...the first stack to be graded this semester, I feel sad. I miss an old friend. That friend was the "English language," which some of you may have heard of before. It passed away back in August, apparently. I've seen it around so rarely of late that I suppose I didn't realize until just now, as I limber up my red-pen hand, that it really was gone for good. Gene Weingarten, a long-time Washington Post reporter and columnist, has the story:
[English] succumbed last month at the age of 1,617 after a long illness. It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself. The end came quietly on Aug. 21 on the letters page of The Washington Post. A reader castigated the newspaper for having written that Sasha Obama was the "youngest" daughter of the president and first lady, rather than their "younger" daughter. In so doing, however, the letter writer called the first couple the "Obama's." This, too, was published, constituting an illiterate proofreading of an illiterate criticism of an illiteracy. Moments later, already severely weakened, English died of shame...
It was not immediately clear to what degree the English language will be mourned, or if it will be mourned at all. In the United States, English has become increasingly irrelevant, particularly among young adults. Once the most popular major at the nation's leading colleges and universities, it now often trails more pragmatic disciplines, such as economics, politics, government, and, ironically, "communications," which increasingly involves learning to write mobile-device-friendly ads for products like Cheez Doodles.
Many people interviewed for this obituary appeared unmoved by the news, including Anthony Incognito of Crystal City, a typical man in the street.
"Between you and I," he said, "I could care less."Ah well. Life goes on. Time to start grading. First person to misspell Aristotle wins.