I’m sure it’s the same everywhere. You enjoy being around the people you work with because they share the same interests as you. Lawyers talk about their cases, doctors talk about medicine and newspeople talk about the news.
Another reason I like talking with these people is they know how to speak. They know how to write. They know things like proper punctuation and construction of a sentence and being creative on the page. It may seem like something nondescript, but I definitely do not take it for granted. Why is that, you may ask? One word: Facebook.
Facebook has been a groundbreaking tool to connect across the globe, and it has allowed all of us to become our own personal news sources. Want to know where I am? Look on my Foursquare account. Want to know what I think? Read my blog post. Want to see my dinner? Look at the sepia-toned version of my chicken and asparagus on Instagram.
I could dovetail this topic and write about our narcissistic attitudes in light of the social media explosion — the way we are the suns in our own universes, believing that everyone else deserves to know what we think about every single daily item — but I would be a hypocrite. One of the great joys in my life is that fact that if I come up with a funny line or a somewhat profound observation while I am alone, I can instantly become a celebrity to my friends. And don’t think I don’t use that opportunity at every turn.
Why Facebook and its offshoots continuously bring me down results from one simple fact: No one knows how to write anymore.
For a while, I felt a bit superior, and not in a good way. Didn’t you always hate it when someone corrected your grammar? They usually did so in the most annoying, condescending manner, and I never wanted to be that person. But enough is enough. I seriously cannot take it anymore. I see people who are successful in their professional endeavors but who don’t realize that the plural of their family name, Smith for example, is not Smith’s. I now get more Christmas cards from people who cannot spell their own name than at any other time in my life.
Didn’t we all take English class? Wasn’t a day devoted to the differences between “there,” “their” and “they’re?” Or do we just not care? Have we decided that other things are more important than being able to communicate as sophisticated adults?
A recent tweet from a department of my alma mater made a small joke about the recent plight of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s troubles with allegedly collecting money for autographs. It read “Meet the players tomorrow. Student-athlete’s will not be seeking payments for their autographs.”
When I pointed out that an official tweet from a department of a university of higher learning should — you know — actually be grammatically correct, I was greeted with a fair amount of disdain from other alumni.
“It was funny. Who cares about the grammar?”
“Get off your high horse! It is no big deal.”
“Who are you? The grammar police?”
Yes. Yes, I am. And it proves that more people don’t care. They are concerned with learning their niches of the world, learning their industries, learning ways to make money, learning how to get ahead. Along the way, many people have not only forgotten how to write and communicate properly, they have also decided that it’s not important.
The new term sweeping the nation (maybe it’s not that new; I am not as hip as most) is “be like,” as in “Women be like” or “White people be like” or the even more sad and disturbing “N****** be like.”
I see it every day. It is said with a sense of pride, and on top of the massacre of the English language, it is a term used to stereotype certain groups of people. I’m as much a fan of political incorrectness as the next person, but stating that a certain group “be like” a certain derogatory adjective is teaching a whole new generation that 1) it doesn’t matter if you offend other races or sexes as long as you’re funny, and 2) it doesn’t matter if you can’t speak or write correctly because that’s no longer important.
Well, this editor be like ... not happy about that at all.
Ricky Duke is the editor of the Log cabin Democrat. Contact him at email@example.com