Monday, June 11, 2007

OK! So I've Got Words on the Brain!
Immersed as I am in the art of words these days, I have been unusually sensitive to the English I've been hearing on television, radio, and from people around me in the world. Probably no one else cares, but I must speak!! What has happened to grammar and the beauty of our language? Is it going the way of all good things as our culture glorifies consumerism, reality TV, text-message-speak, and the lowest standards as the coolest? If you don't know any better, it seems normal now for people to say: "Me and my buddy went to the store." "Me and him are getting some new shoes." I hear radio and TV announcers, as well as actors, who have to write their own copy and have it approved by somebody who should know better, or who follow scripts written by writers, saying "Listen to Tom and I on Friday afternoons at 3." As a writer, I cringe.

Lately I've noticed how people are using adjectives as adverbs. "You did fantastic!" "That went smooth." "Everybody did amazing!" Has no one heard of the lowly "LY"? I'm just wondering what is being taught in school. Where are the English teachers, the writing teachers, who instilled a love of language and the sound of beautiful sentences and phrases in me and my friends?

It got hip to talk like a rapper or street person. Grungy and disrespectful was in. I think there is a movement toward people validating their egos and right to be ME! Me over everyone else, me first. Political incorrectness, people suing over ridiculous things they should have been responsible for themselves, hair-trigger reactiveness over tiny slights. . .maybe that's why everybody is starting their sentences with ME. It used to be more respectful, more humble: "Sarah and I went to have coffee together." I put my friend first. People weren't in such a hurry to make things short and ugly.

I remember hearing Jon Stewart interviewed before Bush was elected, and someone asked him what he thought about the idea that people liked Bush because he was the kind of guy they felt they could have a beer with and hang out with. He replied first, "I don't drink with alcoholics," then he said something like, "Why do people want to vote for a President who's as smart as they are? Wouldn't you want someone quite a bit superior to you?" And talk about murdering the English language! We couldn't have elected someone to lower the standards any better than our illustrious leader has!

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