Dec 4, 2007

Just Curious

Through the process of reading the hundreds of comments that this blog receives every day, I can not help but notice that there is a high percentage of the contributions which are, shall we say, poorly written. Bad grammar. Bad spelling. Illiterate.

I found myself wondering at what point the US education system failed us? An exchange between a couple of contributors on a recent post is what triggered this, with (as usual) one commenter calling another commenter "stupid", followed by a third participant making the following observation:


"Tell us your not as stupid as you sound..."

Tell *us* YOUR not as stupid as YOU sound, 8:25.

Your. You're.

Fuck up the usage of those two words and you are *guaranteed* to sound stupid.

Call me old-fashioned if you want, but if you sound ignorant, that is how people will treat you. If your [note the sardonic, intended mis-use of the pronoun] happy with that, then fine. We'll all just continue to think of you as ignorant, stupid!

'Nuff said. Git 'er done!

-Gus

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Two words: George Bush.

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Gus, I know several highly-intelligent people, men and women, within LANL's ranks who are grammar-, spelling- or language-challenged but who have other skills like which were the focus of their education and became highly developed in spite of their weak language skills. Even Einstein was quick to admit that he had weaknesses in some areas that caused him to struggle.

I think the gift of 'grammar amnesty' allows people to exchange ideas and opinions without harboring ill-will over the issue of perfect communication. This isn't to say that a known stumbling block shouldn't or couldn't be tackled and improved upon but at some point we need to give up the aggressive attack on the minutia in order to get the value of the messages.

Oh, and 'George Bush' couldn't possibly have been the cause unless the contributors here are mostly eighth graders or younger. Yeesh, get some math skills. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm with Gus on this one. I don't think
that we should have a policy of
"grammar amnesty".

I think we need to call people on their
faulty grammar and inappropriate use of
homonyms. That's the only way they will
improve.

Perhaps that's what's wrong with our
schools today; they have a policy of
"grammar amnesty" instead of teaching
proper English.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can pin a date on when public schooling went to the crapper; it's been headed south for a long time.

There's a reason why homeschooling (and other alternative schooling) is becoming ever more popular these days.

Public schools would probably be OK, if the kids would behave. But, by nature, kids don't behave, and public schools aren't allowed to mete out appropriate discipline anymore.


Oh, and don't blame George Bush. It's the whiney liberal namby-pambies that brought this situation about.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Gus. I note also that there is a strong correlation between bad grammar and a lab-hating position.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Gus. There is a strong correlation between grammar and coherent arguments on this blog.

I disagree with 10:03. I have seen little or no correlation between good grammar and "a lab-hating position."

I am not sure what a lab-hating position is, though, 10:03. Is it disappointment with safety and security violations that harm LANL workers, the community, and the nation?

Anonymous said...

Well then, perhaps we ought to end the use of foriegn nationals at the Lab because they talk and write kind of funny anyway. Is that the. message we're supposed to be getting from this childish obsession with spelling and grammer? Or is this just a way to dismiss the views of those we don't agree with?

Anonymous said...

You're full of shit, 10:54. Most of the foreign nationals I know speak and write English better than most native-born Americans.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever used text messaging? If you have, then you'd understand how some posts might appear choppy a times. But I get the gist of the message and for me at least, that's much more important.

Anonymous said...

"You're full of shit, 10:54. Most of the foreign nationals I know speak and write English better than most native-born Americans.--12/4/07 10:56AM

Well that must mean then that these grammatically correct folks are pretty damn smart, huh? Then again you can't judge a book by its cover or a box of cereal by the picture on the outside. Call me old fashion, but I still prefer content to style.

Anonymous said...

Bad grammar is a sign of someone who tends to be lazy.

Good grammar is a sign of someone who tends to be anally retentive.

Take YOUR pick.

Anonymous said...

Poor writing isn't about excuses and "childish obsession". It's a sign of sloppy, lazy behavior by an author who didn't care enough about what they were writing to do it right. Why should I respect the opinion of a person too lazy to check their work and look up a few words?

George Bush??!!! I'm surprised 9:03 didn't blame it on global warming too.
Do something about the hideous teachers' union and maybe something can be done about education.

Anonymous said...

