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Jewish World Review
August 19, 2011
/ 19 Menachem-Av, 5771
A dead-end script for cursive
It is a relief to know that my bad handwriting does not bear sole responsibility for killing cursive. Here in my home state of Indiana, the department of education has decided to finish it off. Cursive is no longer a required subject. Shed a tear if you will, but please, not on fresh ink.
Really, it's like asking which came first the computer keyboard or the demise of longhand? It was bound to happen.
I know, I know, some of you are purists packing up your Montblanc fountain pens and the last remaining boxes of Crane stationery with talk about heading to the hills. Oh, you may be fine for awhile, but you'll turn on each other eventually, arguing about whether to resurrect the Palmer Method and whether it is acceptable to make lefties lose their slant. Come to grips with it now the days of cursive are over. Man does not live by longhand alone.
If you'd just think rationally for a moment, I think you will shake those BIC pens out of your satchel, relinquish your beloved uni-ball with the fat grip and agree to stay close to your keyboard.
In today's times, cursive is limiting. It slows us down, it gets in the way of expediency.
Case in point, you can't Facebook in cursive. You can't tweet. You can't even organize a flash mob in cursive. Well you could, but you'd need a day to address the invitations, 3-5 days to make sure they had arrived and two additional days because cursive holdouts are also the sort that also like to RSVP. You have now killed the spirit of the flash mob. Feeling badly about that, aren't you? Like a lower case m drooping beneath the base line.
Another point: Cursive wastes energy. Cursive requires using an entire hand, whereas you can text using only two thumbs.
I know, you're thinking keyboarding robs communication of that personal touch, that special warmth and intimacy. It may to a degree, but we are adaptable creatures, we can retrain ourselves. You'll know you've met the challenge of change when you hear yourself saying:
"Oh, look a birth announcement in Marge's distinctive Times New Roman."
"Children, gather 'round! It's an email from your father in his saucy 10 pt. Arial."
"Is this our second evite to a wedding this month? And they were both in Palatino. What a coincidence!"
What about signatures, you say? A signature is a source of pride, a signature reflects a person's attitude and character, you claim. Well, so does an X.
You're thinking it will be a pity when people can no longer read longhand, let alone write longhand historic letters, journals and diaries, even our founding documents will be indecipherable. Not to worry, no doubt someone is writing code right now for an app that will scan longhand documents, convert them into digital and send the contents to your phone in a more modern, updated version: "We the ppl, of the Untd Sts n ordr 2 form a mor prfct union . . . "
I'm sure you can see the advantages already. There's no use fighting it. When handwritten essays were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. The rest printed in block letters.
The handwriting is on the wall and it is not cursive.
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