8.05.2009

The Death of Handwriting

Inverted Soapbox comments on Time Magazine's article on the ongoing degradation of handwriting, giving the reporter's perspective:

I know I gave up on handwriting long ago. If I handed you one of my reporter’s notebooks and you could decipher more than four or five words per page, you are some sort of secret codemaster....

And maybe some of my best writing (that you’ll never see so you’ll never know if I’m telling the truth) is spread scattershot in convulsions of black ink and greasy margin smudges like rotten infestations on the husk of dead tree I carry around in my moleskin.

It reminds me of Lost contributor Jeff Steinbrink, who admitted to running a test of signature verification, thanks to the prevalence of credit card machines:

My signature bears witness to the breakdown of civilization as we know it. My signature used to be a thing of beauty — of distinction, anyway — a march of erect and discernable letters, some of them half-printed, ending in a bold lateral sweep. It was the sort of signature you'd expect from a man of substance — a pirate or a cowboy or an astronaut. Now it's just a jumpy squiggle, a bad EKG readout, a worm. I have, almost all of us have, lost it.

My credit card ate my signature and in its place upchucked this senseless scrawl. There was a time when I could write my name as well as the next person and when a reader of discernment could tell that it was a signature and not an IOU or a note directing a bank teller to PUT CASH IN BAG NOW.

Why do they bother with that vague, digitized signature at all? I am only waiting for the moment when I walk up to the CVS counter and find nothing but a spot waiting for my fingerprint.

1 comment:

KateGladstone said...

It had to happen sooner or later: a handwriting course provided via iPhone application.
See http://bit.ly/BetterLetters for details of handwriting's cyber-comeback.