I use Facebook for most of my book marketing. Anyone who reads this blog regularly probably gets notified, through Facebook or Twitter, every time I post something new. The other day, while surfing FB, I came across a new video by Weird Al Yankovic. It’s called “Word Crimes.” If you haven’t viewed the video, you should. It points out, in an entertaining and funny way, just how silly our diction has become. This fact is not lost on me because I hear people talk all day and many of them sound like they’ve never had an English class in their life.
Before you say I’m throwing people I don’t know under the bus, listen for a minute. I’ve made some blunders in my time. I’m not above leaving a dangling participle or two, but I put a lot of effort into editing everything I wirte. HMMM. I mean write. The thing is, no one’s perfect. I understand and am not asking for perfection, just that everyone make an effort.
Here’s an example. I was sitting outside the Reno Rodeo a few weeks ago and in the darkness (waiting for a taxi ride not stalking horses) and I hear a conversation take place amongst a group of 14- or 15-year-old girls. Here is the gist of said conversation:
“OMG IDK I thought he was into me and he said he was into me but then he said I was into that other guy I mean WTF? GTFOH. I wouldn’t touch that guy if he had a million bucks but this guy was all over it saying I know you’re into that FG and I said no, you’re the FG but then I thought I don’t want to F anything up with my guy, so I offered him a BJ and he turned me down. WTF is that all about?” First girl.
“You offered him what?”
“A BJ, you know,” first girl does hand motion around her throat, causing the rest of the girls to scream and giggle.
First, she actually spelled the phrases. I wasn’t sure about GTFOH, but I was certain if I sat long enough I could figure out what she said. Her friends seemed to know. I left out the punctuation because she never stopped to breathe or even wet her tongue (unintentional pun) before saying the next word. My first inclination was to tell her if she was too embarrassed to say what she offered this guy, then maybe she shouldn’t offer it. Here’s my issue. What the hell happened to communicating? This conversation reminded me of standing in an elevator in a Los Angeles hotel, listening to a Russian couple speaking behind me. I could no more understand these girls than that couple.
I believe in words. Words have power. They enable communication, to make someone laugh or cry, comfort or hurt. Words are sustainable. I catch hell all the time about my text messages being too long because I use complete sentences. I don’t give a fuck. I was raised to speak and to write, not abbreviate. Anyone who has known me a while knows I was in the computer industry. I hate acronyms like the clap. If I have something to say, I’ll say it without abbreviations. You can bet on it.
I think the guy who invented Twitter had no idea of the shit his invention would cause. I hope he thought limiting people to 140 characters would cause them to write more concise sentences instead of creating acronyms that confuse the shit out of anyone over 25 years old. If he planned this then may he rest in hell.
My desire in saying this is not to claim superiority, only to point out the more we dumb ourselves down, the faster we speed toward eventual slavery. You can show your individuality with tattoos, sewing spools in your ears or puncturing you face with a railroad spike, but our individuality rests in our unique ability to communicate. Or maybe I should just STFU.
Get Darwin’s Sword, a great poolside read at Amazon.com, or locally in Reno, NV at Grassroots Books. You can also call Lerue Press at (775)356-1004 and order a copy.