"I was very lucky that she triped over my uncontios body beried under piles of ash..."
October 11, 2002 3:39 PM   Subscribe

"I was very lucky that she triped over my uncontios body beried under piles of ash..." A saga of epic proportions: some moron living inside his "Morrowind" RPG computer game writes his gameplay out as a novel. Welcome to a capsule indictment of American education and the consequences of the new "American Way." Thank heavens we don't live in Morrowind, where most people can't "right nor reed."
posted by Perigee (20 comments total)
That's a bit of a strong indictment on American education, Perigee. It's not outside the realm of possibility that this person is trying to write in a medieval or uneducated vernacular on purpose; y'know, like in Riddley Walker. If you think this story was hard to read, check this out. This is a Word document you linked to - don't you think the author might have noticed the little red squigglies under every other word?
posted by GriffX at 3:48 PM on October 11, 2002

Welcome to a capsule indictment of American education and the consequences of the new "American Way."

I didn't realize that they were teaching RPG courses in schools these days. It goes a little far to call this an indictment of American education. It is a single document written by someone who is basically illiterate. It doesn't condemn a whole system. You might have been better off linking to the gamer forums at Gamespot. Then we could poke fun at all the pre-teen gamers trying to front.

It's funny to laugh at the morons, isn't it? That's all this post is.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:49 PM on October 11, 2002

Badly written crap found in obscure corner of internet -- stop the presses!

Plus, if you click on the link, you may wind up having to close your browser window.

posted by languagehat at 3:50 PM on October 11, 2002

Other uneducated buffoons whose horrible grammar and spelling make their fiction difficult to read: William Faulkner, Umberto Eco.
posted by Hildago at 4:12 PM on October 11, 2002

it not nise to mak fun of ill literits. yer mean perigee.
posted by jonmc at 4:53 PM on October 11, 2002

it would have been ok if he made his "s"es look like "f"s.
posted by crunchland at 4:56 PM on October 11, 2002

I'm not particularly sure why this is an indictment of the American educational system. We have no information about the author - age, location, or anything.

I have some fifth graders who are really into fantasy writing whose writing from last year looks a bit like that - made me decide I need to spend more time this year on spelling, punctuation, and grammar than I ordinarily would.

The style of writing in terms of content seems a bit older than that though - so maybe it's an older kid who hasn't learned what he should have learned by that point. But before condemning the kid or the teachers, I'd need to know whether or not this was a dyslexic kid. This looks a bit like writing I've seen from older LD kids before they hit the spell-check button.

Or maybe it's an adult. But without that kind of contextual information, there's no way to connect this to anything else, and the indictment of the author or the educational system just rings hollow.

I'm guessing this thread is going to be deleted. But I wanted to get this off my chest - I'm frustrated by people who are quick to indict students or teachers without first bothering to figure out what's going on.
posted by Chanther at 6:22 PM on October 11, 2002

I've been reading Riddley Walker - you definitely need to get into the groove with the writing style before you can really enjoy it.
posted by Stuart_R at 7:14 PM on October 11, 2002

yu peeple all sher got low self of steams.
posted by quonsar at 7:23 PM on October 11, 2002

Heh. You should read the papers of "educated" men of the 19th century.

The point is, English spelling is a recent aberration; standardization didn't really start coming into play until the middle of the 18th century; and even into the middle of the 19th century, spelling was more of a personal preference.

Thomas Jefferson once quipped that a man could not be considered educated if he only knew one spelling of a given word.
posted by Cerebus at 7:33 PM on October 11, 2002

Get stuffed, Perigee. You wrote this way at some age - why do you assume this person is not at or below that age? It is utterly useless and unflexible behavior to take isolated examples of inferior literary skill and extrapolate them to judge the quality of the national system of education and national identity, of all things (wtf does the "new American way" mean, in any case?)

To address your insults toward the game itself, Morrowind is one of the most intellectual and beautiful games I've ever seen. I urge you to come up with a 3d rendering engine of Morrowind's quality (it is still unmatched by any other 3d engine in some effects), graphic and model art of Morrowind's quality, and the storyline and user interaction potential of Morrowind's quality, and then come back to us and bask in your intellectual prowess while justly labeling us all as illiterate morons.

This is not to say that locking one's self to the point of exclusiveness in an imaginary world of Morrowind's quality is not a foolish idea. It's just that you are in no position to infer or pass judgement on that fact.
posted by azazello at 8:31 PM on October 11, 2002

inflexible. I guess Thomas Jefferson is my new best friend. As well as the button on the right.
posted by azazello at 8:33 PM on October 11, 2002

Sorry about the late return; I've been laid up with a sinus infection.

Actually there are three documents - the other two being here and here for those who care to read further.

Lesse - where does one start? The new American Way - high tech ignorance. Here we have an example of someone who has access to either a fast (Pentium3+) computer or an X-box system and is Not 8 years old. Witness the use of the fairly sophisticated - if poorly spelled - words "Intrigued," "Obsessed," "Provocation," "Interfered," etc. We're not talking Teletubbyland here, folks. You know those words, then you pretty much better be able to spell "bearly," "caut," "dint," "dreased," etc.

Didn't. Caught. Dressed. Barely. From the fourth grade vocabulary list, at latest.

