Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Abbreviate This...

Reposted from YesButNoButYes

This rant brought to you by the letters "L," O," and "L." And, by the number 7.

The English language has been taking a Rocky Balboa-like beating for quite some time. Probably since the 1950's, vocabulary and spelling has suffered a rapid decline.

It's getting worse by the day.

Enemy numero uno? Text messages, instant messages, internet message boards and emails.

There is some irony here. Modern technology has made information damn near instantaneous. One can find almost anything in less than sixty seconds. Honestly, I don't remember how I functioned without the internet. How did I find driving directions? How did I find the name of that one film that Humphrey Bogart was in with that one guy? How did I find Pistol Pete Maravich's scoring average while he was at Louisiana State? (That was 44.2 points a game. If there was a three point line during his era, Pistol would have averaged about 57 points a game. Those stats were found in about thirty-three seconds.) All this technology and information at our fingertips should be making us smarter. Unfortunately, the sloppy spelling and awful web-speak abbreviations used on the internet and wireless devices move us in the other direction. We should be smarter, but the way I see it, the bastardization of the language makes it a wash. That's why we're not more intelligent. It's a push. We have twenty showing, but dammit, so does the dealer.

The curmudgeon in me rears his angry head when I see the silly text message abbreviations. (I have decided to name my inner curmudgeon Bertram. I blame him for most of this. Cranky old coot.)

Where my annoyance lies is the uses of "IMHO," "BTW," "LMAO" and the like. Why can't one write, "in my humble option?" Is it that difficult? That time consuming? What is the point of "pwned?" Was there a problem with, you know, "owned?" There are many more that I don't know what they mean. But I'll be damned if I'm going to look them up.

The biggest offender of them all is overplayed "LOL." That one makes me nuts. Mad as a hatter. I don't care if you text me the funniest line since Groucho Marx said, "The other day I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I don't know," even then, I will not type "LOL."

This has become a moral issue for me. It had to. By making the use of these abbreviations a moral decision, I have forced myself to draw a line between "right" and "wrong." The inherent laziness involved in the practice is offensive to me.

Uh oh, Bertram wants to say something. Hang on, I'm handing him the keyboard.

What the hell is the matter with all of you?!? You type "2" instead of "to?" That's ONE FREAKING LETTER!!! How much time are you really saving? A half second? "4" instead of "for," that's only two letters you cretins! Quit taking out the vowels and type a real sentence! Don't sub "ppl" for "people," people! Dammit all!

Man, sorry about that. Bertram is a little cantankerous at times.

The internet message boards are something that I steer clear of completely. Partly because of the anonymous threats that get tossed about. I'm not going to argue with those that sit behind the protective veil of invisibility that the web gives you. Yeah, you're real tough with your faceless sixth-grade insults made from the basement of your mum's house in Sheboygan. You're Kimbo Slice. The main reason, though, is the spelling is too depressing. I've seen "sentences" that I would need an Ovaltine Decoder Ring to understand what they are saying. If I cared about what they are saying.

My ire notches up even more when people start spelling words wrong ... on purpose. One of my buddies has a brother-in-law who sends out messages spelling "like" as "lyke." I haven't the foggiest idea why. It nearly gives me an aneurysm when I see it. I'm not sure how "kool" makes "cool" more cool.

Remember when certified lunatic Ron Artest was plugging his record label instead of playing basketball which he was being paid millions of dollars to do? That was fun. The label is called "Tru Warier." I think he means True Warrior. Pretty sure. Because if it's really "warier," I'm a little fuzzy how "to be watchful; being on one's guard against danger" makes much sense. "Check out my new label dog! Truly Careful and/or Cautious! The single is dropping soon! Gonna be off the hook!" Once Ronnie carved "Tru Warier" into his hair. Priceless. Don't think you can spell check a high-top fade.

I have a theory of where this nonsense started; Notes being passed and yearbooks being signed in junior high schools during the 1980's.

Occasionally I would get slipped a note from a girl named Jen or Amy or something at Illahee Junior High. Sometimes scrawled at the end of the note would be "S.S.S." Or; "Sorry So Sloppy." Once a girl left off the third "S" and all I saw was "S.S." I tore the note up, flushed it down the toilet and ran. Still not sure if Samantha Wilson was a Nazi. Better safe than sorry.

There was also the widely used "B.F.F." That acronym was more popular than Mike Seaver. Also used was "J/K." Oh, you were just joking, I see now.

Come on Bertram, not again...

If I read "b4" instead of "before" one more time, I'm going to chuck a dog at you! Let numbers be numbers! Putting a "Z" at the end of words doesn't not make the word hip! Putting "aw" on stead of "o" was bad enough, now I have to read about the "gurlzz" going out on the town! That doesn't make any sense! We have spelling and pronunciation rules here Skippy! Our country is going to hell in a hydroplane!!!

Okay, I slipped an Ambien into his Mountain Dew. That should hold him for a while. I'll finish this up before he comes to and starts screaming about how Alanis Morrisette's song Ironic doesn't actually contain situations that are ironic. That's bugged him since 1996.

There's no point in whinging about the dumbing down of American culture. It's a tired subject and it's not going to get any better. Unfortunately "reality" television - an oxymoron if there ever was one - Howard Stern and the tabloid rags probably aren't going anywhere. They're embedded like ticks. Somehow Lowest Common Denominator has become a valued demographic. Go figure...

snoopy on doghouse.jpg
Yes, our culture is tail-spinning into stupidity. Not even Snoopy could grab the stick and pull out of it. However, you can choose to rise above the muck. Change the channel when The "Real" World comes on. Don't buy a Star Magazine at your local grocer. Actually care about the quality of language in correspondence among friends and enemies.

My morality ploy of internet/chat acronyms may be ridiculous to some, but look at it as a potential baby step to a better society.

One that isn't dumber than a bag of wrenches.

Bertram will thank you for the effort.

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