December 2, 1941

I am currently reading December 1941 by Craig Shirley. (Among other things). It is to this point a fascinating account of the American consciousness during the days leading up to and immediately following the dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor. His accounts are taken from various newspaper articles extant from those days. It is amazing how things change. It is amazing how some things never do. In an article discussing the lack of literacy among the young people “today,” a professor from the university of South Carolina, Dr. Reed Smith wrote,

“The old principle … that you can’t sharpen an axe on a velvet grindstone has given place to the view that if pupils don’t like it, they shouldn’t be required to do it…the underlying assumption seems to be…that students will write clearly and correctly by some sort of blessed intuition if only the teacher does not depress them with such inconvenient and unprofitable matters as spelling, paragraphing, punctuation sentence structure, grammar and the choice of and order of words.”

One can only imagine what he would think of today’s students who are often made to live up to low expectations and are trained in the art of communication with text abbreviations and social media.

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