It wasn’t that long ago that the art of putting pen to paper and crafting a thoughtful letter was a pursuit shared by individuals from all walks of life. Folks prided themselves on their handwriting and even showcased calligraphy or other fancy fonts that set them apart from the crowd.
A couple of generations ago, society frequently mocked doctors for having an illegible scrawl that nobody could decipher … but now most of us are in the same boat.
What’s causing the sloppiness?
As you might have guessed, most experts say the proliferation of computers — and more importantly, texting — has been a major factor in a societal shift away from the “proper” handwriting that people of a certain age remember learning in grade school.
There’s long been a debate over whether kids should learn cursive, but now many people find it difficult to even print in a reliably legible manner.
That has led to a bevy of online forums where people share either their fondness for beautiful penmanship or acknowledge their inability to read notes that they left for themselves.
But is it necessarily a bad thing?
On the surface, it might seem like we’re moving in the wrong direction as a species after spending generations perfecting the art of handwriting. Some linguists, however, think that it might be an oversimplification to look at it in such a black-and-white scope.
For Dr. Anne Trubek, who wrote “The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting,” her opinion on the matter has evolved over the years.
She sees the emergence of digital communication as the next phase of writing, explaining that each new technology — from the printing press ot the typewriter — comes with “this sort of rear-guard anxiety about what it means for the previously supplanted primary way for people to write.”