Oldster's View

Fight Against Maturity

“…Columbus sailed all over the world until he found Ohio.”

Some people collect sports memorabilia, or rare coins, or sea shells from the beach at Ocean City. Wilson Watson collects sentences. He taught local community college students for 35 years and has now slipped gently into retirement. But his students’ sentences trail behind him like ship’s anchors, evidence of the sinking of American writing skills.

Or, as one of Watson’s scholars wrote so succinctly: “Some people use bad language and is not even aware of the fact.”

…Watson taught English at Catonsville Community College — now the Catonsville branch of the Community College of Baltimore County — and through the years was occasionally amused and sometimes appalled at his students’ writing. Eventually, he started jotting down their sentences and holding onto them.

“Understand,” he says, “this is not just Catonsville I’m talking about. Through the years, I’d talk with colleagues all over the state. They all had the same stories. We’d ask each other, ‘What’s happened to writing? What’s happened to language?’”

You want more examples? How about these beauties:

• “The person was an innocent by standard, who just happened to be the victim of your friend’s careless responsibility.”

• “Society has moved toward cereal killers.”

• “Romeo and Juliet exchanged their vowels.”

• “Willie Loman put Biff on a petal stool.”

There’s more at  www.baltimoreexaminer.com

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Dumb Stuff, People | | Comments Off on “…Columbus sailed all over the world until he found Ohio.”