Most of us had grandparents that weren’t as skilled in speaking or writing as the so-called best and brightest of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. That didn’t make them ignorant though. What they lacked in education they more than made up for in common sense. It seems that as we acquire more and more of those things that separate us from others, we lose more are more of what makes us human. Perhaps that’s why the Lab is in the condition it is today. Our roots as an institution have withered and died, just as our humanity as a nation has withered and died. These blog postings say volumes. The irony of course is that this is supposedly the season of goodwill. Not these days though. It’s a dog eat dog out there, and with a RIF on the horizon it’s every man, woman and child for himself. Is this the brave new world our generation has created? How I wish my grandparent’s generation were still alive

Anonymous said...

I agree with Gus.

Maybe we should have "grammer anmesty" or in the words of Jeff Foxworthy - "We should stop letting the dumbest among us on TV."

Foxworthy was talking about rednecks (not Los Alamosans); but, at least to me, bad grammar and spelling reflect negatively on the workforce of the Lab when they write on this blog, an essentially worldwide stage.

I would appreciate a bit of editing for grammar, spelling, and whining ( ;-) ) before a person sends in a comment.

Ravenfriend said...

I work in the group with all the editors and "word smiths" and I think that if we readers are able to understand the general idea of what the writer is trying to convey, we don't need to worry too much about proper grammar and spelling. Typos happen and not all of us take the time to proofread our posts.

If you want to see the TRULY awful grammatical skills of the general populace, try reading a few of the myriad chat-room/blog posts out there. In an apalling number of cases, one really CAN'T figure out what the writer is trying to say.

Now, that's different.

Anonymous said...

Based on what I have been reading, I have to wonder if we actually are attracting the best and brightest?

I would have to answer that question with a resounding NO! Who in their right mind would come here to work when there are better places to work (and to live). Are our problems any different than other companies across the US. I think not. The problem wthat we have here is the political aspect since we work for the government.

Anonymous said...

Wow...Only in Los Alamos would anyone, not allow ideas or opinions because they are not educated? or because thet cannot spell, remember "The World is Watching".

Anonymous said...

Oh, you can share your ideas, 5:33. But if they sound ignorant, they will be treated as if they came from an ignorant person. Fair enough, right?

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. Grammar flames. This blog looks more and more like usenet every day.

Anonymous said...

The post in question has one (1) spelling error. So give it a. break already. You anal retentive spellers are shallow and petty. What a pathetic group. The ship is sinking and you're worried about a leaky faucet in the captain's quarters? Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

BBBut, "Ignorance is such sweet bliss"

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Re: 6:12's post -- USENET!

Ooh! We have a genuine old timer in our midst.

Yes, one (1) grammar (not spelling) error was in the original post. Great job of keeping score, old-timer! Nice to have you around.

:-}

-Gus

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is not "bliss" it is dangerous....One adult in five[in the US] thinks that the Sun revolves around the earth, an idea abandoned by the 17th Century.

Anonymous said...

Most of us know that the Sun revolves about Los Alamos, not the earth.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the sun revolves around my head and not Los Alamos. I know this because it follows me around wherever I go. East coast, west coast, Kansas... it doesn't matter. It's always there with me.

Pinky and The Brain said...

Hey, I still read newsgroups.

Anonymous said...

The true issue is not what bad spelling and grammar says about this blog, or about Los Alamos or the Laboratory. It is simply that bad spelling and grammar are indicative of a poor education, regardless of whether the poster has a Ph.D. or not even a high school diploma. Also, even those who received a good education are now slipping into "texting" language, which when placed in a true writing environment, really makes the writer sound stupid.

Bottom line: How you appear is how you will be interpreted. No class is no class. Pay attention to your manners, both social and linguistic. If you want respect, present yourself as respectable. (Didn't your Grandmother teach you this stuff?)

Anonymous said...

I happen to have fairly good spelling and grammar skills despite a very marginal public education.

I can still make very stupid faux-pas, especially in the context of running commentary on a blog like this.

On the other hand, it *does* make people sound ignorant when they misuse language and that *does* undermine their credibility. As a reader, I try to read past the mistakes however, because I know that this is often a red-herring.

As for public education, yadda-yadda-blah-blah-blah. I was raised in fairly poorly funded and staffed public schools but I got by just fine because the teachers and my parents and the other adults in my life were *literate* themselves.

Much of what we are seeing is the compound effects of a lack of interest and concern for education across the board. Parents who want their children to learn good reading, writing, math and critical thinking skills should be able to provide that themselves *without* using homeschooling or demanding better public schools or anything else. Yes, it would be nice to have better public schools, but I highly doubt that we can hang all of our problems in education on them.

Check in on your children's basic skills and if they come up short, shame on you first... and the school system second.