Get on your dancing shoes

If you asked me how my first contact lens fitting went, I would say it was awful. While this answer provides you with a general “bad vibe” about the experience, if I answered instead with, “it was like a four-year-old attempting to open the inside capsule of a Kinder Surprise,” you would understand much more. You would gather that, at first, for me, the idea of contacts were so sweet, but then a realization of difficulty creeps in, followed by frustration, proceeded by streaming tears, and eventually, a seething hatred for the confounded ill-designed plastic parabolas. While, of course, not a perfect analogy, that simile hopefully gave you better insight into my plight.

Similes and metaphors are wonderful tools that we all use daily to help elaborate and decorate our stories and tales. They even provide a sense of camaraderie between people as they are both “in” on the implications of whatever metaphor was said. I find that things get interesting, however, when you look at the metaphors that are built into our language.

What has recently come to my attention are the types of metaphors we use on a daily basis. More specifically, the ones we use to describe confrontation; I shot down his argument, I obliterated the professor’s thesis, I soon put all misuses of the word, ‘literally’ to the sword. Can you tell what the topic is?

Conflict, in English, as in many other languages, is viewed as a war. I say this, you say that, and *ding ding* into the ring we go. We stand from our chairs in the corner, egged on by our egos, and battle it out until one is victorious and has pummeled the other’s idea into the ground; an almost survival-of-the-fittest idea, if you will. Any time there is a conflict, even over the pettiest and most trivial of events, people flare up and adopt a battle stance.

The unfortunate implications of having the war metaphor for conflict are that there is always a winner and a loser. Someone’s idea is better, and whichever one wins is clearly the superior. There are many issues with this, which I’m sure you can figure out, but one that I’d like to really pursue is that fact that the idea that wins, has not changed since the beginning.

Imagine that instead of perceiving conflict as a battle, we begin to imagine it as a dance (credit must be given here to Lakoff and Johnson who came up with the concept in the book “Metaphors we live by.” I am building on the idea and adding my own spin to it). Think of if two people brought their knowledge to the floor and sought not to destroy the other, but to make something beautiful. This then takes the focus away from winning, and shifts it to creating.

Let’s examine the implications of this idea. I am not saying that this would reduce or abolish conflict. A lot of conflicts are constructive and their outcomes healthy. I am saying that the attitude and general feeling towards conflict would change. Perhaps some people would be more comfortable waltzing across a marble floor in civilized attire than first choosing between a .38 caliber, a .50 caliber, or an RPG, aiming the chosen over a trench wall, shooting, and then promptly ducking down to pray they haven’t hurt anyone.

As Canadians, we have this idea that we must be polite and we are, at times, very accommodating and compliant when we really shouldn’t be. However, we’ve got this idea that we must avoid and shy away from altercations. The connotations conflicts have based on the metaphors we use to articulate them can be a little frightening. People are reluctant to engage in conflict because they feel as if they as starting a war. Because of this, we miss out on many opportunities to improve situations, relationships, and ideas.

Of course, all of your decision-making to avoid conflicts is done on the same level as where metaphors are usually formed: the unconscious. We sometimes don’t realize the physical effects that metaphors and connotations can have. They can move us from situations, change our reaction to things, and even dictate our emotions. The same situation can evoke drastically different reactions from different people based on the way they individually perceive it. A lot of the time, this perception is done unconsciously. Such is the way we react to metaphors.

A study was done where people were asked their views on what the police should do to tackle increasing crime rates. Two different sheets were handed out. One sheet portrayed crime as a predator attacking the community, while the other implied that crime was more like a virus infecting the community. Their responses largely reflected these metaphors. Those exposed to the predator metaphor, chose to “catch” and “lock it up” through increasing the police force and extending prison terms. Those exposed to the virus metaphor chose to “cure” it through creating stronger communities and treating crime at the root cause. These responses were influenced largely by the implied metaphors to which the subjects were exposed.

