. . . you should be declared legally retarded.  Just saying.

OK kiddos, here’s a history lesson!  Back before the common use of the world wide web, there existed a system of dial-in systems called Bulletin Board Systems (or BBS).  If you knew the address of one, you could tell your terminal program to access your blazing 19200 modem, a handshake would ensue, and you’d be connected.  If you didn’t know terminal commands, you we left staring at a blank white screen wondering what the big deal was while the remote host awaited your command.  If you DID know what to do, you would type in some code and be greeted with a log-in screen.  In the world before Google (or any search engine actually), this was the only way to look things up.  HTML hadn’t been invented yet, so everything was ASCII.


The Maximus BBS.  A high-end system for its time.

The Maximus BBS. A high-end system for its time.



At around this time, people started speaking in cipher to each other online.  Part of it was to avoid content filters.  Part of it was to ensure other’s couldn’t understand what you were saying (unless they were in on it).  And part of it was because everything you were writing was so laced with code anyway, it just sort of merged.  It became known as “Leet“, and was solely reserved for people who actually know what the crap they were doing.

Fast forward about 8 years, and the AOL Chat Room explosion happens.  I was there, with version 1.2.  It came in the mail with a whole 19 free hours to use.  There was nothing online worth looking up (if I needed information, I would honestly log off and dial back into my usenet group’s BBS).  All it had was WebCrawler, which sucked, and the chat rooms.  Back then, people actually typed full sentences (to the best of their individual abilities) and at least pretended to use grammar and punctuation.  LOL hadn’t been thought of yet, we were all still stuck with A/S/L.  Fast forward another few years, and we got Instant Messaging.

By this time the internet was a common thing.  People were just starting to look at broadband with appreciation (unless you were a parent, then all you could say was “Why would I ever want to go that fast?”), and people were IM’ing each other like crazy.  This is where I feel my generation left things and decided to grow up.  And yes, I fully understand I’m about to make myself sound like the crazy old guy on the block.

The next generation came on board with the IM network in place for them.  If it had been left at that, we might have been ok.  Text messaging came along, however, and doomed an entire generation to sounding like complete morons.  Since people were charged by how many messages they sent, they had to make sure they were saying as much as possible within a 160 character limit.  Creative new spellings came into play and people started coming across as dumber and dumber, and dumber.  At least I only thought they were coming across that way.

Fast forward again to last November.  I have to take an entrance exam to get into school.  It’s been so long since I graduated, that I had to prove I still knew English and Math at a college level.  My math skills weren’t so hot, but my language skills were through the roof.  I was a little confused by this (even I’m not so arrogant to think I have perfect English skills) and took it up to the counselor.  She explained I was right where she expected me to be; my math skills would have gotten rusty in the time since I was last in school because you don’t use advanced trigonometry in the real world (except for you, Jeff).  English, on the other hand, had been reworked so the grading curve was lower.  Since all the kids who were just graduating high school all wrote papers like they were texting their friends, none of them would have passed the tests I took ten years ago (not making this up)!

They weren’t appearing dumber . . . they were actually getting dumber!!

So what?  I can appreciate being smarter (or at least better educated) than any of the punks comming off the High School assembly lines now days, right?  Well yes.  But I’m finding it hard to put up with the fact that the products I enjoy are actually marketed at THEM.


I'm sorry.  WHAT?!

I'm sorry. WHAT?!



When did it get so hard to fit the word “Mountain” onto a can?  Why not just shorten the whole thing to MTNDU?  ‘Cause I’ll bet the kids who can’t spell “mountain” sure as hell don’t know what “dew” is!


About The Author

Co-founder of and Executive Producer for Stolendroids Podcast. Also resident ‘tech-head’ and de-facto leader of the group.

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  • zohner

    The lack of language skills that our “youth of today” posses is amazing to me. I’ve come to the conclusion that there has to be some sort of link between the poor writing ability and the inability to recognize the fact that if it is 12 degrees outside, you won’t look like a fool if you wear a coat. Or even pants for that matter. I know that every generation thinks that those that come after them are full of morons, but in this case, I think that it’s a verified fact. I feel so old when – GET OFF MY LAWN! What was I saying? Oh yeah. I like fishing.