Iz Americah alitarit?

Today is National Donut Day. I'd rather be writing about fried dough and sugary icing, but I'm ticked. Why? This week, illiteracy in America took a huge leap forward.

As a writer and communicator, I love words. The dictionary and thesaurus are two of my favorite books. I imagine many of you are fans of the written word, too. Well, some lunatics are actually protesting this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee. Apparently, they think we should all spell like simpletons (e.g. froot instead of fruit, hefer instead of heifer, slo instead of slow). They call it simplifying; I call it stupidity.

The nearly 300 children who made it to Washington D.C. this week to stand on stage at the National Spelling Bee are amazing. They have studied, learned the history behind all the root words, and taught themselves the complexities surrounding language.  Instead of honoring these kids with signs of support, these idiot protesters are passing out buttons that say, "Enuf is enuf. Enough is too much." Is it really so hard to learn how to spell a word properly? Get a word a day calendar, pick up a dictionary, read, educate yourself.

In an era of texting, people are becoming even lazier spellers, too. To me, a misspelled word in a professional context (not a typo, but an obviously misspelled word) is an immediate red flag. Heck, if the love of my life were to write me the most amazing love letter, but it was full of spelling errors, I'm afraid I'd have to kick him to the curb.

So, wise up, America! Love the English language, learn to use it, and teach yourself to spell properly. You don't have to be a spelling bee champ to know the difference between to, too, and two.


  1. As a past spelling bee winner (school level only), my reaction to this news made my jaw drop. Did I mention my B.A. is in English Lit? Sure, Shakespeare made up words. But you know what? He ENHANCED the English language. He did not detract from it one bit. I am so sickened by people who want to dumb down the language.

    What's next? Dumbing down Keats, Wordsworth, Brown, Yates, and Burns? If that happens, I quit.

    I'll be the first to admit that my grammar may need some work. But spell a word wrong and you have got my attention. I cannot read fluff because of the basic text level at which they are written. Challenge me!

    One of my favorite classes in college was one which examined the etymology (for those of you who aren't taking the time to educate yourself, that means history or how something came to be) of the English Language. It is a fascinating and constantly evolving work in progress which adds words and pronunciations from new cultures all the time. Let's not make dumb one of those new additions, mmmkay?

  2. I am constantly distressed by the ever-growing epidemic of poor spelling, not to mention the pervasive use of bad grammar. It makes me want to scream. Not caring is bad enough, but actively promoting misspelling, and protesting proper spelling is unbelievable.

  3. Preposterous~!! And when those of us who spent time learning to love language, its derivatives and usages, "simplify", there would STILL be mistakes to be made. New mistakes. Would formerly correct words suddenly become errors? Besides, it is effortless now with so many tools available to check for errors in spelling and grammar. Google automatically corrects and Firefox underlines misspellings as you type like Word.

    I watched, too, Amber, and while I did not see protesters, I did overhear the announcer say, "If she spells this word correct(!), we'll have a winner...". I could almost see the group of champion spellers roll their eyes!

    Thank you for an excellent and timely post! So glad we watched! (Yes, I use too many exclamation points, but I did say "too"! lol)
    Anita @ModelSupplies

  4. Stupid is in fashion - I see it every day on what passes for "the news." Critical thinking has flown the coup.

    When I read your post about the crusade to "simplify"(dumb down) the English Language, my mind went straight to an old Outer Limits or Twilight Zone where smart people, by decree, had to wear an electronic get up on their heads to make them as stupid as the masses - no one was allowed an IQ over a particular double-digit number. The truncated Twitter and "texting" formats do not well serve under-educated youth who are at once mesmerized and branded by these modes of communication.

    Apologies for the rant - as you can see, I agree with your position. I've always been a fan of spelling bees, and while all these kids were great, the ESL contestants were especially impressive.

  5. Thank you all for adding to the conversation. I'm really enjoying hearing your take on this issue!

    Lauren: Thank you for your terrific comment! Oh, and I'm a grade school spelling bee winner, too! Word lovers unite!

    Tina: I couldn't agree with you more. Errors through indifference or lack of education is one thing. Being stupid on purpose is a much different thing. I'll scream right along with you, alright?

    Anita: The fact that you wrote the word "derivatives" makes me like you even more than I already did! ;-> Aren't those kids just amazing?