I find in conflict that people sometimes stray from the original subject and the conflict becomes solely about victory at all costs; as the saying goes, “All’s fair in love and war.” To me, a dance approach seems like it would diminish people’s need to win, and the attitude changes. People might become more willing to accept new ideas, try out concepts, or view different points if it meant adding some flair to their number.

‘We’ve waltzed about the issues for a while now but we’re nearing the end’ could be a metaphor depicting an ongoing conflict that (the reason I pick waltz here is because while it’s not necessarily a slow-tempoed dance, it does embody slow, broad movements from the dancers).

‘We had a bit of a tango last night,’ could imply you had a quick heated argument over something and resolved it within a small time frame (I choose tango here because of its flare and passion).

Perhaps even ‘Foxtrot’ could be used. It is similar to a waltz, but as well as being elegant and sophisticated it is also supported by a big band. This could imply a conflict between companies, or two people in the public eye.

Instead of choosing your battles, you’ll be choosing your partners and instead of blowing their argument out of the water, you’ll be sweeping them off their feet, signifying that you are the stronger of the two, but with their help you made a beautiful thing that could not have been done solo.

 

 

Bibliography

Lakoff, G., Johnson, M., 1980. Metaphors we live by, The University of Chicago Press. USA: Chicago.

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Wherever Death Will Take Me

I’ve found it extremely difficult to express my thoughts on religion.  One of my youth pastors defined his journey with Christianity as wrestling with God, much like Jacob in Genesis. For me, it is not as close as wrestling; it is more of a long-distance battle with bows and arrows. The most annoying thing is that every time I think I have found my mark, found my reason to say that this is nonsense and I can’t believe in something like this, He finds a way to shatter my arrow before it is even bowed.

The thing that frustrates me about the Bible is that is it incredibly complicated and difficult to understand. There is so much societal context and tone of voice that is missed due to written words that the messages behind them and the messages received become horribly skewed. One only has to glance at history to understand that. However, when something is explained to me that make verses seem logical and sound, I realize that I only have the interpreter’s word to trust and even if their word is genuine, how can I know if it is truth?

After hearing that globalization was planned by the governments during WWII in order to help prevent a third from breaking out, part of me wonders if Christianity was an old government’s way of controlling the people so they wouldn’t rebel. Another part of me doesn’t care because even if that is true, many of the values that it instills can lead you to be a good person.

I have heard many stories of strange and impossible things; many things that have too much precision to be coincidence, yet seemingly too farfetched to be true. Some of these stories have been described to me as divine moments.

I have never had a divine moment. That is not my truth or my reality. I can’t verify the validity of others’ stories beyond stating that I value their words and do not believe they sought to deceive me. The closest thing I have encountered was an incredible gust of wind upon the mention of God being like the wind during a meeting of prayer and discussion with a fellow Christian camp counselor. You can speculate all you like because I don’t know if it was a coincidence of not either, but it was rather neat.

I think the hardest thing for me to grasp with Christianity is condemnation. I personally believe that people are good creatures and well-meaning. Yes, I am aware that we are selfish beings and everything we do is for our own benefit, but regardless, we feel so much joy from the deliverance of joy to others and that has to count for something. So, when I heard that Jesus is the only way to salvation and all other people fall away into Hell, I was utterly appalled. How could I believe in something that condemned people I considered heroes, my friends of other religions, and my family to Hell?

My father is a brilliant man and I am fully aware that I owe the majority of who I am to my parents and believe I have some sort of grasp on how fortunate I am. The reason I put emphasis on my father is because he laughs in the face of religion whereas my mother is more of a Christian. However, my father said something that sticks with me to this day, he said, “I am very sympathetic to the Christian values, but I cannot deal with the church.”

I brought this concern to my youth pastor one day and I will attempt to give you the summary. He said that he believes that God is a very loving and forgiving God and that the only one true unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. No, Youtube community, this does not mean swearing your head off at the Holy Spirit. Instead, he believes that you are given a final choice at death. You come face to face with the creator and are given a chance to acknowledge him as Lord. The only unforgivable sin is to, at the moment of confrontation, walk away. He also believes that the only people who will do this are the ones that in life were so corrupted by sin that, in His presence, they cannot handle the truth and walk away to purgatory.

