humor, meme slut

Meme slut: How scholarly is your discourse?

There’s an amusing report out this week that discusses the deplorable level of discourse in the Congress. Of course, what they deplore isn’t what you and I might. They don’t care that the two sides have gotten further from the middle, nor that they have gotten less likely to compromise, nor that they are playing politics with our future even more than is their standard wont. No, what the report deplores is the ever-decreasing level of education apparent in the rhetoric [1]. In 1996, the typical Congressman spoke at a twelfth-grade level, with words such as “foreasmuch” and “heretofore” peppering an otherwise bland spate of political drivel [2]. This year’s Congress took it down a couple of notches and speaks at a tenth-grade level  [3].

But this begs the question – at what level do we speak? Is the level of discourse on my blog elevated above the norm, or are we dull, plebeians suited for nought but a life of reality TV and lottery tickets? With that in mind, I hied me hence to a Reliability Index Calculator similar to the one used by the Sunlight  Foundation to rank Congress’ speeches. The results were interesting. In general [4], my entries on this blog come in at about an eleventh-grade level. So, if you are reading my stuff here, you are at least as smart as the typical Congresscritter [5]. And my “Secret Science Society” entries on the other blog come in at a sixth-grade level, which is exactly where i wanted them to be [6]. But my entries on planetology are coming in at a twelfth-grade level. Honestly, I don’t know if this is good (raise the level of discussion) or bad (limit the number of readers). But there it is.

So – where do you rank?

John

[1] To the extent that some members of Congress cannot even spell rhetoric, much less use it.

[2] The drivel part has unfortunately not changed.

[3] This still puts them ahead of the typical American, who speaks at an eighth-grade level. Sad, isn’t it?

[4] I.e., by using the first three entries to catch my eye.

[5] If you don’t know whether to laugh or weep at that, join the club.

[6] Yeah!

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5 thoughts on “Meme slut: How scholarly is your discourse?

  1. Hahahaha. If you’re not going by NC-17 standards (based on language, alone), I’m afraid to look. I seem to remember years ago that the average Murican *read* at a 7th grade level and somewhere in the last admin’s second Presidency, it had dropped to 5th? Whatever it was, it was lower. I know it’s heinous to not google but as usual, I’m playing around on the clock and can only play so much (speaking of which, I *wish* that I could draw!!).

    Even if I’m only “roundabout” the right grade level, it seems to go hand in hand…But I’ve always been too eager to see correlational facts as a deduction of Truth (which I seem to recall we were taught never to do!).

  2. By using a blog entry about psychological distance in creative writing, I scored a grade level of 10 and readability ease of 40. But what troubles me is that I had to read the explanation of the scoring twice to understand it !!! 😛

    ~ Georgia
    “After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.” G.M. Trevelyan

  3. I checked the four most recent posts of any length. They alternated between 6th and 9th grade with readability of 60-75. I know I’m capable of higher, but after so many years of teaching and writing for that age range I guess it’s natural I should gravitate to it.

    (This comment scored 10th grade.)

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