What We Missed

Michelle Obama breaks a record by delivering a speech written at a twelfth grade level. It makes sense, since she and her husband treat women like adults, while Ann and her husband treat us like children.

A gay veteran busts Mitt Romney.

In a Tennessee county, defunding Planned Parenthood caused women’s services to drop by 93%.

A federal judge approves Arizona’s “show me your papers” measure.

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  1. Posted September 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    while i do appreciate the level of vocab and structural complexity of michelle’s speech, i don’t think it’s a good idea to equate the choice to write to say, an eighth grade reading level, to treating “us” the audience like children. according to the most recent survey of adult literacy in the U.S., 87% of adults do not meet criteria for prose proficiency. http://nces.ed.gov/naal/kf_demographics.asp

    i don’t like it, but it’s important to remember that most american adults can’t understand literature written at above what is considered an eighth grade reading level. let’s not slam the rnc for being realistic (on at least this one topic). there’s plenty else wrong with the convention to focus on that doesn’t overlook or unintentionally slam the issue of illiteracy.

  2. Posted September 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    agreed. i loved (most) of michelle’s speech but i also think it’s really important to make sure that we as progressives are not using language that excludes a helluvalot of folks who experience oppression. that being said, her speech *was* a speech, not an essay, so i’m not sure how relevant the whole reading-level/functional illiteracy thing is to listening comprehension. it doesn’t seem like reading-levels are the best way to measure how easily understandable an oral speech is.

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