July 14th, 2009


Apple, how you disappoint me // observation

So most of you may know that Apple has a toy they make called the iPhone. Perhaps you know that one of the things this toy can do is get new programs from a central storefront run by Apple. If so, there's a chance you even know that Apple exercises full power over what can or can not be sold in this store, and if it requires any special "adults only" type of ratings to be applied to it.

What you may not know is that it would seem *the dictionary* is not suitable material for young children. I know, hard to believe, but it's true! It would seem our fair language, in all its beauty and glory, would happen to contain some material deemed unsuitable for anyone under the age of nine years.

Nine years! I can't imagine a child growing up not being allowed to reference a dictionary until the age of nine. How many times did we ask our parents how to spell something, only to be told "go look it up"? How many evenings did we spend expanding our vocabularies through reading a good book and looking up the hard words in a nearby reference volume. How many hours were idled away just flipping randomly though the pages of our family dictionary just to see what weird or funny words were contained therein?

Sure, there will be the occasional immature snicker from the kid who stumbles across an 'adult' word or two. We all had those moments ourselves, though, and we turned out just fine. Better for it, I think, since those moments put in perspective just how many more words there were than the 'naughty' ones and how rich and developed our language could become if we didn't limit ourselves to only using four letters at once.

Nine years old, that's roughly third grade. Where I grew up, the elementary school I went to had grades K-6 on the same grounds (some others went K-8). I go past it every now and then and they still use the same layout. Kindergartners have a small (adult-waist height) chain-link fence between them and the 4-6th graders. The 1-3rd graders are on the other side of the 4-6th from the Ks. So no matter how old you are, you are exposed to the colourful language of the 6th graders. I assure you, Apple, there are no 'naughty' words in the dictionary that these kids have not already heard out of the mouths of the seniors on the playground. And even if the school grounds were more strongly segregated to protect their young ears from such harsh vulgar language, the playground at the park has no fences at all.

Most importantly, in my mind, it can be argued that one's vocabulary acts as a limitation on one's thoughts. By trying to keep the youth from learning about what some call profanity through limiting their access to a full vocabulary, I fear we are instead encouraging them to use only such language as they will learn 'on the streets' and thus limit their thoughts accordingly.

Further adventures in why people suck // random

So I'm walking down the street on my way home when a lady turns the corner to be walking ahead of me. Being that my gait is faster than most, I am naturally gaining on her. As I get within a few meters of her, she switches her purse to her side farthest from me. After I pass, my route takes me across the street and I see that she has switched the purse back. The implication is clear, she feared I would take her purse.

What kind of a society is this where every encounter is assumed to be antagonistic? I don't know if it would be better or worse if she only acted that way toward males.