Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Writing - accuracy or anally retentive?

I'm a bit of an old 'fart' in that I was brought up in a world where being accurate was an important part of expressing yourself. When I say 'expressing yourself' I am talking in speech as well as in writing. My concern is that standards become so slack that people will no longer understand what each other means when they speak or write! The examples below are there to illustrate the need for being accurate. When we write our stories the accuracy of what we produce is essential in successfully engaging readers. If we didn't bother then inaccuracies would detract from our work and readership would vote with their feet.

Monkey Planet

I have just seen an advertisement for the new programme ‘Monkey Planet’.
The trailer showed a mixture of different types of monkey and then an orang-utan which is an ape not a monkey.
It concerns me that there is such a lack of depth of general knowledge in the modern world without adding
even further confusion by blatantly misnaming  what is likely to be a popular TV programme.
It may be during the broadcast the differences between monkeys and apes will be explained but by that time the
damage has been done. As a previous educator and involved in music it is a fact that it is difficult to ‘unlearn’
mistakes. Better not to make them in the first place!
I would suggest the name ‘Primate Planet’ which, as well as being more accurate, adds punchy alliteration. 

General Knowledge

I recently watched a TV quiz programme in which a young woman was asked to name a country with the Pacific Ocean on its coastline. She said 'Egypt'!

This is not a one off occurrence! Geographical knowledge seems to in decline. Many contestants have demonstrated that they don't know the difference between a county and a country and even cities and countries. What is worse for me is the fact that they don't seem to feel that it is important but if you are unsure of your physical orientation in the world how do you understand the relationships between countries?

Its only a couple of examples of dumbing down but the concern is its tacit acceptance. Of course many of the problems that have been generated are due to changes in educational thinking. However, it is my feeling that as humans we inhabit this planet Earth and as such we should endeavour to understand the planet as best we can but what we seem to be doing more of is trying to understand ourselves. That is okay if we all are going to end up living in solitude in a single room never to exit. There could be a book in there somewhere,
it may be worth further exploration.
God Bless