This eased my mind and coincided with my views of people being fundamentally good, but of course there is no proof and never will be until I die.

Science and religion have never really been friends. They both hate to admit that the other could be right and reject each others’ findings. The unfortunate thing about this is that some of the least educated people about either subject are the ones who become the strongest advocates and spew out nonsensical garbage vaguely disguised as “facts.”

Yes, I agree that Christianity has “changed the rules” over the years and not just once. My own opinion of the reason is that we’re slowly realising old ways are wrong or slightly off and through research and discussion we’re slowly developing the modern understanding of the Bible. If you replace the word, ‘Bible’ in the last sentence with the word, ‘world,’ what am I describing? Science.

I love science and I think it is absolutely incredible the things we can do with it. C.K. Lewis put it brilliantly when he said that, “everybody on every plane should just be constantly going, “OH MY GOD! WOW!” You’re flying! You’re… You’re sitting in a chair… In the sky.” The discoveries we have made in the past few decades are astounding and I still haven’t the faintest idea how the internet works, let alone the universe or string theory. Nor do I understand God.

The similarities between religion and science are numerous yet they are viewed as polar opposites. They are both attempts to give meaning and enlightenment to our world, what is it about, and why we are here. They both ask tough questions and give complicated and confusing answers. They have dark pasts, have been used to deceive and harm, and have had people do stupid and irrational things in their names. But, boy, can they both do some miraculous things.

While there are many people I know who will spend their lives arguing over who is right and who has done the most “evil,” I’m doing to do my best to learn the most I can about both. Ignorance pains me and I’m sure this entry will seem ignorant to some, but I hope they take comfort in the fact that I’m doing my best to understand.

I hope you have noticed that I have not given a final answer to what I believe. I do not think my answer is worthy of any merit yet as I am merely 19. There are people far older and wiser than me who might be able to give you a definitive answer and even then who knows?

When I die, if I rot in the ground and that’s the end of me, I’m content knowing that my body will be used to feed the absolute gorgeousness and awe that this world creates. But, if I instead find myself face to face with God, He is going to get a big hi-five for creating a wonderfully crazy world for us to explore, share, and learn on. After that, He can send me where I belong.

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Hip-hip-hooray?

As my voice against ‘grammar Jews’ and mainstream listeners gets more pointed and pronounced, people have begun attempting to persuade me that I am in fact, a hipster.

Knowing me, I ran straight to the dictionary.

The dictionary informed me that a hipster was “someone who follows fashion.” Hmm, as I look down at my Old Navy shorts and shirt from Thailand that makes a pun out of Puma by adding a ‘b’ to make the word “Pumba” and has the loveable Lion King character jumping over the word mimicking Puma’s logo, I sense an air of ‘unfashionableness.’ However, the rest of the ‘hipster’ word users seem to think it means the opposite. In their eyes, a hipster is someone who goes outside the norm and challenges the mainstream perception of social acceptability.

Now, it seems to me that hipsters seem to have become a mainstream culture themselves. I saw an amusing picture that had a typical hipster on it (the thick-rimmed non-prescription glasses, the striped shirt with a slight v-neck and accompanying stripy scarf, the ponderous yet vacant stare into the camera as if pretending to think but in reality only checking their hair in the reflection of the lens) and in nice big white letters it stated: “Likes mainstream, because hating mainstream has become too mainstream.”

Hopefully you are now as confused as I am.

Let me see if I can understand that correctly. Since I enforce grammar rules, love language and dislike mainstream music, and mainstreamers break and are ignorant of grammar rules and enjoy mainstream music, I am a hipster in the eyes of my peers yet not a hipster through the eyes of a dictionary. However, since hating mainstream has become mainstream, I am no longer a hipster to mainstreamers and am now a hipster according to my friend the dictionary. Now this means that the mainstreamers have become the hipsters and the hipsters have become the mainstreamers. I can see an endless loop forming.

