What’s Literacy Worth?

Something I’d been thinking, but this guy put it well.

Northernlurker on A♠

When Sanders talks about the literacy rates in communist countries he needs to be asked if he supports freedom of speech and thought.
Will people be allowed to write books critical of him and communism?

Will The Bible be available for anyone who wants to read it in his communist utopia?

Will the works of Milton Friedman be available?

Literacy is meaningless in a totalitarian society.

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Idiocracy Era, Another Example

The young woman kept saying, “I don’t know why you corrected that because I spell it with the P in it.” The boss said (calmly), “But that’s not how the word is spelled. There is no P in hamster.”

h/t Ace♠

Here is a hopefully short synopsis of something that happened this week that I still don’t understand

In office space near a client, a young woman was meeting with her boss. She was (by my estimation) in her late 20s.

The boss (also a woman) was giving her feedback and reviewing edits she had made on something this young woman wrote.

They had been speaking in low tones, but their volume got louder toward the end of the conversation because the young woman was getting agitated about a particular edit.

That particular edit was correcting the spelling of “hampster” to “hamster”. Apparently she had used the phrase “like spinning in a hamster wheel” in this draft (presumably) speech or or op-ed.

The young woman kept saying, “I don’t know why you corrected that because I spell it with the P in it.” The boss said (calmly), “But that’s not how the word is spelled. There is no P in hamster.”

Young woman: “But you don’t know that! I learned to spell it with a P in it so that’s how I spell it.”

The boss (remaining very calm and professional), let’s go to http://dictionary.com and look it up together.

(mind you, this is a woman in her late 20s, not a 5th grader)

The young woman insists she doesn’t need to look it up because it’s FINE to spell it with a P because that’s HOW SHE WANTED TO SPELL IT.

The boss says, “Let’s look over the rest of the piece so I can explain the rest of my edits.”

They do, and I can see the young woman is fighting back tears.

The boss is calm, cool, and handles this with professionalism and empathy.

Boss says, “I know edits can be difficult to go over sometimes, especially when you’re working on new kinds of things as you grow in your career, but it’s a necessary process and makes us all better at what we do.”

Boss gets up from table and goes to her office and the young woman can barely hold it together.

She moves to another table in the common workspace area, drops all her stuff loudly on the table top, and starts texting.

A minute later, her phone rings.

It was her mom. She had texted her mom to call her because it was urgent, and I’m sure her mother maybe thought she was in the ER or something.

She then … PUTS HER MOM ON SPEAKERPHONE. IN THE WORKPLACE.

She bursts into tears and wants her mom to call her boss and tell her not to be mean about telling her how to spell words like “hamster”.

The mother tells her that her boss is an idiot and she doesn’t have to listen to her and she should go to the boss’ boss to file a complaint about not allowing creativity in her writing.

The young woman kept saying, “I thought what I wrote was perfect and she just made all these changes and then had the nerve to tell me I was spelling words wrong when I know they are right because that is how I have always spelled them.”

She then went on (still on speakerphone) to tell her mom I’m very great and office-inappropriate detail about how hungover she was and what she and her friends did with some guys the night before. Mom laughed and laughed.

The colleagues in and around the workplace kept looking at one another and some even put earbuds/headphones in/on. It appeared as though this was a regular thing with her.

She ended the conversation asking her mom how she should bring this up with the boss’ boss. “I mean, I always spell hamster with a P, she has no right to criticize me.”

She walked to the office kitchen for the rest of the call so I don’t know what happened next.

I don’t know what to think about this whole thing. If the young woman is neuroatypical, it seems as though the editing process might be something to approach in a different way.

But I don’t know what her situation is/was. Based on the way her mom spoke to her and they way they spoke to one another, it seemed as though his young woman had never been told she was anything but perfect by family.

And that kind of child rearing is quite difficult on people when they grow up, and frustrating for professors, teachers, bosses, and colleagues of people who were raised that way.

I don’t have any great summary or call to action on this, other than to say it was odd to witness and made me feel sad (I don’t know if that’s the right word) for this person as she loves through life.

Getting edits and corrections on things at any stage in your career can make you feel insecure and dumb, no matter how long you’ve been writing.

Her boss seemed as dumbfounded through the conversation as I was in overhearing it.

I think I was most perplexed by the insistence of wanting to spell something the way she wanted to because SHE WANTED TO, ignoring the fact that there are rules and dictionaries.

And seeming offended that anyone would suggest the use of an outside resource as reference.

This happened earlier in the week and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Again, if there is some sort of learning challenge or if this is someone who requires a different kind of coaching, that’s one thing. And I hope she gets it.

But it seemed more like someone who has never been told no, or that she is anything other than 100% perfect and amazing and can do no wrong. And that is going to be exhausting for anyone in her orbit.

I asked a colleague about it, and he relayed a story about the time he gave an early 20something feedback on a writing assignment.

The young man quit the next day and had his parents call to tell him what a terrible boss he was for “correcting work that didn’t need corrected.”

I worry about how kids are being raised sometimes. I really do.

Anyway, that’s all on that thing that happened. I hope she gets the help she needs because life in Washington, DC is going to be very hard for her if she wants to argue about hamster being spelled with a P.

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