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A fucking grammar lesson..... 2000-08-15 18:06:00
by obrien
Oh God I'm pissed, so I'm just going to bitch. And I'm going to bitch for a very long time.

I can't believe how low we Americans have sunk. The American educational system is the laughingstock of the civiized world, children today have a vocabulary that is half that of their parents at the same age, most high school students can barely pass the High School Competency Test which has stuff on it that I learned in middle school, and they are actually claiming that Ebonics is a legitimate language.

I think it all began very simply, and slowly snowballed into the mass stupidity that is America today.


Spelling, grammar, whatever you want to call it, it's one of our biggest fucking problems in this country. Now, I'm not talking about spelling "commiserate" or "extradite" or "isosceles", I'm talking about simple stuff, like "their" or "hear" or "it's" or "you're". Not necessarily spelling, but proper usage.

I'm only 18 but I remember in elementary school having all those rules drilled into my head, "i before e except after c, or when sounded as 'a' as in neighbor and weigh". Even in second grade we learned about these things called homonyms, like "they're" and "there" and "their". We learned that "it's" is a contraction meaning, "it is", and "its" is possessive. We learned cool little mnemonic devices- like "hear" has the word "ear" in it, so if you're talking about hearing with your ears, it's spelled "hear" not "here".

And all this crap was driven into my head with the nuns' rulers (ok, so I only had one nun teacher, and she wasn't allowed to beat us, but she was still a bitch). Until 8th grade I had spelling/vocab books and spelling tests and shit. I hated it, but it made me the psycho-Nazi-grammar-bitch that I am today.

"But, Laurie," you ask, "how can you blame all of America's problems on incorrect grammar?" (don't make me go off about all the punctuation and spelling and grammar in that last sentence... and you don't wanna hear about passive voice)

And I reply, "Because I can." (new paragraph each time a new person speaks, comma before the quotation marks, punctuation inside the quotes....)

See, I had to learn all this bullshit, and nowadays everyone's decided that it doesn't matter. Well, it does, God damnit!

Because (yeah, I know, never start a sentence with "because") if I see someone who is too stupid (or lazy) to learn the difference between "their" and "they're", or pick up a dictionary to look up a word they don't know how to spell, all I'm going to focus on is their stupidity (or laziness). So everyone out there that says, "It doesn't matter if you spell it rght, as long as you get your point across," you're wrong. I'm just going to say, "What a stupid bitch!" and whatever intelligent, insightful things you say will be negated by the incorrect grammar.

And how does this relate to all of America's problems? Well, what's the first thing you learn in school? You learn to add, and you learn to read. Once you can read, you learn to write- your name, little stories, construction paper cards for your mom. So the educational system is fucking up at the foundation. If you screw that up, chances are you'll screw up when it comes to long division, or history, or algebra. Learning how to spell and remembering the rules of grammar teach you something that is very important in school and life: memorization. Without memorization, you'd never be able to multiply (or divide), solve algebraic equations, remember a date in history, learn French, get a decent job, etc... And you'd also be fucked if, for instance, you were working at a nuclear power plant and hadn't bothered (or were too lazy) to memorize the proper procedures for this or that, and fucked something up and caused a meltdown and killed the entire city of, say, Wichita, Kansas. So learning to memorize is something that is important and useful later in life.

When schools de-emphasize the importance of learning to spell correctly, kids begin to think that it's not important to memorize anything. "Memorization isn't learning, you have to APPLY your knowledge." Well, damn, if the knowledge isn't in your head in the first place it makes it pretty fucking hard to apply. Like my friend Beth, a perfect example of stupidity combined with poor schooling- not only can she not spell for shit, she can't figure out what 10% of, say, $15.75 is... That's not that hard! You don't even need to do any math, just move the decimal point! And this girl just got her GED- the state of Florida believes she is educated enough to graduate high school.

But schools across the country are saying, "No! That's too(and ooh Lord I hate it when people misuse "too" and "to"... that was the FIRST thing I learned when they were teaching us about homonyms) hard for the poor children! They don't need to know how to spell." So my cousin's school in Georgia (we're talking Atlanta, not hickville) has decided to stop teaching spelling and grammar until the kids have been reading and writing for 2 years. 2 years to get used to those bad habits! In first grade, we didn't know how to spell shit but we'd ask the teacher or she'd help us look it up and that was that. We'd learn a word of the day and have a little test and it was all good. If we wrote, "Mie mommy tuk me too skool tooday" she would correct it and everyone would be happy. But no! why try to force these kids to learn when we can just let them do whatever they want and later in life when they don't know a homonym from a homosexual and they don't care about learning sine and cosine and don't know who wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, we'll blame it on drugs, or poor parenting, or violence in schools.

If a house is falling down because the foundation is screwed up, you have to fix the foundation. You can't try fixing the walls or the roof and expect it to stand very long. Just like education- if you screw up the basics, America's youth will just get dumber and dumber until this country collapses.