I would just like to go back to Grade 5, where I was called a nerd because I at least know that I am a short, prescription-glasses-wearing, language-loving, learning-loving, person who prefers a nice Scrabble game with friends to grinding up against strangers and who will sit in a basement alone jamming out on a guitar for an hour while his friends go have their way with Mary Jane.

So please do not call me a hipster anymore because it means nothing to me and just confuses me so much that I have to waste my time writing a blog and your time reading it.

I’m sorry.

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Fluorescent Adolescent

I always give the same answer whenever I’m asked what music I listen to: There are three types of music I will listen to: 1) Music that is technically challenging 2) Music that has lyrics that are about something relevant in my life, and 3) If is it witty and clever (this category was created mainly to allow for the inclusion of Flight of the Conchords)

So, despite my mild manner, it may surprise some that I have a few heavy metal songs kicking around on my iPod. While their lyrics of scary things and the alleged bleakness of life do not qualify under s.2 (I apologize here: s.2= Section 2. Legal Studies habits die hard) of Kirran’s Code of Quality Compositions, the skill level of the drummer, guitarist, and bassist (as long as he’s not standing there playing one note 4 times in a bar like a fool) allow the song to be accepted under  s.1.

Although I do try, it’s very hard for me to mask my displeasure when a typical ‘mainstream’ song comes on. I struggle to find a point to them. Most songs merely represent a painfully obvious euphemism about sex, drugs, or alcohol and proceed to tell me, with awful grammar and vulgar language I must add, about how the combination of the three is the ultimate satisfaction a person can experience. Throw in a drum machine, add a repetitive, yet catchy, synthesizer line, and turn on auto-tune, and, presto, yo yo yo Kay-T Prizzle iz in da houz! 

Well, I certainly hope that said “houz” is, in fact, in the middle of the street somewhere in Soho and Talking Heads will shortly be Burning Down the House. Since The Pogues have already told us it’s A Rainy Night in Soho, let’s get Adele to come in and Set Fire to the Rain (perhaps with Francium?) just to make sure no one fleeing “da houz” escapes the blaze. I could go on but for everyone’s sake I’ll end it there.

Okay, no, I do not wish a fiery fate upon mainstream listeners; I wish simply for them to see some sense. Don’t get me wrong though, I still want that house taken apart; even if it is Brick By Brick.

A song should be created when the composer has something to say. A composer should have A Certain Romance with the song, a tie to it and behind every song there should be a message. Whether you like the song or not will likely depend on if you agree with that message, unless s.1 applies to you as well.

My problem with mainstream music is that songs are no longer created because the artist has something to say, but because the artist thinks that is what the audience wants to hear. I always loved the quote, “A wise man speaks because he has something to say. A fool speaks because he has to say something.” This is essentially the mainstream music business in a nutshell.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this is clearly a good marketing strategy. If you wish to make some money, appeal to the masses. However, what you sacrifice is soul and originality and you sink so far into banality and shallowness that in a few months you’ve gone From The Ritz To The Rubble (unless you cut off all your hair or end up in rehab- because NOW we have a story).

I really dislike the culture that pop songs create. There is rarely anything more to them than talking about some hot thing they met in a club and the scandalous behaviour they indulged in. There is no beauty or class in the lyrics, or sophistication or tastefulness in the music.

Here come the die-hard fans. They then bring to light some of Lady Gaga’s lesser known songs or ask if I like “old” Coldplay. Lady Gaga does have a nice voice and can, in fact, create decent songs. There is one that is dedicated to her drunken father that clearly has a lot of meaning behind it. Yes, I do love Parachutes and Rush of Blood to the Head. They are two solid albums and I still will sit in my room and play In My Place on my acoustic. I like Coldplay’s stuff up until Viva La Vida. That’s just me personally though. However, are these songs you would blast and “rock out” to? No. They are just used by you to justify your artist, which in turn, apparently justifies anything they do. You use it as a shield and not much more.

