Proper written English is under attack. What I see routinely written in emails and on social sites and via texts is tragic for the thoughtful soul. First of all, the typical television-raised and pictorial-level illiterate modern human consumerist farm animal never reads. And what they do read is second grade-level tripe which doesn’t test the mind or the imagination or even comes close to tickling the higher consciousness. This fast-paced instant gratification culture of 160-word mental burps is impatient and discourages lengthy explanations or detailed schemata.
The standard modern cave dweller lacks the intrinsic curiosity and you will lose most people after 2 sentences if you don’t come straight out and state your case, even if written and expressed very badly. That’s how low we’ve spiraled. People are rewarded and respected for poor grammar and crappy English as long as they are curt and thoughtlessly abrupt. Conciseness is godliness in 2012. This is how people think and talk.
Here in the almighty blogosphere, it’s easy to assume this rampant illiteracy is not real because by nature, most people who read personal or social blogs also like to read and write themselves. We are not a typical horde and like most mentalists, we can’t see the world outside our own. Read a work email or a Facebook post and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about if you don’t already.
Facebook is ground zero for the death of written English. Very few people are conscientious about what they write on their or other’s walls. A sense of shame should attend the lyricism of our words, but since most are such poor readers and writers themselves, they are not discerning when it comes to written language. Even if they recognize an error or inconsistency, people just do not care and overlook it as a trivial hindrance. It’s nothing to them.
And there are people who just get annoyed by all manners of bad writing. I hate the crap people supposedly “write” which is a debasement of that word. I hate that they don’t even try. The bar has been set so low that there is no shame associated with bad English skills. I don’t presume everyone should be an exemplary stylistic writer, but I do expect that most English speakers should entertain a modicum of concern about what they write, for it represents what is happening (or isn’t) in their head. The way you write should represent your clarity and preciseness of thought. You don’t need to be Charles Dickens (ew, anything but that) but at least try your best to translate to words cleanly and with minimal grammatical collisions.
Alas, no one cares. And in fact, I’ll go a step further and allege that the English language is under attack! People not only don’t care; it’s become fashionable to trash spelling and grammar in the sense that doing so has become a rite of passage for the flagrantly ignorant who cement their social standing by sharing in the commune of misspelling. We live in a new culture of misspellings.
Of all the predictably ubiquitous language errors splashed across the modern chalkboard of written thought, the one that irritates me most is the “your” vs “you’re” contraction disaster. This one pisses the hell out of me. People dismiss it with such abandon. I suspect they are rapidly and surreptitiously molding the English language into a compliant shithole of errors in which commonly accepted faux pas have become more acceptable than the correct spellings of words. I say this because one of the most flagrant attacks on the English language is glaringly needless.
I thought of it this morning when I saw a Facebook English devouring vermin write something on a friend’s wall.
Let’s not pay attention to the fact that this supposedly intelligent and high-achieving urban beast doesn’t even appreciate the power of the comma, but she also resorted to the “your” spelling of “you are’s” contraction. This is a university educated White chick who allegedly has it “together.” She knows better.
Look, if your smartpad is unfriendly and you need to crank out those precious thoughts post haste, just type “UR.” Why don’t people use “UR” in place of the contraction, “you’re?” If the apostrophe is too much symbol work and 6 characters tests your patience, just type UR and be done with it. “Your” is stupid and you makes you look like some inner city imbecile. Oh wait, disregard that. Nowadays, typing your is an unofficially accepted way of expressing the proper “you’re” and in fact might garner extra respect due to your socially redeeming lack of attention to nuance. Don’t be a nerd or uptight. Express yourself like a moron.
We might like you better!