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  • Saturday, January 31, 2004

    Stupid People Using Improper English Piss Me Off!

    I am an English teacher. I sit here pondering what to write about in today's blog and my thoughts are invaded by stupid people throughout the world. All I can think about is the amount of stupid people versus smart people and why that is so. Unfortunately, the smart people are severely outnumbered.

    Think about how many people you see each day misspelling easy words, speaking in slang on a regular basis, or writing incomplete sentences. I wonder why my students are plagued by the urge to molest the English language. I've come to the conclusion that society is to blame.

    Pick up your newspaper and the front page will have sentence fragments everywhere. Look at the names of music artists. Apparently, it's cool to spell your name phonetically. Listen to their lyrics. Everything is about what or whom they're "finna" be doing, what "beeyatch" their going to screw over, or how many white cops they can kill in one song.

    Some music artists tout their squeaky- clean images until they realize that squeaky-clean doesn't sell albums. They kill someone, lose their virginity, fuck their boyfriend's best friend or sister(!), and masturbate all in the same song. I don't remember music encouraging me, as a teen, to break the law, like it does today.

    Teachers are abandoning the sanctity of the English language in order to find common ground with their students. Magazine ads and commercials use sentence fragments to make their point quickly, hoping it will be be a hook, line, and sinker for their product. Even the President doesn't speak correct English. Textbooks have errors that only a trained eye can catch, but they still have errors. Does anyone proofread anymore?

    The most fundamental form of communication is through language. There are proper ways to relate your thoughts. Language is what sets human beings apart from the animals. Why has it become cool to abuse what makes us the superior animal? If we abuse our own language, are we no better than an animal who doesn't know how to communicate?

    Society encourages youths to speak and act "ghetto." Advertisements, pop and rap lyrics, as well as the names of various music artists ("Linkin" Park) and some professional athletes ("Anfernee"=Anthony) glorify it. Since when was it ever cool to be in or from the ghetto? Who is born in this world asking for poverty? (Don't even get me started on hygeine matters.)

    Did it all start with "Ya Mo Be There," or was it sooner, when be-bopping and do-ra-ra-ing took the place of lyrics? Would Chaucer or Shakespeare ever understand? I realize that language evolves, changing daily. New words are added every day, but must the old ones be made easier for the commoners to understand? (Hint: dilemma=dilemna, through=thru, Christmas=Xmas, etc.)

    As an English teacher, I am forced to compete daily against what society tells my students. Have you ever tried to sell a car to someone without a license? Picture the English language as the car and the license as the right way to speak. If you never need a car, what are the odds you're actually going to get a license? You have the bus and that's fine with you. Now think about how much fun you can have on the bus with your friends (young teenage attitude). Now think about how many dates you'll get when they find out you take the bus (older teenage attitude). Now think about the person who drives a beater because they don't have the discipline to save for a better car (adult attitude). If the English language is the car in these situations, then the world is screwed. There are too many people who are just too lazy to speak and write correctly. In fact, there's so many of them, they've outnumbered those of us who make it a point to be articulate. They've taken over Hollywood, professional and college sports, the music and advertising industry, and now they're conquering young minds.

    How long will it take before "finna" gets into the dictionary? "Bootylicious" is in there; thank you very much, Beyonce. By the way, what the hell kind of name is Beyonce?

    Am I showing my age yet? Yep, you got it. I'm the ripe old age of 32. I take great pride in being able to express myself through the written word and oral language. I understand how infants acquire language and learn how to communicate. Why is it so hard for me to understand why society purposely does everything it can to damage this critical process throughout a person's life?

    Freedom of expression is one thing. Raping the English language is another. The latter should be a punishable offense, but there aren't enough prisons nor are they ever going to be big enough to house the masses of scofflaws. We'd have to put them in barns.

    The English language is obviously precious to me. It is what separates me from the rest of the animals. It puts food on my table, a roof over my head, and gives me that warm, runny feeling you get when you know you're right.

    There is no better feeling than knowing that you can and do say what you mean and mean what you say. Do I sound superior? That's because I am. If you're smart, you won't be offended; you'll agree with me.

    *Copyright by Amy M. Steier, 2004