How to get educated

Written By: Miranda - Sep• 02•09

As I was driving home listening to a news show on VPR I heard a very serious young woman who had been investigating conditions for Iraqi police recruits describe conditions in the recruit barracks as : “debaucherous”.
This is the sort of thing that drives me simply insane.

(That and the numerous gaffes in the Valley News, today for instance a headline proclaims Gov. Douglas is off to Japan to “Hock” Vermont products. — He’s going to pawn them??!! )

Debaucherous is not a word, never has been a word and never will be one as far as I’m concerned. She meant either debauched or lecherous I imagine, or maybe both at the same time. I believe this is what’s called a malapropism and it can be charming. I had a gentleman friend who used to do this sort of thing all the time, he used to say “functionable” instead of “functional” for instance. As the romance waned so did my patience with this particular failing.

What it means to me is that people are losing the use of language. Spell-check can make you look purely ignorant as in the hock-hawk example from the Valley News, but limited vocabulary means (to me) that the person has no interest in educating themselves because they obviously don’t read. They haven’t been exposed to anything more than People magazine and The Simpsons.

I suppose that’s a pretty hard attitude and I also suppose I’m just an old crank but it seems to me that the population of the US is becoming less and less educated by the year as the sea of information around them gets deeper and deeper.

“If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.”

Frank Zappa

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