Thursday, October 12, 2006

Handwriting in the Digital Age

Most corners of the blogosphere have taken a knock at this Washington Post article on the withering away of cursive writing. The article itself quotes a bunch of educators basically shrugging their shoulders and mentions anonymous "scholars" and "academics" who deplore the trend towards printing. But WaPo staff writer Margaret Webb Pressler was fairly cunning in her write-up, if she was aiming for page-hits; just the intimation of judgment against the sloppy-writing techies gets her at least hundred links.

I'm not surprised at the online backlash. For a couple of decades at least, handwriting analysts have claimed to be able to read character, class, education, what you will, from the shape and size of handwritten letters. Non-expert analysts have used their experience to prejudge people on the basis of handwriting as well. The generation of computer geeks who grew up in a world not quite ready for them found these handwriting standards oppressive and stupid; the younger generation probably thinks all handwriting is artwork.

There used to be posted here a sample of my handwriting, before I took it down because something was going funky with the site for one of my few readers. I'm willing to admit that I wanted to have "interesting" handwriting and that I worked on it; some of my lecture notes are unreadable for their "interestingness," which is more than I can say for the lectures.

Yes, I've become defensive about it.


Anonymous Anonymous:

It would never have occurred to me that that was anything other than perfectly effective handwriting. Neither of my kids writes at all, although my son is being asked by his teacher. I think my daughter's spatial skills and organization may have suffered for her not doing more of it, psychologist thought so anyway. Penmanship — my mother has a "feminine hand," hard for me to read — is not the issue so much as whether people use handwriting at all.

10/13/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger CharleyCarp:

OT: I don't know if it's me, but I'm experiencing a format problem opening your blog. If I click on the links on OW, TIO, or my own, I get only this post, through the first sentence in the thrid paragraph -- nothing further, and no right margin stuff.

Is this a link rot of some kind, a beta thing, or some other problem I am not imagining?

I can get into the whole post from the link in the comment on the TIO thread.

Hope renewed activity means you've got the wind at your back.

10/13/2006 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Marilee Scott:

I'd put the wind at about three points aft my port beam; I'm starting to crowd the sails, but the spinnaker is still stowed below for now.

The technical problems you've having baffle me. Have you tried loading a simple "" page and does it yield the same bad result? I can't help wondering whether more activity on my end--simply more posting--won't make my site refresh better; blogspot surely has a way of de-emphasizing less used sites.

10/15/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger CharleyCarp:

Funny. Still there. Site as loaded either from writing in the link, or from clicking anywhere I see it, gets the same thing: everything after the picture of your handwriting on the handwriting post. The picture, and the entire universe that came before, exists only by clicking the link in the post at TIO.

I deduce, then, that there's something about the picture.

10/31/2006 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger Marilee Scott:

Hmm, in that case, perhaps I'll just take it down then.

11/04/2006 04:20:00 PM  

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