I have a friend who worked for the medical publication industry — which creates articles and circulars that enjoin:
“Get your flu shot and eat those veggies!”
Years ago, she explained, this written material was created at various reading levels, with the premiere offerings targeted to grade 14 or 15 (a sophomore or junior at college), designed for consumers who were truly curious about healthcare issues and wanted sufficient information to make intelligent choices. That was years ago. Now, most of the material is aimed at the 6th grade level, with the information designed for public aid recipients targeted to the 3rd and 4th grade reading level, or below:
“Flu shots! Veggies!”
While this says something disconcerting about the attitude of the medical and corporate publication establishments toward people they consider poor, it also maligns our entire reading populace.
I don’t know about you, but library runs aren’t as fun these days, because the shelves are filled with “series” books — the Knitting Shop Mystery Adventures, or The Amazing Sexy Man Who Does Impossible Things and Solves Crime series — and the formulaic writing, in addition to the simple syntactic fare, drives me into the Classic Novels section, every time.
If you’re cranky like me, please follow the link to the rest of the story at Commonsense Christianity, BeliefNet — Are We Dumbing Ourselves Down?
By the way, if you’d like to read more of my writing, I have authored three books:
The Misfit Christian — for the believer who always feels left out of the church group, somehow
Live Happily on Less — Sensible, realistic ideas on how to stretch the money you have, further, as opposed to working more and longer hours
Grammar Despair — Quick, simple solutions to common writing and speaking issues
And my Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson, has published a DVD for people who want to learn art:
Step by Step Watercolor Success