Thursday, March 27, 2014

I am a good typist and therefore I am better than you are.

Until I walked into a classroom for the first time (as a teacher, that is) in 2003, the only class I'd ever taken that was worth a flying shit was Mrs. Gibson's typing class at Walkersville High School (pronounced Wockersveeyul Hah Skoo) in 1985.  Why, you ask?  Because despite my lofty education, the only job you can get as an English major is a teaching job--or utter crap.  Since I was convinced for several years that I didn't want to teach, my jobs tended to the utter crap.  Which meant that the only skill I needed was my ability to type.

This is becoming a rare skill indeed.  No one learns to touch type anymore.  Like cursive writing, it's "old-fashioned" and "unnecessary" because the computer fucking does everything except for how it doesn't.  See what a computer has? Oh, I don't know, could it be A KEYBOARD?  WITH LITTLE BUTTON-Y THINGS THAT YOU HAVE TO PRESS TO MAKE A LETTER HAPPEN?  IN OTHER WORDS--TYPING????

As I've mentioned, my students can't type.  They have Chromebooks, but they try to use their thumbs to type, because that's how they text. Also my students may be retarded.  (Call off the PC police, I don't really give a damn today.) I'm surprised by the number of adults who can't type, or at least hunt-and-peck somewhat functionally.

This morning, while my little darlings were ostensibly reading silently (hah!) I caught up with The Bloggess (who may or may not be a minor deity).  Apparently someone criticized her for putting two spaces after a period.

All six of you who follow this damn thing know that I am a grammar Nazi and I will, in fact, persecute and possibly torture/kill people who misuse English unless done in a way that I have personally sanctioned.  So listen up, you little bastards: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH PUTTING TWO SPACES AT THE END OF A SENTENCE (i.e., after a period).

Here's why:  the convention of a "space" was really created by typewriting in the first place.  Before the existence of typewriters, a "space" existed only in the mind of its creator.  Written material was either created by hand or a printing press.  If you are actually writing, the amount of space you leave between letters or words or sentences is entirely up to you, alt h ou  gh  i              f    yo u  wr  it      e   like this it looks really weird and people will think you're a sped.  Printing presses, too, were left to the whim of the typesetter, who hand-set the slugs.  If he left one space, or       ten between words, it was at his own discretion.

Typewriters didn't allow for such things and so demanded a uniformity that had never previously existed.  The convention of leaving two spaces after a period was born because it just plain looked better and helped to set sentences apart.  There was never a rule regarding this before typewriters.  There are those who claim that "this rule was invented for typewriting and so it's irrelevant now."  Of course it was invented for typewriting.  Why does that make it irrelevant? Guess what I'm doing right now--I'm typewriting, just not on the Underwood that still sits on my desk.  Why does the rule still apply?  BECAUSE IT STILL LOOKS BETTER, which was why it happened in the first place.

I double-space after every period.  So does The Bloggess.  She's really cool and I'm really easily pissed off, so either double-space yourself or a)incur my wrath or b)don't be a jerk and keep your single-spaced assholery to yourself.

Today's rant over.  Here, listen and watch as Wally Cat enjoys hearing one of his favorite dance numbers ("Wishing," played by Isham Jones and his Rain-Bo Orchestra).

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