Against my better judgement, I ventured outside my house the other day. I know, it shocked me too. I decided that I better get some of that "sunlight" I'd heard about and went to a little town called the Gold Coast, which for my international readers, is a town you can Google if you haven't heard of. Anyway, while eating lunch, I picked up the local newspaper, the Gold Coast Bulletin, and boy was it an educational experience. After flicking through the typical Murdoch press trash that qualifies for news, I made it to the opinions page. Behold, dear reader, what qualifies for intelligent debate on the Gold Coast:
Ah, nothing like bagging the politicians, eh? It's an old chestnut, but what worries me most about this is the blatant typo in the middle of it (nat₵ion). Did nobody proofread this before the paper went to press? (Incidentally, inserting the cent symbol is pretty difficult to do - there's no key on the standard keyboard or a typical phone keypad that will allow you to do it, so I'm at a loss to understand how this could "accidentally" happen)
Overall, though, apart from the typo, not the worst letter to the editor I've read. Then I saw this charmer:
Again, we have the fact that clearly nobody proofread it (in case you weren't paying attention in grade 2, "cant" is not how you abbreviate "can not"). At first I thought this was a clever subversion, saying that kids can't spell when the writer of the letter clearly can't spell either, but then he or she blames the problems on...
- "Goo-brained lefties"
- Lack of a "dad in the home"
I don't claim to be a feminist myself, but last time I checked, feminists and women in general were not advocating for a reduction in literacy and numeracy skills. Blaming "lefties" (Labor/Greens) is also amusing, considering Australia's federal government and most of Australia's state governments are, in fact, right-wing (Liberal) at the moment. Come to think of it, wasn't there a left-wing government that was recently voted out who promised to implement a little something called Gonski? And I love the notion that a lack of a father figure in the home means children will inherently have problems, which seems to suggest that women are incapable of raising children on their own.
Anyway. On to letter number three. Surely there's some intelligent discussion in this paper?
God, more spelling errors? How hard would it have been to capitalise Simon and Jody's names, use the correct "you're" on line five, use the correct "it's" on line six and spell "won't" correctly on line eight? I know it seems like I'm harping on spelling and grammar a lot here, but this isn't some blog nobody reads, this is the daily newspaper for one of the biggest cities in Australia. It should have correct spelling! The Australian, for all its faults, rarely has spelling or grammar errors in its opinions sections. Good God, did I just use The Australian as a good example? But getting back to the letter, this one at least seems to be making a fair point, that raising children is an experience more pleasurable than any material goods. Maybe I was wrong about the Gold Coast Bulletin?
Then again, perhaps not.
Well, at least this one doesn't have any spelling or grammar errors, but oh boy does it worry me that opinions like this are still being considered valid. Our charming writer here wants Australian schools to bring back the cane. Never mind the United Nations has explicitly said "Violence against children, including corporal punishment, is a violation of the rights of the child" (source), this guy clearly knows better than the UN. Just because it worked "in your day", that doesn't mean it's going to work today. Following this logic, we should stop immunising children against diseases, because, hey, we managed to get by without immunisations back in the old days, right? And you know what, I'm going to make a bold claim here and say that kids today are no worse or better than kids fifty years ago. How can I make this claim? Well there's a quote I heard a while back and it's an interesting one...
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
Who originally said this is debatable (some say Socrates, others say Aristophanes), but you know when it was said? Approximately 400 BC. The notion that fifty years ago, every child in school was sitting eagerly awaiting an education is pure fantasy, and the sooner we stop allowing opinions like the one above to be broadcast the better.
So, in conclusion, dear reader, I don't think I'll be subscribing to the Gold Coast Bulletin. Newspapers may not be dead yet, but if they keep printing sexist, ageist, poorly researched opinions that have multiple spelling and grammar issues, I doubt they'll be around much longer.
© 2013 by The Free Man