It recalled Jeffrey Hart’s review of Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse, by Roger Kimball:
“In brief, the civilized seriousness of these essays made me aware of how insidiously our rancid popular culture has come to invade our common being. The throwaway-Kleenex TV programs and magazines, the junk thought, the affirmations of the unbelievable, the garish music, the suffocating ignorance, the language unrooted in lived human experience — this is the muck we swim in, and even though we despise it, some of it sticks.”
The question is, of course, to what extent this “suffocating ignorance” has always pervaded society, only recently emerging into the area of public perception.
Look at the appallingly shallow thought evident in the unmoderated comments on YouTube. GoogleVideo, MySpace and their ilk.
Look at the inability to construct a simple sentence.
Be fearful of the utter lack of understanding of the concept of punctuation.
But also look at the inability of supposedly educated, skilled and talented people to write without displaying their ignorance.
http://www.pprune.org – a forum for professional pilots – is a depressingly typical example of phonetic spelling and creative grammar and punctuation.
And don’t go anywhere near the Cabin Crew forums, if you know what’s good for you.
I got my (German) Account Team to understand the difference between “its” and “it’s” thus:
if you want to sprinkle apostrophes around, ask yourself if “it is” fits in with what you want to say.
Then “its” – without an apostrophe – will do very nicely, thanks.
And they knew how to use a spell-check.
And the dodgy ones had to get their stuff proofread.
Simple stuff, but some clients place value of grammatically correct proposals.
But then again, I might be old-fashioned….