I agree with everyone on all points -- that spelling matters and doesn't
matter. Don's deliberate satire (which many obviously interpreted as a
flame) did, in fact, remind me of the 19th C. humorist Artemus Ward. He
had a Mark Twainish style, but when writing for the Cleveland "Plain
Dealer" used the device of his own phonetic spelling to heighten the
satiric element of his writing. He often poked gentle fun at "high brow"
performers and pompous political or religious figures. He was quite
obviously highly intelligent, knew how to spell, and poked fun in a non
vicious way. My points in referring to Mr. Ward, were: to comment on Don's
parodic skill; to separate e-mail spelling from implications of being
educated or not; to reassure Christine that not all of us were in judgement
about her spelling; and to seriously enquire whether anyone had
acquaintance with the marvelous writing of Artemus Ward.
It IS appalling at how poorly students spell these days -- and even more so
how many newspapers and school notices get published with glaring spelling
and grammatical errors. When I was subbing, I would often come in to a
class with an assignment written on the board by the teacher with spelling
errors in it. The problem may lie in the education of our entering
teachers, which may lie in the salaries we pay teachers, which may lie in
the value we place on education, etc., etc., etc.
On the other hand,spelling aside, when an e-mail is interpreted as a flame
(and apparently mine was also-- at least by you) we experience
communication breakdowns which are probably more serious than technical
language breakdowns. So I apologize to Don if he thought I was being hard
on him and to you for feeling the need to defend him.
>Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 20:58:32 -0800
>Subject: Re: Something to Consider
>Don't give Don too hard a time. I, too, am often amazed at the poor spelling
>and English that I see on my different lists. I notice really bad spelling
>errors. I don't mind little mistakes but it does bother me. My children who
>are in elementary school and junior high do not have any of their spelling
>errors corrected on their papers. The attitude from teachers today is "Well,
>with today's technology, they can get by without perfect spelling."
>say, my son is a horrible speller and its frustrating. I'm only in my
>but when it comes to spelling - I am old fashioned. Spelling does
>don't mean to sound overly critical because I love this list and I'm
>we can communicate throughout the world. I just felt that people were giving
>Don a hard time when he certainly has a valid point. Others notice too.