Letter: Struck dumb

ANNE McELVOY directs her blast against the "pathological obsession with dumbing down" (Section 2, 7 June) at what she describes as the "smug elites".

Yet there is good reason to lament the pandering to the demand for the instantly assimilable and relentlessly extractable - whether it be the lollipopping of the classics or the highlighting of sport, since both practices foster a smash and grab, sugar-plum mentality precisely where sustained attention offers distinctive rewards.

"Dumbing down" is not only about the debasing of established values, it specifically refers to language. The tendency captured in the phrase is towards the annihilation of intelligent speech. We see this everywhere in public discourse, not least in the use of league-tabling to fulfil a populist political agenda. We are all surely right in resisting it.

Malcolm Ross,

Dartington, Devon