Friday, December 08, 2006

Be Adequite

Ok, so I just finished watching a segment on the Today show bemoaning the downward spiral of poor, stupid, though very talented!, starlet Lindsay Lohan. It all began when they reported on her email of sadness after the death of Robert Altman, and then they talked about how she had claimed that Paris Hilton hurt her, and then they talked about this email of craziness, sent by sweet, dear, illiterate Lindsay.

Ok, I've got to weigh in.

The only reason that this "story" is of interest to a program like the Today show (which got some psychologist to talk about how Lindsay is suffering from some child star syndrome or something) is so that its viewers can congratulate themselves about how glad they are that they are better mothers than Dina Lohan and how glad they are that their children are untalented, mediocre, and non-famous. The Today show does NOT care about Lindsay, or about how she is a "victim" of the "media feeding frenzy" for, in fact, the Today show is feeding on her as well.

And let's get something straight, America: Lindsay may not be able to spell, or to write in complete sentences, or to have a coherent or logical structure to a piece of writing. But as somebody who teaches writing to students about Lindsay's age, I'm here to tell you: your kids can't do those things either! Lindsay's problem is not that she's a starlet and that her mother emphasized fame over education, because if that is her problem, America, then how do you explain all of the non-starlets whom I encounter who write in the exact same fashion before I get my hands on them - and sometimes even after I get my hands on them?

Let's face it, folks. Most people who graduate from high school can't write particularly well. And if we bogarted their emails or texts or whatever, and we publicized them, it would be embarassing for them. I'll admit, most of us probably wouldn't talk about how Al Gore could help us with our war on the media or whatever it is she's talking about in that last email, but then, most of us have never met Al Gore, right? And I agree with Lindsay! Of course Bill Clinton would be on board with any plans she might make! But I digress.

My point here is that the segment on the Today show pissed me off incredibly, and it pissed me off precisely because I'm a writing teacher. I see writing like that (minus the raving about Al Gore) all. the. time. That's the young minds of our world, folks. We live in a world after NCLB and proficiency testing, etc. We live in a world in which we ignore and underfund the traditional humanities disciplines where people learn to string coherent thoughts together and to communicate those thoughts in writing. Are we really so shocked and surprised? Really?

PS. I love L.L. I also think that if somebody had bogarted Elizabeth Taylor's communications way back in the day that they might have looked quite similar to Lindsay's. That is all.


kfluff said...

Oh, poor LiLo. She is taking it in the teeth nowadays, for sure. If nothing else, she should be commended for appearing in public with underwear. Can we claim that as some kind of victory for the humanities?

undine said...

Didn't see the segment, but a big amen to your comments about the writing!

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oh, I totally agree! With all of this. Yes, I've had students who write exactly like that. It's not that she's done a bunch of drugs and hung out with Hollywood stars - it's that she's a young person in America! (And I'm sure plenty of older people don't write any better.)