According to the Guardian, today, students are engaging in a mega-whinge because having to, you know, like, write makes their hands sore. (Mind you, the first thing the young freelance hack writing the article does is use “data” as a singular form (as in “data is”), which makes me wonder what the subs were doing.
However, resisting the temptation to take a swipe at whiny students, just consider how much poorer we’d be if people like Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Shakespeare, Dean Swift, Pepys, to name half a dozen at random, had thrown down their pens, and cried, “Aaargh! My hand hurts! Bugger this for a lark, I’m off down the pub!” and never picked up a pen again?
Luckily they were made of sterner stuff than 21st century pussies!
Personally, as one of those people who has gone through life with horrible handwriting (at school, I was always treated as if I was doing it deliberately, for some weird reason), I welcomed the arrival of the PC and its word processor as a more versatile replacement for my typewriter (once I left school and started earning, one of my first purchases was a Remington portable, followed, over the years, by a succession of office models blagged from employers), and these days I write almost nothing by hand, not even a shopping list, because ME has actually destroyed my muscle memory, and my hands can’t form the letters, not without major effort on my part. Though, at least, I do have the ability to do so, after a fashion, if all else fails.
Mind you, if that did happen I’d buy another typewriter.
For the young, however, now as always, actually learning how to write, by hand, and for possibly extended periods, is no bad thing. It is, in fact, a valuable skill that should be encouraged lest it be lost, and very few people should be 100% dependent on technology for written communication because, one fine day, it might well to go tits up if, for example, silicon-eating nanobots escape into the wild, or the petrochemical industry goes down the pan – then where would we be if people hadn’t learned to write? Or just sat around sucking their fingers and whingeing?