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Anne Trubek

Anne Trubek
At 11 p.m. on Dec. 27, I checked my inbox out of habit. I had 581 new e-mails. All had been sent between 8 and 11 p.m. The days between Christmas and New Year’s are not usually a busy time for e-mailing. What was going on?
It turns out that the home page for had linked to a short article I had published a year earlier. In the article, I argue that we should stop teaching cursive in primary schools and provide some background on the history of handwriting to back up my claims.

The comments on my piece were hostile, insulting and vehemently opposed to my argument. The onslaught continued for a few more days: Some 2,000 comments were submitted, and editors took down about 700 of the worst. If you check this article online today, you will find more than 1,300 comments. For some reason, people are very invested in handwriting.

One might consider handwriting as a technology — a way to make letters — and conclude that the way of making them is of little moment. But handwriting is bound up with a host of associations and connotations that propel it beyond simply a fine-motor skill. We connect it to personal identity (handwriting signals something unique about each of us), intelligence (good handwriting reflects good thinking) and virtue (a civilized culture requires handwriting).

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