As to the historical aspects of proper spelling and grammar... It isn't the 18th Century anymore. It's not the 19th century, either. It isn't even the 20th Century, which puts us comfortably in the 200 years ago plus category, as far as these notions are concerned. The next time I time-travel back to the 18th century, I'll consider a man educated if he knows how to spell a single word. I'll also believe in abiogenesis, and that drilling holes in people's heads lets the bad spirits out.

Any attempt at apologizing for the content based on the bizarre notion that it was an intelligent attempt to capture a medieval tone doesn't take into account that it isn't written in that style at all - yank a copy of "Canterbury Tales" off the shelf, and comparison and contrast. Heck, even 'thee's and 'thou's aren't here - and any Renfair aberrant would have chucked a couple of those in if it was any attempt at period style. This was the level best this girl could do in 20th Century U.S.

Next - azazello; cheerfully bite me. I am playing the game now, and enjoying it immensely - I found this, in fact, on a web-search trying to find a use for a dead-end piece I found in the section in question. (The key to the lower depths - ends up I picked the lock and didn't need it.) Of course, I don't play it in costume, which may explain your need to go all hostile. Roll your dice - 2d8 for invective, with a saving roll against ignorant assumptions.

My indictment is this:

1) With all of the technology at our disposal, we are allowing American children to grow up functionally illiterate. This isn't a 'poor' person; she's not living on Tobacco Road, or a tarpaper shack in the Ozarks. She's web-capable, with resources at her disposal that are unavailable to 98 percent of the population of this planet.

2) This is not 'Fan-fiction.' This is someone who is playing a game, and is writing down what happened in a program as if it were a story. It's the James Blish of video games. This doesn't suggest great originality - it suggests (to me, at least) a spirit so decayed by passive entertainment and lack of intellectual curiosity that it sees reportage of the events in a video game as an original and engrossing new story.

Chanther, if you can explain this anomaly (as a whole) as something that doesn't speak to the educational system - and in that I include the home environment, by the way; teachers can only do so much. (but "dint?" I mean, there is definitely some serious lack of pure book-larnin' here...), I'd love to hear it.
posted by Perigee at 2:42 PM on October 12, 2002

I would call this a failure of our educational system, but a different kind.

To me, this feels like the work of a child who is clearly interested in writing for some reason or another, but who prefers the fantasy world of the game more than his real life, and whose natural interest in writing is being completely neglected by his educational environment.

Basically I agree with Point #1 in your most recent post, but not #2, because I wrote a lot of pointless stuff when I was young too.
posted by zerolucid at 4:53 PM on October 12, 2002

Perigee: Sorry I was wrong in my assumptions. I think they were pretty reasonable, taking into account the tone of your FPP. ("Morrowind" in quotes, "moron", etc.)

Your assumption, on the other hand, stands unproved: I am unconvinced that this person is at an age when this level of literacy is not OK. (Maybe English is not even his first language.) Do you infer this by any more convincing observations than that he uses vocabulary slightly above his level?

Again, I don't contest the point that shutting one's self off from reality in favor of a game of this quality is bad, and that this person has probably done that.
posted by azazello at 5:41 PM on October 12, 2002

Well, apologies due all around, it seems. It's NOT the American education system... its the Canadian, and I suppose it's pretty darned impressive, all in all.

I searched this down a bit more and found him listed from that site to his own site here. I contacted him via the ICQ number listed, and had a talk with him.

The information - Male; name: Marc; Age: 17; Location: Ontario. French is his primary language, but has been speaking English since 5. "English is almost like my first language, some cant even tell if I have a English or French accent."

So - if y'all will excuse me, I think my crow dinner is waiting. ~smile~
posted by Perigee at 3:27 PM on October 13, 2002

?I am aware of all the spelling mistakes, so may say I don’t have a life, or im stupid. Yet you don’t
know me, and start making accusation. To me this is worst than making small spelling mistakes.
I have Aspergers syndrom, nd its not really much of my fault I can’t right well. One of the
symptoms of Aspergers is lack of communication, I have trouble communicating, Over this I
have not let a silly mental problem stop me from righting, No I put it aside.

Plus I have never taken a single English corse in my life, and some have admitted its surprising
to see somebody learn it from books, radio an television. The Education of Canada is perfect,
but like any Education they can’t educated people that think different.

I currently work with two co-webmasters, and slowly but surly we will fix those mistakes.
But like anything it takes time, My site has lowest priority, My work and school come first, the
site last. We often think people have no life because they let themselves be transported in a world
of fantasy, but to we live in it, no. We simply compose short stories and take pictures, and maybe
even do research.

If you have no Idea what Aspergers is, This link will take you to a Discussion board.

posted by Marc-Etienne Desjardins at 1:40 PM on October 14, 2002

posted by Marc-Etienne Desjardins at 2:01 PM on October 14, 2002

Welcome, Marc-Etienne. Thanks for explaining, and I'm glad Perigee already contacted you (and had his crow dinner). This just reinforces my feeling that making fun of spelling/grammar errors is generally a Bad Idea.
posted by languagehat at 10:18 AM on October 15, 2002

My crow dinner is waiting

This made me laugh! Is it the same as eating humble pie?
posted by Carlos Quevedo at 12:49 PM on October 18, 2002

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