Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Back from Florida. During this unpleasant trip, I've had a revelation. Not about anything too Earth-shattering, don't worry. Spending time in the Miami area (kinda), I was struck by the fact that you don't need to know a lick of English to survive in this country. That really pisses me off, because the last time I checked English was still the official language of the US. Don't get me wrong. I know full well that there are people living in this country who can trace their ancestry back to the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock who can't handle English too well. But they still speak/spell some bastardized form of English. What I'm talking about has to do with the almighty dollar in the form of multi-lingual packaging. If you're in Canada and a package has both French and English, that's to be expected. A very large province of Canada has French as its official language. The US has English, and that's it. So why are more and more products featuring labels in both English and Spanish? Simple. Money. "Hey", says corporate America, "since there are so many people in the country who have Spanish as their primary language, let's spend a little on the extra ink so our products have two languages! If they can't read English, they can read Spanish, and if they can read Spanish, then they'll buy our crap!" Brilliant business sense, lousy for the country. Now there's even less incentive to learn English, so why bother?

At work, I deal with people who can't be bothered to try to learn for themselves. I see this as the same concept, but on a national level. Seeing it at work makes me really, really pissed. Seeing it on a national level brings me to a whole new level of pissed that I didn't think I could achieve. Let's just make everything easier for everyone. Can't read a road sign? Here's a happy picture. Can't read English? No problem! We'll advance you to the next grade anyway. And you probably can't read because there's something wrong with the test, not because you're a fucking idiot.

My niece and nephew I fear for, since the current trend of dumbing-down everything is on the rise. When they get to be my age... I don't want to think about it. Unless a new Renaissance of education comes about between now and then, I'd expect they'd carry on a better conversation with a bowl of salad than with a human. If any of you have ever wondered why I've never, ever, wanted to be a parent, here you go. I would never want to subject another child to the revelations I've undergone over the years. Or, worse, watch as an offspring of mine turned into an idiot because of the world around him/her/it.

I'm done for now. More later.

No comments: