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Crispin Sartwell’s half tongue-in-check defense of texting and Twitter as a “golden age of the written word” ignores all evidence of the opposite (“Texting and Twitter Make This a Golden Age for the Written Word,” op-ed, Sept. 23). Those of us who ban laptops in the classroom he labels “schoolmarms,” and he cites the old charge of they-hated-comic-books-too for the millionth time, and to equally empty effect.

He skips the fact that the SAT added a writing component in 2006, and scores have dropped every year save two when they were flat. A recent Hart Research Associates poll of employers found barely one quarter (27%) think that recent college grads are well-prepared in writing. The ACT’s college readiness scores in English have actually dropped six percentage points in the last five years.

All of this has happened while youths have texted away the hours. Mr. Sartwell calls it writing, but he doesn’t realize that tweeting and texting don’t make them better writers. They make them better tweeters and texters. To say, “Perk up, young people, and keep on texting,” as he concludes, isn’t whimsical or cute or provocative. It’s irresponsible.

Mark Bauerlein
Emory University

Appeared in the September 29, 2017, print edition of The Wall Street Journal


If this video doesn’t touch you… please watch again! (:

I don’t endorse any product in my blog and am not promoting this soap here. However, truth be told, like all budget conscious Indians, I grew up using the brick like carbolic acid smelling Lifebuoy. When I was a student living alone on a thinner than shoe-string budget in Delhi, I could stretch this soap to last me a month and a half. Here is the image of the original Lifebuoy (which has now been replaced by a fancier looking smaller soap).

Now living in the US, I no longer use the above soap. Heck, even most people in India rarely buy it as its considered a poor man’s soap from grandfather’s era.

This soap was featured in the classic movie A Christmas Story where Ralphie as the narrator says, “Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. Though my personal preference was for Lux, I found that Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heavy, but with a touch of mellow smoothness. Lifebuoy, on the other hand… (Yechh!)” . His mother makes him wash his mouth with this soap after he blurts out the ‘F’ word!

The above video is closer to truth in under-developed countries like India where lack of hygiene and clean water is the leading cause of Child Mortality (source: Unicef). Simple fact that shows nutrition alone is not what is deprived for third world children. Though I admit, as a kid I did not always wash my hands before food unless forced to.

I am running the Marine Corp Marathon at Washington, DC on Oct. 26 2008 for the above cause. Check out my page at Ravi’s Marathon webpage. Help support my cause by donating for this good purpose. Your money will help a child, and is also tax exempt in USA and in India.

I have registered and have just received the below confirmation.

Wish me strength, perseverance and good luck for the run and don’t forget to support my cause !

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