Jason Mraz, Bringing Literacy Back and Making It Sexy

Oh, Mraz. Dear, sweet, hungry-for-knowledge Mraz. Do you know what makes Jason Mraz so sexy? Other than the freckles and the talent and those long nails calling out for a back to scratch? Jason Mraz reads books. That’s hot.

More specifically, Jason Mraz reads real books, literature even! When he talks books and authors, he’s not dishing about the latest John Grisham or even the Reader’s Digest Jonathan Franzen. (The Corrections? Please.) No, our boy Mraz is laying down some Kahlil Gibran, some J.D. Salinger, some motherloving Stefan Fatsis!

I breathe a little easier knowing that there are readers like Mraz out there, and that he might influence other people to read real books. Sure, about 12 million of us read Harry Potter last month, and that’s an excellent place to start, but the evidence in my workplace is that people, even college-educated, white-collar, highly-paid people, are illiterate.

I work for a large, multi-national corporation that probably makes about $3 billion an hour, give or take a couple billion. Before I started this job I was intimidated by corporate America. I thought only truly clever, sharp people could succeed in the fast-paced world of big business. But really, the head managers here are the same dull, unimaginitive guys who copied my homework in high school and never figured out the difference between ‘to’ and ‘too’, or ‘their’ and ‘they’re’, or ‘yes, that’s a thoughtful and innovative idea’ and ‘you’re a complete ass who shouldn’t be allowed to handle a shopping cart, much less the personal account information of millions of customers’.

In the past few weeks I have received emails containing these sad little attempts at communication:

“I think we should fix the part where credit card is in there because it makes no since.”

“We decided not to do the project due to budget issues, so the questions from last week are mute.” 

And this exchange:
“There’s a placeholder in this document. Do you know what we’re going to put in there, or will that be determined after the next round of edits?”
“It’s a placeholder.”

That one about drove me to drink.

Is literacy really dead? Is it that difficult to teach people to write in full sentences and comprehend subject-verb agreement? Take up the fight, my friends. Read to a child, or a lonely old person. Read a banned book. Read a book that’s never been on any kind of best seller list. Write an entire email without resorting to text message shortcuts. The future of civilization may depend on it.

My tongue curls under my lips,


One response to “Jason Mraz, Bringing Literacy Back and Making It Sexy

  • Kerry

    I’ve found that the higher up the corporate chain, the worse the grammar and spelling. I blame part of it on quick-fire email and the increased use of Blackberries and the like. Plus, I think that if you’re a boss or THE BOSS, it doesn’t matter what people think of you so you don’t think about it as much.

    I, as a peon on the other hand, re-read and edit even the shortest email about five times before I send an email — to anyone.

    Hell, I’ll re-read this comment three times before pushing submit. Of course, I’m sure I’ll still make some mistake. 🙂

    Also, I couldn’t get through The Corrections. It was just the most depressing story I’ve ever read.

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