Italic Handwriting or Cursive Handwriting has gone the way of the Dodo Bird the dinosaur and the one-foot amplifier. Italic Handwriting is no longer taught in schools.
Michael Dirda of The Washington Post laments in his article “Michael Dirda on “Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting,” that the beauty and meaning of cursive writing is no longer part of our life. Dirda’s feelings come out in his review of the book “Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting” by Kitty Burns Florey.
Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face (well, if you’re over forty) is the reference to the callous we all have on our third finger of our writing hand.
I was taught writing in the first grade by a teacher who was to become the principal of my grade school. I was educated so long ago that teachers weren’t required to have degrees but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t teach. In fact, this teacher probably taught me more than some of my college professors.
The problem I had as a six-year-old was fear. Teachers in those days were more like drill sergeants. They were high on technical skills but short on bedside manner.
We had to put our pens or pencils on the desk and when our teacher shouted the command pick them up—correctly.
I was so terrified that when I picked my pencil up I grabbed it with the fourth finger instead of the third. This was promptly followed by a whack with a yardstick on my knuckles. Still, I persisted using the wrong finger and today am one of just a few people with a callous on their fourth finger instead of the third. My presumption is that the teacher is in Purgatory for student abuse.
But what is the purpose of looking at this issue? Do we care that Italic Writing is going away? I don’t.
Why even consider it?
There is something very important lacking in society today-communication.
Whether you are a policeman writing a report, a technician reading X-rays or a doctor writing orders, readable writing may be the difference between life and death. Further, cursive allows for some speed.
Not as important but important nonetheless is the passing of an art form; cursive writing done correctly is beautiful.
Unfortunately, kids today are pretty much limited to how to communicate with a computer.
It is true that when we “move ahead” in society we usually give at least a little something up.