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….