Advocating Devilishly

I am a fan of Devil’s Advocates, particularly in this age where our media and alike online commentators, sages, prognosticators and such seem to care little for accuracy or correctness.

I read this tweet this morning. The author was commenting on various statements recently around the topic of Bible In Schools (and this is, of course an increasingly contentious subject in our apparently non-secular society- but that is a topic for another post, perhaps.) “I worry more about children brought up by dogmatic religious parents, than 1 hr a week bible-in-school…” Now I am NOT criticising this twitterer’s view but how she phrased it was the prompt for this post. She says she worries– OK, no argument there, don’t we all? But she then says more about children brought up– and there’s the issue, because she finishes by mentioning the dogmatic religious parents who brought the child up. I may be wrong but what I think she means is that she’s worried about the bringing up of the child and how it might be shaped by the dogma and zealousness rather than being worried about the child itself. If I’m wrong, I apologise the the tweeter but if I’m right, why didn’t she say she was concerned about the upbringing (and the zealot-parents) and how the child might turn out, and not the child? Pretty simple bit of editing, especially for a Masters student, I would have thought.

The errors we see in our media daily are such that it makes me wonder what the qualifications are for securing a job as a reporter, commentator or, indeed, editor!! Here I’m assuming type is actually proof-read by the author then edited by a second/third party before it’s published? Or, horror of horrors do we simply rely on the word-processor’s  spell and grammar-check tool? Of course this requires the author to be self-critical and have at least a passing acquaintance with ‘truth, justice and the proper way’.

I frequently see such ‘little’ errors and quite frankly they annoy me. Why? Probably because I was brought up in an age when such things as accuracy and ‘correctness’ were regarded as important. From school and into later life we were brought up with an ethic that expected us to get our facts right and to express them accurately. Simple things such as spelling and grammar were considered important and it wasn’t enough to have the expectation that “they’ll know what I mean”!

Of course it was an age when there was (rightly or wrongly) much less questioning of authority or freedom to comment (or inclination to do so) but even though we have more of the first and much more of the second, I don’t know that this should be associated with a lessening of standards of the written word.

Technology is wonderful and evolving at such a rate that some would argue that it’s technology’s fault- “my predictive text made me do it!!” -what crap! If I read material that illustrates a lack of care in presentation then I am likely to take what it says with a much larger pinch of salt than I would of a piece that is well written and correct. I may well change my own views or at least be influenced by the author’s argument if it achieves my presentation standards even though it may present an opposing view than I am going to be by a piece that is hurriedly thrown together and presented without concern for its accuracy or ‘correctness’.

It may seem petty of me to comment when I see spelling or grammatical errors but I take the view that too often the ‘thin end of the wedge’ has prevailed and we get overtaken by a “she’ll be right” philosophy that simply degrades general standards. If that’s petty then so be it, but don’t expect me to accept it or to stop commenting. I did so to the quoted item and was astonished to receive a reply that my point was lost on her! Wow!

I also commented, in a jocular sort of way to another ‘twit’ who had made a careless spelling error (hence my jocular tone) and I received a reply from him that said “yes, I noticed that too and have changed it”. You just have to wonder why he didn’t notice it when he read his original tweet before posting it, surely?

Oh, well, I guess the thin end of the wedge is well and truly buried now and I’m probably involved in an exercise in futility, but…


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