Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hooked on Newspeak

Courtesy of Shakespeare's Sister, I see that a group calling itself the American Literacy Council wants to improve literacy rates in this country by making the English language entirely illegible.

Simply put, their brilliant plan is to change all the spellings to phonetic ones, which would supposedly make it easier for children to learn the language. Apparently, the rest of us will have to conform to a fourth-grader's view of the world in order to give them pride in their crappy spelling. (Sort of like how we handled Dan Quayle.)

As Shakes' Sis notes, their proposal is incredibly stupid, but the MSNBC report about it is even worse:
Those in favor of simplified spelling say children would learn faster and illiteracy rates would drop. Opponents say a new system would make spelling even more confusing.

Eether wae, the consept has yet to capcher th publix imajinaeshun.

It’s been 100 years since Andrew Carnegie helped create the Simplified Spelling Board to promote a retooling of written English and President Theodore Roosevelt tried to force the government to use simplified spelling in its publications. But advocates aren’t giving up.

They even picket the national spelling bee finals, held every year in Washington, costumed as bumble bees and hoisting signs that say “Enuf is enuf but enough is too much” or “I’m thru with through.”

Thae sae th bee selebraets th ability of a fue stoodents to master a dificult sistem that stumps meny utherz hoo cuud do just as wel if speling were simpler.
Simplify, simplify, simplify. Because as we all know, all these complicated spellings lead to complicated thoughts -- thoughts that might find problems with the world as it is.

And those thoughts, of course, are Thoughtcrimes and deemed to be Double Plus Ungood.

6 comments:

Mike said...

"as we all know, all these complicated spellings lead to complicated thoughts -- thoughts that might find problems with the world as it is. And those thoughts, of course, are Thoughtcrimes and deemed to be Double Plus Ungood."

Nice!

Smitty said...

Great. Another stupid idea that conservatives will blame on liberals. Juuuust great.

Given this proposal and America's literacy rate, it's not wonder that the last time I visited London, it was the Londoners who spoke slowly and loudly to me.

Otto Man said...

Great. Another stupid idea that conservatives will blame on liberals.

Actually, given the near obsession that conservatives have with phonics -- especially the Religious Right, for some reason -- I doubt they can pin this on liberals.

Bush himself has been a pretty big promoter of this, though I suspect he has a personal interest in doing away with all them spelling rules.

Mike said...

As Otto Man pointed out with his Orwell allusion, an illiterate population is a dumb population.

Sounds like The Boys may know what they're doing juuuuuuust fine.

Bastards.

Thrillhous said...

It's so simple I could slap myself.

The language barrier is one of the best ways to spot someone who doesn't belong here.

The libruls want to get rid of that barrier by making it easier for outsiders to learn our ways of communicating. Once again, the libruls are aiding terrorists and/or illegal immigrants. Don't they know we're at war?

Otto Man said...

I just want to be sure immigrants can't sing the national anthem. Whoever can do that gets my vote. Or voht. Whatever.