Do I consider myself an elitist and educated in my musical choices after going to an arts high school for music? Yes. Am I? No, of course not, I’m only 19 (okay fine, 18 but my birthday is in 17 days). However, what I have found so far is that I have a hard time carrying, or caring about for that matter, a conversation with someone who is blasting “Call Me, Maybe” from their Macbook Pro. Harsh? Perhaps, but I’ve found people who have varied musical choices to be far more interesting people to converse with and be around (and I really have to say how on earth do you miss someone before they come into your life? Hmmm? Seriously… The lyrics are getting so pathetic).

So, I am deeply sorry if I anger you by rolling my eyes at “Party Rock Anthem” and I apologize if my putting my headphones in while you sing a pitchy version of any Taylor Swift song offends you. However, you don’t see me blasting Radiohead or Arctic Monkeys in the middle of a crowded study session. However, I do get incredibly excited when someone asks to hear some of my favourite music. I’ll admit that said invitation may result in some noise complaints.

I usually get the question of, “Why can’t you just respect our music choices?” Yes, I believe that everyone is entitled to their likes and dislikes and understand that sometimes you don’t want to analyze a song; you just want to dance and party. That’s great. I understand we also go through phases and different people experience them at varied stages in life. However, as I said, I’ve found that the most interesting people have very interesting tastes in music. I want you to become more knowledgeable, explore your world, find deeper meaning in relationships, attempt to understand who you are, and, more importantly, why you are. I truly, truly, believe that your taste in music is a window to who you are. So, if all I see is you enjoying music about money, sex, and shallow friendships, I tend to make assumptions and they worry me. If I am unjustified in this, prove me wrong. Otherwise, when you get up to dance to Nikki Minaj, Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair.  

I want you to Do Me A Favour. The next time you’re singing along to your favourite mainstream song, whether it is on the radio, on your iPod, or at a party, I want you to really think about the lyrics and ask yourself if that is the type of life you’d really want, or the type of person you’d really want to be. I ask this because at that moment, that is what you’re putting out to the world.

If you really believe that music doesn’t have any control over your life, well, That’s Where You Were Wrong. While I find that your musical choices have a big say on your personality, I do not doubt that the music around you can come to shape your personality as well. I think you should Google: “Subliminal Messages.”

I also want you to find your song. I’ve found mine, and it’s been my song since I first heard it. I’m not sure why I like it so much. It could be because it has a variant tuning on the guitar to make all the open chords sound gorgeous. It could be that the entire song is one big crescendo. It could be because I find the lyrics powerful and inspire change.  All I know is that it gives me goose bumps and it’s the only song I will listen to full blast on my iPod just to be immersed in it.

However, at the end of the day, these are just my opinions. Partying, drinking, and partaking in whatever grandma would frown upon might be your life and who am I to say that isn’t the way to live it? Just don’t expect me to happily sing along to songs about Fake Tales of San Francisco.

Find your joy and sing a Reckless Serenade.

 

 

 

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The “66 and 99” disease

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a pandemic, an epidemic, and it’s spreading at a rate similar to that of the average person’s legal infractions on the road: 3 signs per night (this statistic is totally “legitimate”).

This is right, people. After thorough “investigation” on the matter, “doctors and scientists” from “around the world” have “determined” that each night, 3 signs, somewhere, are becoming “infected” with what is known as the “66 and 99” disease. This has now been shortened, by the youth of the world, to the “69 disease” (so clever are they, those youth).

You can spot these “infected signs” quite easily. Most are being laughed at in the streets, but some go unnoticed by the general public. Sadly, they do not realize they are being subjected to the reprehensible display of the “growths” that have appeared on the text of the infected signs.

It is spread through ignorance and an over-zealous attempt to be correct, so please, for the sake of society, become educated on how to protect your signs from the “66 and 99” disease.

Now, if you have not yet determined what this blog is going to about, then you deserve a fleeting glance of disapproval thrown on your direction (I’m sorry, I hate to be provocative).

Yes, the misuse of quotation marks on signs is happening everywhere, and it is absolutely hilarious.