    Marianne: Thank you very much! I appreciate that a bunch!

    Mary: I love The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. This topic does sound like a perfect story for an episode, doesn't it? Absolutely ridiculous! Oh, and rant anytime you like. No apologies necessary!

  6. Catholic school with mean nuns should be mandatory for everyone. As a society we have been so dummied down. I'm just glad I was born when I was, grew up when I did and with any luck I'll get off the planet before the stupid people completely take over.

    And don't even get me started on people who use "drug" as the past tense for drag!

  7. I love all the smart people chiming in on this one! And, hey, I just noticed they're all gals! Are girls better spellers or what?

    Jayne: I echo your sentiment completely! If I was growing up today, I'd be beside myself. Hopefully you and I will drop dead before the mortuary starts using texting shorthand for gravestones: "C U l8r mom. luv ya."

  8. How did I miss this post?

    I don't know if it's laziness or a lack of pride. I really can't see this taking off though - after failing to get job after job, maybe the protesters will get the hint? Though perhaps they might not be clever enough to figure it out.

    The thing that really has me shaking my head is the fact that there are online dictionaries if you are that lazy.

    One way to look at it? You won't have to worry about losing your job to a young adult if the young adult can't spell.

  9. Tom: No kidding! It's not like you have to drag out the 20 pound hardback dictionary if you don't know how to spell a word. With online dictionaries and spell check, there's no excuse for being illiterate. And if you are, well, don't bring the rest of us down with you.

  10. Amen! "Cute" or lazy spelling only makes a person look ignorant. Someone asked me why my line of kids portraits - Candid Kids - isn't spelled "Kandid" to match the "k" in kids. Why should it? I have an education and am happy to use it!

  11. Kudos to you! Not only do you want to use YOUR education, but what kind of example is that for the kids who come to your studio? Thanks for being part of the solution and not part of the growing problem. I like you already! ;->

  12. These comments are two of the reasons both of you are aces! Anyone who knows the different between drug and dragged is a winner in my book! ;-)

  13. ROFLMAO OMG yes yes yes on the "drug" for past tense of "drag"....and what is even funnier is that so many "prominent" people even on TV say it....I am torn between laughing and crying when I hear that.

  14. Okay so...Amber...I swear.....you are a top influencer in my book because I can't seem to watch anything now without thinking about your blog....

    Being out of work...and loving law...I find myself watching InSession ALL DAY!....Actually listening to it more than watching it. Anyway...they have a trial going on right now and there is a dentist being cross examined by the defense. Since I am only listening at this point, imagine my pups response when I burst out laughing after hearing the dentist use the word "drug" rather than "dragged"....the pups started howling cause I laughed so hard.....but wait...there's more....the defense attorney then also used the word "drug" rather than "dragged"...God Help Us All!

    Have I told you today how much I love your blog?...lol...Please RT me!

  15. Rachel, you are much too kind. Thank you so much!

    Luckily, I'm not able to get that show. Sounds like something I'd enjoy, too!

    Thanks for stopping by to brighten my day. Life is better when you know people who love words, too ;-)

  16. UPDATE:  Hey Amber...you know how much you influence me...lol

    So...today I am watching (rather listening) to @InSession:twitter , The Casey Anthony Murder Trial.  One of the defense attorneys keeps saying "drownDing" rather than "drowning"...lol....I can't stop.  Clearly that has more to do with pronunciation than actual illiteracy...but good grief!

  17. Ha ha. Oh, it drives me nuts when people mispronounce words. But it makes my head spin in circles when people MAKE UP words. Ugh. I hear it all the time.

    I'm sure the one you hear quite frequently is "spaided". No, you will SPAY an animal. Once completed, the animal was spayed. Spayded is not the past tense of spayed. So many make up words I could list here, but I fear a list would just make me weep... ;-(

  18. I started laughing when I saw the sentence that you would kick the love of your life to the curb if he wrote you an amazing love letter filled with spelling errors. I have to confess; I would do the same thing.

  19. Yay! Perhaps we're siblings separated at birth?

    And, I'm totally not kidding about that, either. Bad spelling is a MAJOR turn off. I'd prefer a bald head over an improperly spelled "too"! ;-)

  20. We could have been. It's always a possibility. :)


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