“Eight got no fax” and other reflections on modern language

After a cable repairman recently re-worked my set-up so that I lost closed captioning on my TV, over the phone a tech person guided me through a way to turn it on… supposedly.*  It turned on closed captioning on the cable box and it’s pretty bad.  It’s also hard to turn back off after you’ve got it on.

So I was watching Charlie Rose interview Bono the other day with closed captioning covering the bottom of the screen.  At first I ignored it but then I started watching and realized what a terrible job it was doing so I kept reading along in fascination.  Eventually Rose asked Bono to talk about the pop songs he considers perfect.  When he got to the famous Stones tune, I was startled to read, “Eight got no fax” as the title right after Bono named “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

Then I started reflecting on how the odd ways they’re teaching reading and writing now have taken literacy down a peg or two and then how texting and tweeting, etc. have taken it down even farther.  It made me wonder how many young people would have read that closed caption and even known there was anything wrong???

“*My elderly mother sometimes watches that TV and she needs the CC.


2 thoughts on ““Eight got no fax” and other reflections on modern language

    • Oh, it’s easy to mis-hear the lyrics when they’re singing, band playing, etc. And, like you, I think it’s possible that the closed captioning was struggling with Bono’s accent — but since my mother has needed CC and I’ve seen it quite a bit I’ve realized that it often does a horrible job no matter who is talking…


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