As we prepare to celebrate the 236th anniversary of our forefathers taking a bold stance against tyranny to separate the 13 colonies from Great Britain, I can’t help but think about how we’ve deteriorated in the literary sense from those early colonial days. Back then, reading and writing was for the privileged few, but they did it with conviction and excellence. Kids in those days wrote better than professionals today.
It seems we have forgotten that reading and writing, while now made available to everyone in society, is still a privilege, and one to be taken seriously. I borrowed the following writing from a friend’s Facebook post referring to the movie Brave.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the lesson that movie offered. The mother tells her daughter stories, but their not just stories, their lessons about life, as she prepares her for her future as a princess.”
This friend was the valedictorian of my high school class, on the math team with me, got his Masters Degree from Georgia Tech in three and a half years with a 4.0 GPA, has an obnoxiously high IQ, and was named three years ago as Scientist of the Year. And yet, he still either doesn’t know the difference in “their” and “they’re” or doesn’t think it’s that important.
Now you might be saying to yourself that it’s simply a Facebook post, but what if that’s all future civilizations discover? What if all the writings of every forefather and literary giant are destroyed and all that remains from our society is Snookie’s Facebook posts, or Paris Hilton’s Tweets?
Or—what if all they find is your writings? What if your letters, Facebook posts, tweets, blogs, books, etc., are all that is found in the distance future to represent our world? Would you be comfortable with that? What will they deduce from your writing?
Just look at the letter John Adams wrote to his wife regarding Independence Day:
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
And this was just a letter to his wife, not an official document. So, as you get out there and celebrate with parades, 4th of July sales, cookouts, reunions, grilled treats, cold beer, and fireworks, have a great time. But when you write about it the next day, remember, people are going to read it.
Now, as to the way Adams said we should celebrate this day, he was right on. I’m not sure if we celebrate Christmas, Easter, or Bastille Day in the most appropriate manner, but by golly, as Americans, we nailed this one.
Happy 4th everyone.
Neal Wooten, Publisher/Indie Author/Illustrator/Cartoonist