Podcast: Freakonomics “Who Needs Handwriting?” Part Two

Oh, yes… its time to listen to and discuss part two of the second part of Freakonomics “Who Needs Handwriting?” podcast called “How Can This Possibly Be True?”

I listened to the episode this morning and it went into more detail about the making of pencils and that no one person or country can actually make a pencil nowadays… or maybe ever… and less about handwriting. So, I really couldn’t get too riled up about this episode.

Here is a video version of the I, Pencil essay that they talk about in the podcast which is quite interesting.

In the end, I don’t think that Freakonomics came to any clear conclusion in the first episode about the importance of handwriting (or necessarily took a strong stance on the other side of the argument either). I have listened to the first episode three times now and have decided that it is decidedly rabblerousing, neither making a case for or against handwriting but rather just stirring the argumentative pot. I still feel that the act of writing helps develop cognitive skills and fine motor skills. But I also realize that typing can increase overall speed, editing and collaboration. As an artist and designer, many things start on paper and then are finished digitally and have been done that way for well over 30 years. Since visual creatives work this way so frequently, combining analog and digital tools seems like an obvious pairing. Maybe to others it needs to be an either/or proposition.

An example of how both analog and digital are needed to make the creative process happen.
An example of how both analog and digital are needed to make the creative process happen.

In the end, like so many other things in our modern world, I think you need to learn to use both analog and digital tools as a child and then choose the best tool for the job along the way. And sometimes BOTH is the correct answer.

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Part two isn’t about handwriting at all. It’s about economics, right? They could have provided a link to the pencil store in NY.

    Today’s lesson was on the news this week. Young folks are into the new Polaroid cameras that produce instant images they can hold in their hands. For me digital cameras and phone cameras take a lot of photos that I never print after downloading to the computer.

    I still have my SLR camera, plus I learned about lomochrome film in a letter from a pen pal. Hmm…

    1. I believe any mark qualifies as a legal signature if you do it consistently. So even if you print your name or sign an “x” it qualifies as a legal signature. Any lawyers who can confirm this?

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