Today is Friday, December 19, 2014

Goes Without Saying So Dont

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By ANNE DONNELL

What are some examples of the newest, poorest language? You seem to have an opinion on everything, so I thought you’d probably have such a list handy! Thanks, and Happy New Year-Local Lovely 

Happy New Year to you, too. No, I haven’t composed the list you describe. I go from TV commercial to TV commercial in a kind of rage at newly coined language abuse. I stumble through local stores overhearing loud cell phone users speaking vulgarly and butchering the rest of it. Hey, goes with out saying? I wish those conversations did.

Well, I’m rather accustomed to terrible usage. To paraphrase a great song from My Fair Lady, a song which starts out with Henry Higgins saying D--- three times, something from which I’ll refrain for now, I’ve grown accustomed to misuse/ It almost makes the day begin/ I’ve grown accustomed to disdain/ The incorrect verbs like “come” for “came”/ The “ain’t’s,” the “he done’s”/The “me and her’s,” the “them ones’”/ Are second nature to me now/ Though for every one I wish I had a dime/I was extremely pleased with myself and correct before we met/Surely you can stop the garbled words any time, and yet/I’ve grown accustomed to your verbs, accustomed to your punctuation, /Accustomed to misuse. 

Imperfect, but from the heart!

[ATA – (According to Anne) – Alan Jay Lerner (American, 1918-1986) wrote the book and lyrics and Frederick Loewe (German/American, born in Vienna, 1901-1988) wrote the music for My Fair Lady, one of the high moments in American musical theater. The play was first produced in 1956 on Broadway, and later became a movie in 1964. It describes Professor Henry Higgins’s project: to take a Cockney flower seller and pass her off as high society by changing her speech (and a few mannerisms). It’s based on George Bernard Shaw’s (Irish playwright 1856-1950) 1912 play Pygmalion. Pygmalion is a figure from mythology whose story was most familiarly told by Ovid (Roman poet, 43 BC- 17 or 18 AD) in Metamorphoses, an epic poem about change. Pygmalion, a sculptor, falls in love with a statue he’s created. Venus, goddess of love, takes pity on Pygmalion and brings the statue to life. Well, that’s an education in a paragraph!]

So, some of the words and phrases I don’t like (in addition to the simply incorrect like “he don’t”) 1. play phone tag 2. the bottom line 3. 24/7 4. been there, done that  5. closure 6. have a good one  7. thinking outside the box 8. killer abs 9. you’re good to go 10. level playing field 11. from the git-go  12. at the end of the day 13. you know, like, uh, you know 14. know what I’m saying (alternate form know what I mean) 15. awesome  16. dude  17. man up 18. gonna

Without these drug dealers in movies and teenagers in town would be mute. And some of the rest of us.

The problem is we’re such sheep we begin using the gestures of, speaking in the vernacular of, whom we’ve identified as the cool people. (Should cool be on the above list?) Think about some of those “cool” ones and what they’ve been up to. Examples: David Letterman, Tiger Woods. 

As to what those two have been up to, I didn’t hear the voice(s) of religion and morality offering too much here. I wonder what profound underlying cultural structure has shifted so much that we’re not too interested in condemning adultery, immorality, cheating, deceit, but we admire deeply the paychecks brought in by our “heroes” and worry, along with the media, if their being caught could damage their bank balances. Maybe a new year should bring some examination of our values. And some change.

BW (Bigtime Word) hegemony – domination, influence, authority over others. That would be cool and awesome to have, uh, you know, 24/7, know what I mean? Have a good one, dude.   

 

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