Mandeville, LA - Exclusive Transcript - Letters have been written in the same manner for millennia, not years or decades, millennia. We can’t even write a formal letter anymore, or most of us can’t write a formal letter. You’ll notice, if you’re doing email correspondence with me, I am trying to, at least in my little corner of the world, trying to reacquaint myself with how to write a letter. I remember a year and a half ago I challenged the audience to stop being digital bots and to turn the spell and cap check off on your phone. If you’re going to use your phone to communicate, then get reacquainted with how to spell and capitalize things. If you turn it off, you’ll be cranking out little notes and go, “Man, that’s not correct. That’s misspelled.” You might even have to carry a dictionary around with you. Shudder the thought! Check out the rest in today's transcript...
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Dan is in Maryland. How you doing, sir?
Caller Dan: I’m doing rather well, sir. How are you, Mr. Church?
Mike: I am fantastic, thank you.
Caller Dan: Sir, I can’t say that I disagree with you at all in any way on the fact that our culture is completely denigrated due to the fact that people simply don’t learn manners anymore. If folks had a conscience that was instilled in them by their families when they were young, which I am fortunate enough to say that I did, you wouldn’t want to take the possessions of others to make them your own. I work quite hard. I work more than one job just to afford my house and my truck and things like that. I’m very happy to do so. I think if more people were like my mom and dad, that from a young age taught me to say sir and ma’am and treat other people with respect, then we wouldn’t have the issues we have. Our elections are an outcome of our society and what it has become. We’re getting what we deserve. We’re reaping what we sow. That’s all that we’re seeing.
Mike: That is correct.
Caller Dan: I’m 31. I don’t have kids yet. If I have to be an oasis in a sea of filth, then that’s exactly what I’ll be once kids happen with me and my wife. I’m proud of the fact that I was raised in the South where I believe a little bit of honor and culture still exists.
Mike: Just a little. See Honey Boo Boo, though, or what its modern incarnation is.
Caller Dan: Sir, I work in a firehouse. I’m a firefighter. That was on at work last night. I’m a lieutenant. I made them turn the TV off.
Mike: [laughing] You know what I find another one of these little signposts on our road to perdition, Dan? I don’t know if you write any letters, handwritten letters, or if you send email correspondence, which most people do these days to friends and family and that takes the place of letters and long-distance phone calls. There’s something missing there. The email and the Twitter and Facebook have socialized the next generation to believe that the formality of arts and letters does not need to be obeyed. This is why when they get into high school and they’re being taught about sentence structure and letter structure and how it’s supposed to be written, it’s totally foreign. They don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. [mocking] “That’s not how you make a Facebook post. I can communicate with the whole world. I don’t have to say ‘Dear Dan.’ I don’t have to close it with ‘Until then I remain your humble and obedient servant, Mike.’ What is this? What’s this thing with the date at the top of the letter?”
Letters have been written in the same manner for millennia, not years or decades, millennia. We can’t even write a formal letter anymore, or most of us can’t write a formal letter. You’ll notice, if you’re doing email correspondence with me, I am trying to, at least in my little corner of the world, trying to reacquaint myself with how to write a letter. I remember a year and a half ago I challenged the audience to stop being digital bots and to turn the spell and cap check off on your phone. If you’re going to use your phone to communicate, then get reacquainted with how to spell and capitalize things. If you turn it off, you’ll be cranking out little notes and go, “Man, that’s not correct. That’s misspelled.” You might even have to carry a dictionary around with you. Shudder the thought! You have to learn how to capitalize again on your own. The digital world has basically made us dumber. It has replaced what used to be the rote and regimen of manners. If you were going to write someone, you had to learn how to write in a principled or formal-mannered way. We don’t have to do that.
Caller Dan: We’ve gained technical information but lost our humanity to the digital world.
Mike: We’ve at least lost some of it. One of the last things Ray Bradbury said before he died, I asked him, “What do you think about the world you’re about to leave?” One of the sentences I took away from that interview was Bradbury saying, “Stop making machines. No more machines. Stop it. Stop relying on the machine. It’ll be the end of us.” He was a writer. Back in the day when he started, you might have actually had to pull actual paper and a pen out to write your first draft. Then you go to the typewriter after you’ve worked all the kinks out, gotten the punctuation correct, put the story in the proper order. Today we don’t even do that. I know this because I write movie scripts. I just go right to the word processor. Why bother with longhand? My point is that we should not all have to suffer writer’s cramp, but something has truly been lost in the human communication that has been sanitized by the digital world. Sorry, but there’s no other way to put it.
Caller Dan: I absolutely agree with you, sir. It’s been very nice talking to you, Mr. Church. You have a good one.
Mike: My pleasure, sir. Notice how he addressed me and I addressed him back. We’ve even lost salutations. What’s a salutation? Would a 16-year-old Facebooker today even know what a “Dear John” letter was? AG, do you and young Eric know what a “Dear John” letter is?
AG: Eric does. I might not.
Mike: I’ll explain it to you. Back during the war, I believe during the Second World War, maybe the wrong war. Let’s just say back during a war, American GIs would write letters to their sweethearts back in Peoria. They would get a letter back something like, “Dear John, since you’ve been away for two years, I have found Henry. Henry and I are now an item. We’re getting married in March. I wish you well and hope you return safely back to Peoria, signed, Maybelle.”
AG: Does it count, as Eric just told me, if he learned it from Dumb and Dumber?
End Mike Church Show Transcript