Time for Change in which You Can Believe

…and better grammar.  I can say that I’m college educated, but barely.  I can however recognize that words mean things.  I’ve learned orders of magnitude more about language and writing from reading things outside of academe than inside, yet I can’t claim to be literate in the way that a person considered literate in 1900 would be literate.

The use of the double “is” has become a disease, and has infected all parts of society.  I wonder if the CDC has been looking into it, but then I realize that their job is to get money.  The double “is” has become so common that it now has its own contraction among the smart people– “The thing is’s…that…the sky is blue.”  That’s three applications of “is” when one would have done better, yet we have people with advanced degrees, those with careers in journalism, and holders of public office saying crap like that.  I wonder when journalists and commentators will start typing “is’s”.  I suppose it’ll be a while before Bill Gates puts “is’s” into the word processor spelling dictionaries, and I figure most journalists haven’t figured out how to put it in themselves, so we may overcome this virus without “is’s” becoming “proper English”.  It could just as well be, “The thing is; the sky is blue” but even that is silly.  How about, “The sky is blue”?  It takes less energy, it actually means something, it requires thinking for a millisecond or two before you speak, and I won’t walk away thinking you beneath my 1.5 years of trade school.

Still I see horrible misuse of the language.  We can stop, right here and now, using the term “liberal” to describe an ideology that isn’t.  Really.  It isn’t difficult.  Other people may misuse and torture the language, but you aren’t held to their standards.  I’m a liberal.  I can say it and mean it without permission from those incapable of telling the truth.  Referring to a statist/socialist as “liberal” is to embrace a lie.  We can stop that right now.  These things matter.  You’ll find yourself thinking more clearly, with only a few little adjustments like that.  It is a Change in which You Can Believe.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going home, hopeful that I might have gay intercourse over the dinner table with my family.  I might pick up some faggots along the way though.  See?  Things that were written not long ago (as recent as my grandparents’ time) have had their meanings corroded.  Our Constitution is one of them.

4 thoughts on “Time for Change in which You Can Believe

  1. There is also the gratuitous use of the apostrophe before a plural “s”, the phrase “begging the question” used in the sense of calling for a question to be asked, the use of what Strunk and White referred to as “needless words”, such as “used for fuel purposes” instead of “used for fuel”.
    There are also phrases condemned by my composition instructors as “throat-clearing” that can be removed with no harm but I cannot think of examples right now.

    Do they even include “Elements of Style” on the list of recommended reading for college students anymore?

  2. Oh, and re: “gay”? in 1972 in High School German we learned a story that made reference to “eine lustige Partei, which was translated as a gay party, which gave rise to embarassed laughter and the teacher’s comment on idomatic word usage and it being a perfectly good word.
    I notice that today Babelfish translates “lustige” as “merry”, and gay as “homosexuelle”.

  3. Hmm…that’s queer – I didn’t know that “gay” had so completely lost its meaning so early. I figured it wasn’t until the late ’70s.

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