Found at Starbucks: A Latte and a Big Idea

Watch President Eaton’s newest video about his conversation with a Starbucks barista on the topic of text messaging. Are we in danger of losing our ability to read and to write sophisticated text?



Categories: Culture

4 replies

  1. I agree that literacy is a vital feature of a healthy society. Most adults in the U.S. can read, but how many adults are in the habit of reading well-written, sophisticated literature?

    I have long enjoyed a superior command of the English language. I believe that this was a result of extensive reading, from authors like C.S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engel, Laura Ingalls Wilder, George MacDonald, and even Roald Dahl. I deplore the lack of true literacy that I see in America today.

    Even in The Falcon, I have seen tell-tale signs of Spell-Check dependence. When writers use words or phrases that they heard on TV (perhaps from news anchors), without knowing the exact spelling or meaning, it shows that they don’t really know what they are saying, and it discourages me from reading their work.

    But is texting the culprit? I feel that this lack of true literacy predates texting, and has its source in our fast-paced, media-saturated culture. We listen to a short news clip on TV and then we’re up to date, instead of reading the newspaper. We go out to watch a movie, or stay home and watch Friends or American Idol (guilty), instead of reading a good book or having a meaningful discussion.

    What can we do about this problem? How can we reverse this trend? Should we put more writing in the graduation requirements? Should we ban televisions in the dorms? Should we eliminate film from the art department? Somehow, I doubt that any of these ideas will work.

    I believe that literacy starts earlier, when parents read to their children and encourage them to read. My mother’s mother never got past the 8th grade, and spoke with a French (Canadian) accent. Yet she read to her children, and my mother developed a love of books and reading, which she passed on to me. If we can somehow encourage parents to read to their children, early and often, that might make a small difference. Many graduates of SPU go on to become parents. If our students really understand the benefits of literacy, and how to promote it in their children, then maybe, just maybe, we might make a difference.

    That’s the way I see it.

  2. I suppose then that you are not a fan of these forms of the Lord’s Prayer?

    Gzus said…
    dad@hvn,ur spshl.
    we want wot u want &urth2b like hvn.
    giv us food&4giv r sins lyk we 4giv uvaz.
    don’t test us! save us! bcos we kno ur boss, ur tuf&ur cool 4 eva!ok?
    Matthew 6:9-13
    Matthew Cambell, York, England

    r pa in evan, respect 2 u, may u rain ear as in evan. giv us r needs, 4giv rsin as we 4giv r nmes. resq us from the evil 1. 4 ur always the most xlent dude. yo
    Steve Seymour, Bristol, England, You rule, up and down. We need grub and a break. Will pass it on. Keep us focused. You totally rule, long term. Amen.
    Rev. Stephen E. Moore, Bellevue, Washington, USA

  3. You know, Dr. Eaton, George Orwell speaks of this in his book 1984. This happens to be one of my favorite books, because Orwell shows us how a society that rids itself of complicated words has a much harder time expressing itself. In this way, the government of Oceana is able to clamp down on the ways that people can express themselves and think, thus limiting the ability for the people to find out they were living in a destructive society.

    Now I am an avid texter (not in class, of course). I send and receive an unbelievable amount of texts every month, and sometimes I see it as somewhat of a game to try and one-up the month before. However, one of the things that I don’t do is use shortened words. Sure they slip in to my writing sometimes, but I’m the guy who makes sure that his texts are grammatically correct (or at least I try).

    I don’t think that texting is necessarily bad, but it can be used in a way that may be destructive to the English language. However, I feel that if we can find effective ways of expressing ourselves and our ideas completely through language, then the freedom of thought will carry through. We just have to make sure that what we are saying is meaningful enough to continue this message.

    I like these posts that come often. It keeps my days interesting.

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