For those who don’t know, the use of quotation marks has various uses, the first of which is to imply that whatever is between them has been taken directly from another source. However, another more widespread of its use is to imply exaggeration, sarcasm, or the deliberate use of an opposite word. For example, if a lawyer were prosecuting an alleged criminal, they might use the phrase: the accused’s “fool-proof plan.” The quotation marks around “fool-proof plan” indicate that the plan was, in fact, not fool-proof, otherwise, the accused would not be in his current circumstance.

So when I see a sign that says: ““cheese” burgers”, I get very worried. Is this marketing’s new gimmick?

In supermarkets, things are “made “fresh” in-store”. In parks there should be ““NO” Alcohol”. However, one of my favourite signs simply has the word “toilets” in quotation marks (so I should expect a hole in the ground?).

Apparently these quotation marks are designed to give emphasis, yet all they are really doing is giving emphasis to the opposite of what they mean. See, this is irony, Alanis.

Quotation marks are also used to provide an indicator to obscure euphemisms that people may not catch from mere speech alone. This makes me extremely cautious around signs that read: “Professional “Massage”” and “RING BELL FOR “MEAT SERVICE”.”

However, some uses of these quotation marks are so bizarre that I don’t really have an introduction for them, so I’m just going to list them:

1)      Fireworks “you can trust” sold here

2)      Please open door “slowly”

3)      Silica Gel- “do not eat” throw away

4)      Please “do not put anything in toilet” thank you for your cooperation”

5)      “Vegetable” cream cheese

6)      Employees must “wash hands”

7)      “Pussy” (L) Willow $9.99

8)      Your small change can make “children” happy (well… at least the quotation marks weren’t around “happy”…)

9)      Kids are “pretty” special to us

10)   “Sprinklers” through-out building

Now, for my personal favourite: BEWARE OF “DOG” (maybe they  had a Chihuahua…)

I’ll give them a D- for effort, but they fail miserably overall.

You are now aware of the signs (pun intended) and symptoms of this disease. Consider yourself educated on the matter. Go forward and ridicule anyone who fails to see the hilarity and shamefulness of the “66 and 99” disease.

Stay “alert”, stay “safe.”

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Grammar Links

I have had a few people send me some fantastic links about language and grammar since I began writing my blogs and I’d like to share some of my favourites with you.
The Alot Is Better Than You At Everything- This is a great way to handle an infamous “alot” sighting:  http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html

The Grammar Nazi- An amusing skit from the That Mitchell and Webb Look Series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3y0CD2CoCs

The Grammar Nazis- College Humour’s take on grammar (great way to understand the dangling participle): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4vf8N6GpdM&feature=related

Literally- This is a video on how people misuse the word “literally”- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syHmEAXavWg&feature=fvsr

Dear America- from David Mitchell’s Soap Box- His rant about the phrase, “I could care less”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw

Everyday Expressions- Here is George Carlin’s take on expressions that don’t make sense:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHhYLJMi7CE&feature=related

I’m also going to throw in a link that I personally really enjoyed. It has nothing to do with grammar, but I think it’s a great video that puts a few things into perspective. I’ll be using a few lines from this video next time I see someone getting mad at their phone.

Everything’s Amazing And Nobody Is Happy- This is Louis C. K.’s rant about how everything is amazing and yet no one is happy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk&feature=related

Enjoy!

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The Rain of the Typo Tryant?

Please tell me you noticed that the title says “rain” instead of “reign.” Thank you, I knew you guys could do it.

I’m going to start with a quote from John Wayne. He said that, “Life is hard but it is harder when you’re stupid.” Now, of course I find this quote amusing, but I also think it is slightly inaccurate. More aptly, it should say, “Life is hard but it is harder when you let others see your stupidity,” because let’s face it, we’re all stupid in some fashion or another.  My dad once told me that he felt bad for my generation and the ones to come because masking our stupidity has become increasingly difficult. It used to be that, when you messed up, a few people in the village might know about it. Now when you mess up, I’ll bet that even your friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend’s dog has heard about it.

