Friday, October 3, 2008

Stuff About English And Stuff

The English language is a party animal. It can be tons of fun, but things can go south quickly if precautions aren't taken. I've had so much fun with it since I recognized that putting words in different arrangements elicited different responses. I could create a laugh or any reaction I wanted though words. I could also maintain friendships and get girls to listen to me.

I wrote good poems and many more bad ones. I wrote stories and sketches and scripts and five billion essays. You can treat language like a friend. Stab it with sharp, striking, stirring sentences or poorly thought out…stuff. Just keep it honest and clear and it will reward you.

So what the hell happened?

I can't be so ignorant to assume that the standards have been slack for just this generation. It is in flux; although now it faces interesting new challenges. Technology; like that box that is hooked up to the monitor you are looking at, text phones, and just the lack of readership sure feels like clear English is an endangered species.

But I can't save it. I can only hope it saves itself. I'll leave some pamphlets around the house and hope the party animal will go to rehab, but forcing it is a waste of time. We have to want to be better.

So what is left? Ridiculing others, that's what.

Texting to me is a strange side-step in technology. It seems that once we had the ability to contact each other through cellular technology, writing to each other would go the way of the telegraph. Writing letters decreased in popularity after the advent of the phone, right? The logical steps should have been phones, pagers, text phones, cell phones…then telepathy, I guess. I have never texted anyone and the only people I know who text each other are people who aren't sharing any pertinent information. You know; stupid shit.

The device isn't the problem. R U Kidding? It’s the fact that abbreviating the hell out of everything is the language of the lazy. Don't we understand yet that our thoughts are made up of images we can put words to, so if we have limited language we have stupid, smooth, subhuman brains? Just call your friend and let them know when the Kate Hudson movie starts. Jesus, if you don't have the time to write out all the words, than make a call. ON THE SAME PHONE!

But I'll leave the texters alone for now. Griping about them makes me feel über-crotchety.

And now, Sports.

For those who are ignorant of such things: Jocks are trained and groomed to run and lift weights and throw and catch balls for the first 25 to 30 years of their lives, then they are put out to pasture. Most do not have enough to money to live on so they need investments or other jobs. A few are super wealthy and can sell grills or open a series of high-end steakhouses. But a select few, (and I wish it was much more select) go into television.

They are analysts by title, but in reality they are thick-necked walls of humanity stuffed into fine suits. Fastened with a microphone and a teleprompter (if we're lucky), the ex- aces and Sunday warriors proceed to treat the English language like a jock strap after a mud bowl in Chicago in January. It's not pretty. My ears are always pleading their case with the ref. Its just unsportsmanlike conduct to repeatedly kick the language in the nuts.

These guys probably never sat through an English class in their lives. The worst part is, they all steal each others gaffes and screw-ups and use them as pat answers for everything. And they're just so incorrect.

Okay, enough set-up. Here are my peeves:

"With Bob Sanders out, the Colts' defense will be one-dimensional.)

Hey, mullet-head. There are only two possibilities here. Three- dimensional, which is an object in the real world; or two-dimensional, with is flat and lifeless. One dimension is a line, and I don't think we're having a geometry class here. You meant two dimensional. Like your brain.

"Eli Manning as a quarterback is as good as anyone in this league…"

(I'll ignore the "in this league", even though it is meaningless. What else can he be, the best quarterback of the Iowa State Legislature?)

What does that statement mean? Is Eli good or average? If he's as good as anyone, than he is as good as the lame-ass who rides the bench for the Cardinals AND Tom Brady? Just say 'one of the best'. You're not running for office. It's football. Just pick a stand and fumble through your next cliché.

And finally, "Asante Samuel made a pick-six with two minutes to go…"

This is purely my preference, but it speaks to the heart of my statements about English. Is it our goal as a culture to boil down the entire language into a series of clichés, grunts and one-liners? Are we trying to fit all the words onto a quick-reference card we can keep in our wallets?

My favorite play is the interception. A defender grabs the ball out of the air and the entire field has to change direction. Chaos for a few brief seconds. Now that term is ruined. Hey, a pick-six! It rhymes! It’s a pick! And he scored six! It sounds like the lotto! Me like lotto!

I have to go read now.

1 comment:

  1. "Its just unsportsmanlike conduct to repeatedly kick the language in the nuts."

    That made me giggle.

    Ya lost me at "six-pick" though. Duh.