Friday, March 17, 2017

Adventures in Autocorrect

When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split.
— Raymond Chandler

In a previous life, I must have committed some atrocity. 

Autocorrect is my karmic curse.

Autocorrect constantly replaces my words.

Yes, I know I can customize it (or at least turn it off). 

But why am I required to do so in the first place? And why does it default to the linguistic ability of a moron?

The word moron, by the way, also has an atrocious past.

It was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry Goddard to designate someone with a learning disability. 

Goddard believed the learning disabled posed a threat to "American stock" and took steps to purge them from the gene pool.

He first convinced legislators in half the states to pass laws requiring their forced sterilization. Over 60,000 involuntary operations resulted.

He also dispatched assistants to Ellis Island, to look for morons trying to enter the country. When one was spotted, he was given an IQ test (developed by Goddard). The results weren't often favorable. Over 80% of immigrants tested were deported.

To his credit, late in life, Goddard disavowed his work.
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