Archive for Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cursive, printing or texting

August 5, 2010

I read about a famous cartoonist that just passed away, and it make me remember that cartooning was a big part of my life.

Sixty years ago I took a correspondence cartooning course and had dreams of being a famous cartoonist. However I found they were trained to take anything that anyone says and turn it into a one-caption cartoon. After two years, I decided that was frustrating to my sanity and went on to other interests.

I now realize that people in my age group are more comfortable with a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. The younger generation has learned how to print or use a computer rather than learn cursive, to be creative. Many authors write words out in longhand. Our own young people use “texting,” which is way over my head. They are abbreviating all the words, which worries me that our language will eventually be changed.

New technology is wonderful and it is so hard to keep up. The expression is “If you can’t use a computer, just ask a child.” They are so far ahead of us. Texting is causing us to lose the personal comfort of eye contact, body language and voice fluctuations that are so important to understanding how a person really feels.

I read an article about how all this is devastating to Chinese culture, after spending five hours a day over nine years, learning to write a minimum of 3,000 characters. In China writing is not merely about communication, it is an art form and spiritual exercise, believed by some to improve concentration, longevity, and even martial arts skills.

All of our children are printing, and this has changed our culture to using the right side of the brain. We think in pictures. Cursive is not emphasized as much as it was when I was in grade school. Can people be as creative with a computer as they can be with a pencil and paper?

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