Straight to the point

Hello. Remember me? I don’t blame you, which is the reason for the first of five precursory comments:

1 – Yes, I know it’s been nearly 11 months since my last post. I’d apologize, but I can’t imagine my lack of presence in your feed has been particularly painful to you. Moving on, though, I’m going to try to write more entries, soon. I hope.

2 – I usually try to be funny with my entries. Not so much with this one. It’s just me, waxing philosophical. Although I guess it qualifies as a rant, even if not as a funny one.

3 – This started with me visiting a political thread, but this post is not meant to be political. In the interest of full disclosure, I disagree with the comment I am about to quote — at least, inasmuch as I understand it — but I swear to you, that is not the reason for my rant. No, my reason is grammatical only, and I swear to you, if my idealogical freaking twin had written a passage in the same revolting lack of grammatical constructs, I would have reacted the same way.

4 – I do not know the person who posted what I’m about to quote. I did not engage with that person. I do not wish to make fun of that person. I see their quote only as an example. If they should ever happen upon this blog entry and recognize their own words, it will be by coincidence only, and they should realize I’ve done nothing to identify them; therefore, it would probably be in their best interest to let the matter drop, rather than identify themselves and bring on their own ridicule via pursuing the matter further.

5 – I am good friends with the person on whose Facebook page this quote appeared. In the interest of keeping her clear of guilt and free of blame, I did not tell her of my plan to copy and paste said quote. I hope she can forgive me, because I hope that third person realizes our mutual friend had nothing to do with this blog entry.

Okay, I think that about does it. So without further ado, I’m going to quote a comment from a Facebook thread about Kansas HB2453, which among other things, allows business-owners to refuse service or employment to gay people if doing so “would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” The owner of the Facebook profile in question, was against said bill. Multiple people shared opinions on the subject, and with the exception of the name “joe” (which I changed), one person wrote the following:

“to play devils advocate a little when did the rights of the straight people become secondary to those of the gays since we are talking about equality i am all for live and let live but if i disagree with how someone lives it does not make me a bigot we are so worried with making sure the minority gets theirs what about the middle class who is slowly shrinking can i get a bill for that or can i get my equal rights or do i just lay here and continue to take it and i agree with joe it is a Free country don’t like it don’t live there if you do then by all means live and let live means letting something you don’t like or agree with be what it will be”

Now, let me ask you — what the hell does that mean? Can someone diagram that sentence for me? No. No, you can’t, because it’s not a damned sentence! It’s a series of poorly written clauses, smushed together into one ghastly run-on jumble of words, paying no heed to the customarily accepted rules of grammar. How can anyone read this shit? It makes no sense!

Just for kicks, I checked out the Facebook page of the person who “wrote” that. Their other posts were similar — no capitalization nor punctuation. Why? Why must this be? Is it the inevitable result of texting? Or is it just epic laziness? (But I repeat myself.)

Regardless of the reason it exists, it shouldn’t. We must act quickly and decisively, squelching this behavior and demanding that its perpetrators learn basic grammar. If not, our very language stands to crumble apart.

Honestly, can you understand what that passage says? I mean, we all get the idea, but come on! If this type of writing continues to go unchecked, the English language will devolve into multiple, mutually incomprehensible dialects.

I’ve been on this soapbox before, and most people laugh it off as nonsense. But dammit, we have grammar for a reason. I’m not talking the differences between there, their, and they’re — yes, mistakes like that bother me, but I’m willing to overlook them if I can understand what the person means. In the case of the above quote, I understand nothing.

Seriously, I can’t tell what that person is saying, because I can’t tell where one “sentence” ends and another begins. I can’t even tell whether the person is asking a question, making an exclamation, or stating a fact. And this makes me wonder, does that person feel the same way when reading grammatically correct sentences? Do we have a failure to communicate here?

Laugh if you must, but do one thing for me first, if you will. Scroll back up to that dreadful quote, stand up, and clear your throat. (Okay, I realize those were three things, but they are all steps in the one thing — as is the following, the most vital of the steps.) Without previewing the quote, read it aloud. Go ahead, jump right in and just try to express the verbal nuances with your voice. I’ll wait.

Couldn’t do it, could you? Neither could I. Nor will I ever be able to. In fact, I bet its author wouldn’t be able to do it. Which is why we have to do something about it.

We owe it to ourselves and to our progeny, not to mention to our very language, to correct these linguistic atrocities with extreme prejudice. Correct them, educate those who would commit them, and do everything we can to reduce their chances of recidivism.

So say I, the guy who wouldn’t even engage with the person who wrote that shit, and who hoped that person would never stumble across this blog entry.

Okay, clearly, this is going to take some work. You first….

About Dan Bain

Dan is an award-winning humorist, features writer, emcee and entertainer from Raleigh, NC. His collection of humor essays, A Nay for Effort, has earned him fans from one end of his couch to the other. Why not join them and buy one? (You won't have to sit on his couch.) Dan will donate 10 percent of the book's proceeds to education. You can check it out at www.danbain.net; thanks!
This entry was posted in Education, Life and How to Live It, Politics, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Straight to the point

  1. That made my eyes bleed a little bit. (The quote, not your post…)

  2. vonzex says:

    Let’s not forget that his bloody post was jam-packed with platitudes. If you’re going to give a poorly constructed opinion, make damn well sure it’s original. Nothing was good about his post and your rage flows through me.

  3. Terri T. says:

    I’m on board with Jules… and my school teacher grandmother, just did a triple somersault in her grave.

  4. Peter Bourey says:

    OK Dan I understand your points and they are very well founded. I only have one negative comment about your post…you have a very expansive and impressive vocabulary and yet you use the word shit twice. That’s it. To your main point about taking the time to, at least, make an attempt at using proper grammar and punctuation I wholeheartedly agree!

  5. Cathy says:

    I could not agree more. Glad you are back to posting!

  6. My reaction to seeing you pop up in my post feed was akin to my reaction to Episode 1 of Season 2 of “House of Cards.” (I don’t want to say it flat-out in case you or any of your other readers are fans who haven’t seen it yet.)

    Now, I think you know what I’m going to say about the content of this post. That I loathe the laziness, deplore the carelessness and, yes, admittedly look down upon the small intellects of those who write in this manner needs no repetition. I can only add that I have often found that idiot opinions are frequently poorly written. My theory is that those who don’t care enough to think through an issue before forming an opinion on it similarlly don’t care enough to use proper English. (The Queen’s version would be fine.) Everything is about them and their perspective, and if they don’t think grammar is important, then it’s not.

    Then again… the Bible was originally written in ancient Hebrew with no spaces or punctuation.

    I’ll leave us all to ponder what THAT might mean.

    • Dan Bain says:

      Good to hear from you! Thanks for commenting, despite my long silence. I haven’t started watching House of Cards, but it’s on my list. That’s a fun fact to ponder regarding the original content of the Bible. I look forward to more feedback from you soon, which is sort of a commitment to start blogging again. :-)

  7. Shit. There’s a typo in that comment.

  8. Dan Bain says:

    That’s okay, because:
    1 – I didn’t see it; and,
    2 – There was one in my OP, as well.

    (shrugs)

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