Today’s technology allows your stupidity to shine through brighter than ever before, and now with iPhone’s auto-correct, it can even create more sh*tepidity. Sutpen*sty. RAWR. STUPIDITY! (Now, I don’t have an iPhone, but when I see those auto-correct fails, I have to shake my head- I swear most of them happen because boys just want to “accidentally” type a naughty word to a girl and see what happens- Oops, did I just uncover your sea creature? Your secretion? YOUR SECRETARY? SECRET! MY GOODNESS!)

It is a well-known fact that employers will look at the Facebook pages of potential employees. It is also a well known fact that anything you type is recorded. I know we’ve all heard this spiel many times, but I don’t see too much evidence of that information being taken to heart. It is even easier to uncover the past now with this new “timeline” thing. Personally, I would rather not be reminded of my Grade 9 Facebook posts as they went something like this: “I cant belive u sed dat man. U lik dised im up soo bad an da techr had NOOOO clu wat 2 do ahahah”. Now perhaps the content is stretching it a bit as I was never classified as the “trouble-maker” or “class-clown” (usually the “nerd” to be honest…) but the spellings are all, regretfully, true.

Now, being in Grade 9, using those spelling variations is at least somewhat acceptable, but I’m seeing so many of these spelling variations carried over into post-high school use. Luckily for us, Facebook comes with a spell-check function so you don’t look completely incompetent when you make a post because it lets you know what is spelled wrong. However, there is no grammar-check function for you on Facebook, nor can Microsoft Word’s grammar-check catch everything.

I recently took in two resumes while working at my place of employment. Naturally, I had a quick scan and to my dismay, even on their resumes, their requests for employment in a professional environment, I found at least two grammatical mistakes on each.

I don’t really know how to fix this to be honest. Perhaps we need reminding that the way you write and the way you talk are two separate things. Perhaps we need a few more grammar lessons in English in high school. Perhaps I need to become the infamous “Grammar Nazi”.

As I’ve said before, I generally correct the grammar and spelling I see on Facebook. My friend has warned me that if I keep this up I might become the “Typo Tyrant” (love this name). The argument here is that sometimes people just make typos. It’s not that they don’t know the word; it is that their finger just slipped. My argument is that they didn’t take the time to make one quick sweep over their comment before posting. If you see a red line under a word, chances are that it isn’t a word (unless you’re like me and use words such as: aa, qat, and dzo- all words essential to know for Bananagrams: the greatest game ever). Take the 5 seconds to right click (or Ctrl+click for you Mac users- I have a Mac-user friend who just recently saw the “Click-and-Drag-Highlighted-Text” ability of a PC and was blown away- you guys are so funny) and learn how to properly spell the word. Take it from me that essays take significantly less time to write when you know exactly which word to use and how to spell it.

I had another friend tell me to, “just let some things slide.” However, I think he misses the purpose of my corrections. They have a dual-purpose (threw that one in just for another friend- weird eh? Correct everyone’s grammar and I still have friends… for now…). The first is to, obviously, let the person know their mistake so they can learn from it and not make the same one again. The second, however, is to send a small message to people; a message that some people do care about grammar and are mildly irked by your blatant disregard for correctness. I get that it’s Facebook and after all who really cares about grammar on Facebook (Oh oh! Pick me! Pick me!!), but with the amount of time that the average teenager spends online compared to writing formally or for fun (God forbid someone write for fun!), I’d say that they are spending proportionally more time not using proper grammar than using proper grammar. I’m already seeing the detrimental effects of this worrying guesstimate.

So, once again, yes I will correct the grammar I see on Facebook because it will be a quick reminder of the way you’re supposed to write. I will also correct your typos so that, maybe, you’ll start proof-reading your messages.  I feel that the language has lost so much elegance over the years. However, maybe that is the way language is headed; just quick little snippets of information in short-form, used to convey the simplest of messages. Soon, “popping the question” will be simply, “WUMM?” with a simple reply of either “(Y)” or “(N).”

For now, however, long live the Typo Tyrant and all his subjects, who honour him when they mete out grammatical justice to those who tarnish what the Typo Tyrant and his subjects hold most dear: the sustentation of the abstruse pleasures of the English language.

Posted in Grammar, Language | Tagged , , | 1 Comment