I had occasion to view a witty and wiley kinetic text video in which Mr. Fry ardently defends the less-than-erudite use of the language.
I thought, as a comedic retort, I would state the following:
People generally do not find bad music or bad dancing enjoyable, and NO ONE cheers for the worst player on the team....quite the opposite:
We cheer for the fastest, the strongest and/or the prettiest people. But there does seem to be an ingrained prejudice against cheering for
the smartest, the most well-educated and least lackadaisical of persons. Perhaps the average person, being of average intelligence, is guilty of a bit of schadenfreude when they mock those of us who dare to give a damn how we express ourselves, and find insult in the
carelessly flung double-negative the, misplaced apostrophe or the lonely preposition bringing up the rear for.
And don't YOU whinge about the validity of your dis-jointed expression. I don't care how tightly you tinsel your tubby grammar in terms of independent expression; you are still in the position of defending sloppy work.
I seek not to speak on behalf of my fellow readers, but I take exception to the Idea that I don't delight in a clever turn of phrase. I have been years in prison. Books were often the only way to allow my mind to tear down the walls around me and construct brightly-colored and fanciful worlds of love and light. I shudder to think how badly my experience of reading HUNDREDS of books would have went had the authors been allowed to run-on their sentences and split their infinitives at will. I'm sure the authors of those fine tomes would assert the true value of their work is in the STORY being told through their words, and anything which would serve to distract the reader from that story is anathema.
I have thus-far been expressing myself with originality, delight AND verbal freshness....Yet not once have I resorted to ain't's or din't's.
I can agree that individuals commonly deal with language in public in quite the wrong way...they shrug when they see a sign: "Keep your
children in SITE[S.I.T.E.]at all times" or hear the weather man talking about "Just a bunch of rain." No, no...it seems to me the true grammar "Nazis," if you will, are the stubborn fools who insist they are being loose and free when in reality they are simply being lazy and stupid.
Which brings us down to respect; both for one's self and others. It is downright DISRESPECTFUL to address another person with bad language. I wouldn't walk up to a stranger and say; "Sup, mah nigga? How the fuck have you been?" Regardless of how free MY speech may be, that person is not likely to see the benefits of my disrespect. Not to mention, this really does all come down to how you see yourself. Do you want to see a toothless hick in the mirror, or an educated and well-lettered person who communicates clearly and effectively?
As for who writes what letters to the editor being rude and haughty; I will not defend rudeness, not even to the likes of you. But who is
being MORE rude...the person who's job it is to be correct, or the lay-person who easily spots something ten other people should have seen before anyone got to read the paper? At least the public still seems to care, even when the editors don't.
It's not about being superior, you whinging lout. It is about being SUFFICIENT. That's what standards are, you burk! Having proper language skills is expected of us in the information age. It is a basic social requirement like bathing and wiping our asses. The smelly person in line at the grocer is expressing nothing but their un-willingness to lift a finger (or a bar of soap) in consideration of the people around them. In short, they are just being childish.
It's not "Their knowledge of how language should be," it is their knowledge of WHAT correct language IS. Speaking and writing fluently is not some nebulous, unattainable standard of god-like superiority. It requires no more intellect than it takes for a parrot to crack a nut.
But if that parrot has finer diction than do you, perhaps you need to care just a bit more about how you come across to others. Besides, it
is one thing if you choose to use a circular statement or colloquial contraction to correctly capture the quintessential or quaintly common quality of a unique communication. It is quite another to deal daily and dally in the dismal drudgery of disastrously damaged diction. As a regular thing, one ought to tender a bit more care to proper speech, ESPECIALLY when being creative. "Sound-sex;" indeed! What bollox!
Since when has carelessness in bed been a good thing?
And how dense do YOU have to be to seriously suggest that as the reader I have any duty to distill or deduce the age, gender, socioeconomic class or zodiac sign of the writer? Dammit, that is what rules of language are for! If you are to arbitrarily eschew discrete divisions of the construct of language simply because YOU DON'T LIKE THEM who is being the pedant now? Why not communicate in grunts and guffaws or why not invent one's own language all together? Why should I have to guess anything about the author? Why should I have to decipher some
dizzying dump of text tabulated by a tardcake who poo-poos at the proper placement of plurals and possessives as though they are this
magical creature un-fetted by the likelihood that they are just some hack with a keyboard? Maybe the real reason language has rules is
because we have all agreed upon a common set of sounds and syllables which carry a standard meaning so that we might express ourselves to
one another, not just to our own minds.
Communication is difficult enough when people speak and write with perfect clarity and skill.
To arrogantly damage this already fragile flower is to lout about with bawdy and brash even, bellicose bigotry and base disregard for how that horrid behavior might disturb anyone else.
Suitability and consideration are part and parcel with correctness. You have consistently attempted to re-frame the issue in terms of the
goodness in men's souls. Well, goodness be damned if the only way one can express the goodness in them is to defecate into the sound space
and wipe themselves upon the page. Your statement that there is no "right" language is as misleading as it is un-true. The "right" language
is determined by circumstance, but that does not render it wholly indeterminate. There are entire disciplines, courses and classes
dedicated to the acquisition of lingual skill and literary aptitude.
Now, don't get ME wrong, I'm not saying that in one's own living room one ought to observe the pettiest rules of relation. But that all
changes once one is in public. Interacting with others can be likened to a cog engaging a gear. One puts grease where gears rub together.
Good manners are the grease where people rub together. To have bad manners, bad language, or a bad smell is to throw sand into machinery
which functions only furtively at best.
No, no. Take your whining defense of lazy language skills and go pedal it elsewhere. I never thought I'd live to see the day when an
American would be instructing a Brit to tighten-up their language and stop defending and even actively advocating for the improper use of it. Sheesh.
I am currently designing my own kinetic text video to accompany a verbal version of this vitriolic and virtuous vimament.