand how people have perhaps the largest database at their fingers yet seem to constantly mess these things up, but I chalked that one up to a teen trying their hardest (God help us) to explain a medical condition they had only heard of but not seen on paper.
I truly believe this is a foretelling of where the country is headed when its citizens increasingly cannot comprehensively read and write correctly in their native language. Further, the fact that intellectual processing speeds seem to have slowed at least 75% since I was in high school is frankly frightening. When I think about the fact that intellect and common sense never bears weight on reproductive functioning, I feel like we’re headed into a real-life Alfred Hitchcock/Stephen King type of situation.
So, to all my friends who have long-term plans of being in a rocking chair with their great-grandchildren, mazel tov. Not me. If we keep going down this path, I see myself begging for a quick death and hoping the person who makes my headstone knows how to spell.