I wanted to post this in the comments, but it was too long. Sorry for filling up your feed this week.
It was really nice for Anne to comment on this blog. She is a well-known writer and does pieces for the New York Times. For her to spend the time and energy responding to my comments is very nice of her. That said, I am unconvinced by her responses.
Here is why:
First, the idea that I am besmirching her character is something that I have a hard time understanding. If she were a witness in a case of mine and I was tasked with cross examining her, I would absolutely bring out the points in which she appears biased. Pointing out that she runs a magazine and writes and sells books about the end of cursive shows that she has a bias and bias is one of the classic ways humans determine credibility and the merits of a statement. If your Dad says "Your roof needs replacing" that's one thing. If a roofer trying to sell his services tells you that exact same thing, its something entirely different. So too with pointing out where and how she makes her money. My point is simple and not attack on her character--she is like the roofer trying to sell you a roof. If I would have called her dumb or mean or snobby, those things constitute an attack on her character, but pointing out that she has a bias is a fair point of criticism in basically any form of argumentation. Also note that I started my response by telling people of my bias--I like pens, handwriting, and cursive.
As for the notion that she should seek publicity--I 100% agree with this. She is selling her writing. The more people that read her writing and the more people that know she is selling that writing the more likely she is to sell said writing. But just like the Hollywood celebrity that makes money by being famous but also complains about the paparazzi, if you are staking out a position in the most respected newspaper in the world, you should be fine with criticism. If not, then don't seek the publicity. Being vocal in an opinion column means, by the very nature of the position, that people will be vocal with their opinions right back at you. That is what I did.
The buzzwords and jargon issue seems pretty clear to me--the "cognitive automaticity" argument was something that I laid out, even used the same descriptor--"term" as I referenced in the lead-in paragraph. Sorry that she missed that.
The derision argument is one based on a notable omission--California was conspicuous in its absence. Maybe she genuinely didn't know, but it seems hard to miss, especially if she is doing research on this topic. All her examples fit this stereotypical view that some (maybe not her) have of folks in the South. It could all be a genuine mistake on her part, but I think it is fair for me to draw out the implication that it is something more.
Its also important to note that she ties handwriting to nationalism, but again does not own up to the fact that she left out important details regarding the comments made in the Louisiana legislature. She did the old movie trailer trick--she took the parts of the quote ("America!") that supported her argument and left out the ones that didn't ("Viva La France!"). Its hardly nationalism when an American legislator is saying "Viva La France". Freedom Fries this ain't.
As far as her son's difficulties, there is no way to verify this. It seems incredible to me, especially when the year it happen changed and now has blended into two years, but there is no way to confirm the claim and I'll assume its true. But even if it is true, this doesn't prove the failings of cursive or the teaching of cursive or the correctness of Common Core abandoning cursive. It proves, if true, that Anne's son was taught by a few terrible people. And we all know this logic is baloney--Ted Bundy went to law school, but not every law student is a serial killer.
As for Common Core, I have no opinion on it. I'd need to do some research before proffering an opinion and that opinion would not be germane to this blog, so...I am not going to waste time discussing something I do not know enough about to responsibly form an opinion capable of being defended in a logical and reasonable way.