The death of handwriting ?

Stuart Jeffries has a piece on The Guardian:


" Patrick McGoohan’s words are becoming less and less true as technology extends
its cheerless remit. "I am not a number," he declared in The Prisoner, "I am a
free man." But increasingly we are numbers – digitised and quantified, rewritten
as algorithms and asked for our personal codes to confirm who we are before call
centre workers will deign to bandy words with us. As if to prove the point, from
this morning anyone with a chip and pin card will be obliged to use their pin
number and not their signature when making a purchase. It seems odd that the
powers-that-be have used Valentine’s Day as the deadline for their unromantic
automatisation project. Who, after all, writes poetry about pin cards? Let’s
have a go. "Roses are red, violets are blue, my pin number is 3, 5, 4, 2" (It
isn’t, incidentally. I’m not that daft).

Rather than sinuous penmanship,
our identities are increasingly confirmed by numbered sequences that have been
imposed on us. And, if signatures are becoming increasingly irrelevant, what
then is the future for handwriting in a world when (according to a new Lloyds
TSB Insurance survey) one in three children has a computer in the bedroom, many
more are accustomed to writing on them at home and school and, if I had a penny
for every time I have heard or read parents and teachers bemoaning the poor
state of pupil’s handwriting, I would have enough for a £335 Mont Blanc
Meisterstück fountain pen in precious resin with a gold-plated finish?"


Image: "Fernando Pessoa Quotes"
By thisisyourbrainonlithium @ Moleskinerie/FLICKR
This photo is licensed
Some rights reserved.


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9 thoughts on “The death of handwriting ?

  1. It’s a Uni-ball Vision Fine. Bleeds through a little, but not so much that you can’t use the verso page.

  2. Apparently cursive writing is no longer taught in some American schools. My nieces and nephews think I’m a complete fogey for thinking this is wrong.

  3. I’ve been persecuted for my “chicken scratch” for as long as I can remember. My usual reply has been “Should have been a doctor”. Now I’m looking into handwriting books, particularly Vimala Rodgers “Your Handwriting Can Change Your Life”. We’ll see.

  4. Well I think that it’s all about balance. We just have to use all the commodities that technology offers us without abusing them.

    And the rhetorical question: Did you wrote that with a pen?

  5. They don’t teach cursive any more? Wow. So people are going to have to BLOCK PRINT their notes if they or their school district are/is too poor to afford laptops for every middle school and high school kid? (Nevermind all the note taking that goes on in college.) What about taking notes in meetings at work? What about… Oh, nevermind.

  6. I had an evil nun at my school who made us all take handwriting through 8th grade. Turns out that it was a good thing, though my handwriting certainly has that “Catholic school” look to it;) I didn’t think it was that old-timey (I’m only 26), but it was apparently pretty unusual?

  7. If it matters … most of our elementary school teachers lied to us about one thing, at least, in handwriting.

    Contrary to what they may have told you, no law in the USA or elsewhere requires cursive for signatures. (Don’t believe me? Ask a lawyer!)

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