A secondhand fave passage, from John Simon’s Paradigms Lost (1980), quoted in Faigley’s Fragments of Rationality (1992).  First Faigley’s intro, then Simon:

[The English language, according to Simon, is on a “downhill course” caused by]

the four great body blows: (1) the student rebellion of 1968, which, in essence, meant that students themselves became the arbiters of what subjects were to be taught, and grammar by jingo (or Ringo), was not one of them; (2) the notion that in a democratic society language must accommodate itself to the whims, idiosyncrasies, dialects, and sheer ignorance of underprivileged minorities, especially if these happen to be black, Hispanic, and, later on, female or homosexual; (3) the introduction by more and more incompetent English teachers, products of the new system (see items 1 and 2 above) of even fancier techniques of not teaching English … [Faigley’s ellipsis]; and (4) television.

Oh my.  Where to begin?

  • Dadgum ig’nint students, thinkin’ they got a say in what they learn!
  • Noone disses Ringo on my watch.
  • Oooh!  Minorities!  Can’t they just leave well enough alone?!?!?
  • Incompetent teachers!  Teaching minorities what they want to learn!  What is this, Europe?!?!
  • Television!  Arrgh!   It’s so evil!

I can’t decide whether to be pissed off or just to laugh at this.


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