It's been a long time since I've ranted about the state of edgykayshun in Amairikuh, and today I wish I could, but the trouble is, today's rant concerns a commonwealth comedy that Ms. K.F. was kind enough to send along. And it will occasion a little anecdote from one of my most hated activities: Grocery Shopping (for the millennials, that means when you go to one of those stores that has lots of food in it, and shop for and buy food). So why are my knickers in a twist?
Because in Great Britain, it seems, young people cannot tell time by reading an analogue clock! But wait, there's more!
And just in case you didn't click on the link, here's the basics:
Schools are removing analogue clocks from examination halls because teenagers are unable to tell the time, a head teachers’ union has said.
Teachers are now installing digital devices after pupils sitting their GCSE and A-level exams complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analogue clock.
Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said youngsters have become accustomed to using digital devices.
“The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations,” he told The Telegraph.
“They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer. Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”
Mr Trobe, a former headmaster, said that teachers want their students to feel as relaxed as possible during exams. Having a traditional clock in the room could be a cause of unnecessary stress, he added.
He said that schools are trying to make everything as “as easy and straightforward as possible” for pupils during their exams.
Well, the poor butt-hurt stressed-out dears! Note, the solution is not to teach younger people how to access that bizarre, strange, intimidating and occult world of the analogue clock, but simply to remove the offending artifacts altogether, which strikes me as a very un-British solution to things(speaking objectively here, as a colonial observer from across the pond).
And it brings up a social and cultural problem which, I suspect, could - if we're not careful - end up causing everyone harm if the world is eventually going to be run by people who don't know how to read analogue clocks. If this trend keeps up, one can imagine a couple of future Britons, standing in Trafalgar Square and looking up at Nelson's statue and opining that they "don't know who it is" or "why it's there", but "it sure is impressive" (that is, only if Lord Nelson's statue has not been torn down because it's an example of white male privilege and intolerance of Bonapartist self-expression and oppression of French culture and aspirations; he was, after all, simply protesting BREXIT. They'll have to rename Trafalgar Square too, something more "affirming" and "uplifting", like Franco-British Amity Square, or Unity Square, or something. Perhaps even build a memorial to Admiral Villeneuve in order to maintain balance and perspective).
Which brings me to my anecdote. About a month and a half ago, I went out grocery shopping late at night (I usually do this to avoid the inevitable lines, where I always find myself behind someone with a bag full of coupons, and who wants to cash a fourth-party check in order to put it on their debit card to buy the groceries... sigh... ). Just as all of my items had been scanned, and I handed the clerk the cash for the goods, a momentary power outage or surge (or something) happened, and everything including the computerized cash register, flickered on and off and back on again. Of course, this wiped out my transaction, and the manager had to be called to bring the transaction back up again. In the meantime, I explained to the clerk that I was in a bit of a hurry, and could I please have the change (the cash drawer was still open). My purchase was some forty-odd dollars, and I had handed the clerk two twenty dollar bills and one ten dollar bill.
The look of utter mystification - shock, horror, perplexion, confusion, embarrassment - that passed over his face approached panic. He explained that he'd have to wait for the manager to come and pull up my transaction, because that would tell him how much change to give me. I said, well, my purchase was for (let's say) $46.92, right? The clerk nodded. So, I said, you can just count the change back to me.
Blank expression on clerk's face.
By this time the manager had arrived, keys were inserted, and my transaction recalled, along with the ever-so-comforting Change Due screen, which told the clerk to give me $3.08 in change. This was quickly grabbed out of the drawer, and plopped into my hand in one mass of coins and bills with the statement "Your change is three-o-eight."
Being a curmudgeon, I took the opportunity to show the clerk how to count change back, and said "See, you can do this any time the computer goes down, and it works flawlessly, no mistakes." The clerk was genuinely happy I showed him. The manager was apologetic, and she told me they just don't have the time to show clerks how to do it. One wonders how we ever survived without the computer.
And that's my problem with modern edgykayshun: its assumption that technology will always be around; its assumption that everything is on computers. Its assumption that testing should consist of multiple guess standardized questions graded by computers, where students are not taught to write out answers, and whose penmanship - if one can call it that - increasingly is an illegible scrawl. We have an entire generation that cannot read clocks, make change, write clearly, or for that matter (and much more seriously) knows how to use a card catalogue in that most analogue of archives, the library.
This isn't what built the empire, or the commonwealth. What it is is nothing more than a sign of impending cultural collapse, unless it's turned around, and soon. But don't look for the educrats to do so. They, in their stupidity, think all this technology is just wonderful. And they're producing invincibly ignorant and helpless people and removing those offending analogue technologies lest the poor dears be "stressed".
See you on the flip side...