News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mark Bennett Opinion

July 10, 2011

MARK BENNETT: Declaration of cursive’s death reminiscent of ’70s metric-conversion mania

When the state of Indiana announced it would no longer require schools to teach cursive handwriting, I was LOL.

Not just because it’s a short-sighted idea. Instead, I had to chuckle, wondering, “What’s next?”

(Wait, you don’t understand what “LOL” means? Seriously? C’mon, learn to text. Get with it, and get out of the 20th century. That’s how we roll now, homies.)

When the government declared cursive relevantly dead, I immediately thought of a “Saturday Night Live” bit by Dan Aykroyd. It was 1976. Americans were being told to prepare for our nation’s full-scale conversion to the metric system within the next 10 years. The old English measurements of gallons and feet would become obsolete — dead. So Aykroyd’s character, Joseph Franklin of the U.S. Council of Standards and Measures, took the situation a step further.

In an SNL public service message, he informed viewers that the United States would also adopt a new metric alphabet, the “Decibet,” which would condense the ancient 26 letters into just 10. A, B, C and D would remain as-is, because they’re so popular. Others would be combined into one character — E and F; G, H and I; L, M, N and O; and, as Aykroyd put it, “the so-called ‘trash letters’” P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z. The word “eagle” would be pronounced “efaglef,” while mucus transforms into “LMNOucus.”

Ten fingers. Ten letters. “Now, isn’t that simple?” Aykroyd asked.

Thirty-four years after that satire aired, we still buy gas and milk in gallons, and carpet in square yards.

In ’76, Aykroyd joked about a boiled-down letter called LMNO (pronounced “elemeno”). Today, acronyms like “LOL” and “LMAO” (not to be confused with LMNO) are all over Facebook. In odd ways, Indiana and the rest of the country may be fulfilling Aykroyd’s bizarre prophecy.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Mark Bennett Opinion
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Fish Oil Plant Blast Kills One Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Today in History for July 29th The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Two Huge Fires Burning in Northern California Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov.
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now!
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity