Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Let's Have an Intelligent Discussion About Grammar Policing on the Internet

Ironically, I have yet to see a genuine expert in the English language engaging in the policing commonly carried out by those often referred to as "grammar nazis" (see: the definition at UrbanDictionary.com ) on the internet. If a person takes even a few courses in linguistics, they can't avoid the fact that without the violation of supposed "rules of grammar" man can not create poetry. It is the violation of grammatical "rules" that transforms words into art.

Of course, every generation has its share of folks who would dismiss any form of art that is not easily understood within a narrow framework. Dadaism, impressionism, and surrealism (along with many others) all faced the same kind of criticism. Poohbahs derided them all, in the beginning. Then, when the "right sort of people" began to praise it and join in, the poohbahs inevitably jumped on the bandwagon and tried to pass themselves off as expert advocates of it.

This isn't something that one only witnesses in the world of graphic arts. It's just as common in the literary world. How many people here would say that a limerick lacks artistic value? How many would claim that a haiku can't be beautiful or worth pondering? When they are the most creative, neither haikus nor limericks are easy to understand at first glance. That is what makes them art!

I always feel sad when I meet people who can only find beauty in that which is familiar to them. Some of the most exquisite joys I've ever experienced came when I let go of my preconceived notions and embraced something outside of the ordinary and the mundane.

I recently read some articles about how many schools have decided to forgo the teaching of cursive handwriting. It's pretty apparent that there won't be much use for it in the future. In a world that is increasingly digital and tends to value speed more than format, it isn't hard to understand why text-speak has become so common that even reluctant folks (e.g. me) are gradually coming to grips with the fact that complaining about it won't make it go away.

I've never been an early adopter, but I'm still too young and sexy to allow myself to go the way of the dodo bird just because I refused to figure out how to roll with the punches. LOL

1 comment:

Rootietoot said...

well, I will admit that textspeak annoys the hell out of me, but that's the curmudgeon talking. I refuse to use it, but have quit grinding my teeth when I receive a text from someone who does, because it was going to result in dentures if I didn't stop.