12 March 2009

. . . and the decline of western civilization3

Today, the third in an ongoing series of the critical decline of our own culture from within. In the quest to highlight some of the most devastating blows to our way of life, there is this special category. [N.B., if anyone has suggestions, do share]

"Glitter Gel Pens and the Decline of Western Civilization"

Technically, this particular entry needs to be expanded to include a variety of pens, as it would be quite difficult (say, impossible) to categorize the plethora of writing devices which fall into this category. So not only will I be discussing glitter pens and gel pens but any kind of overly froo-froo writing utensils which are plaguing our way of life. My experience and qualification for this is more nuanced than some - I teach (and therefore grade) undergraduate, many of whom use these specific types of instruments for written communication. So not only am I observant to the world around me, I am also particularly peeved by having to read through this stuff.

I understand the 'coolness-factor' which accompanies these pens (at least in the mind of the user). And I think Chris Tilling uses them for most of his official correspondence at St Melitus, HOWEVER!!! . . . the emergence of glitter gel pens is clearly beyond the point of excess when it is used for official documents (checks, contracts, registrations) instead of the more personal note-passing for which it was designed. The more we embrace this way of writing, the more we lose our ability to seriously communicate - which the grammatical state of email, IM and texting shows is among the greatest concerns for ourselves and our posterity.

Recognizing that I have a considerable amount of control in my academic bubble (I could just reject those items completed with said devices), there needs to be more people willing to publicly declare and decry the absurdity of these little pens when they encounter them. I know that we cannot fail the bank tellers, the legal assistants, the greasy mechanics, or the bartenders who want us to sign our names with these humiliating devices. But we can mention how stupid glitter gel pens are, and perhaps accidentally drop them into a nearby toilet. Regardless of your particular situation, I ask that you stand up and stand together for the sake of who we are.

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