Quasi-Indefatigable Xenolith


Innovation And Evolution

I was reading an article about a study on writing done recently. People worry that modern "smack" commuications is destroying the ability of youth to write well. The study said it didn't and I have to say that I don't think such things matter.

Like so many other things, "experts" typically choose some point in the past, declare that point the "golden age", and then say and publish that because we don't behave that way anymore, we must be in decline. I find it strange that given all the intelligence that we credit to our scholars that some so often forget that their "standard" for comparisons were the absolute cream of generations past. No, most kids don't write as well as Shakespeare, no matter how much we expose them to the Bard. Our kids consitently perform worse than those in the past, though we forget that the worst students thirty years ago had already dropped out of school long before they were due to take most tests and therefore did not drag down the average score.

Even if we do worse on traditional measures, I will still declare that such things are worthless. I think Shakespeare would likely be a script writer for arthouse movies and would be absolutely unknown to most people if he lived today. He lived in a unique time and the fact that we know him at all has more to do with interesting intersections between fame and archivists than it has with everlasting talent. Fame could have plucked up another playwright and we would be analyzing that person's every move and moulding our concept of the English language after his turn-of-phrase.