Diana Dares

Foiling Chicanery with Boundless Intelligence, Fashionable Outfits, Moxie, and One Sporty Blue Roadster.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

...And the Artificial Amateurs (Who) Aren't At All Amazing

Okay, there comes a time in everyone's life when the gauntlet is thrown down, and one is presented with a situation that challenges a person's most dearly held beliefs, and it is what we do in those moments that truly define our characters.

In my case, this moment came as I was picking up lunch at my lovely neighborhood Mexican eatery, Baja Fresh.

I freaking kid you not, they have posted signs (NOT signage, as I am sure the management called them) encouraging me to "bling out my burrito". By which they mean add cheese and enchilada sauce.


Look, there are grammar Nazis and there are grammar Nazis, and I've sort of fancied myself the cool Mom of grammar Nazis -- I'll let the kids have wine coolers in the basement and the other g.N.s may disapprove, but I'm younger and hipper and I can't be on the kids' backs all the time. I'll bristle at the ubiquitous implied/inferred mix-up*, sure, but I'll try to mention it in a non-1950's-angry-librarian-with-too-many-cats kind of way.

It's taken a lot of work on my part to become less g.N. about the whole thing. I've struggled to control my full-body shudders at "borrow me a quarter?" requests so as not to come off as a ridiculous snob. And while I disagree with the logic that somehow a love for language and a respect for its rules can brand you as a snob (LEND, it's LEND, how hard is that??), the pragmatist in me has, over time, caved and realized that it wasn't worth hurting and annoying friends and acquaintances over such relatively small matters. So if it was something that didn't absolutely make my skin crawl, I have tried to live with it, without going so far as to succumb to it.

Yet while I am not going to correct people's mistakes in a condescending manner in public, passive aggressively apologizing in a "I'm sorry, I'm just one of those people who really cares about using words correctly" way that makes everyone just want to slap you (and rightfully so), I still try to fight the good fight and counteract my superficial surrender in other ways. I purposely frequent grocery stores with "10 items or fewer" signs above their express lanes. Granted, they're all Whole Foods stores, and I can usually only afford one thing there, but someday, I shall do all my shopping there, despite my hatred of all things tofuian and boboed, simply because of their signs. And years after even Mr. Webster capitulated and the bad guys have won, I still refuse to use "impact" as a verb. Just because some idiot corporate-speak middle manager couldn't recall the word "affect" for his TPS report does not mean that I have to imitate such behavior. And just because people have a problem understanding the difference between affect/effect does not mean that the word(s) should be blamed, or that "impact" should be made into a verb. The lowest common denominators among us should not make the rules! They shouldn't!

Now an argument against grammar Nazi-ism is that language is dynamic, and as a lover of language, one should embrace and celebrate new words and new uses of language when they emerge naturally in people's day-to-day speaking and communicating. I concur heartily...provided that the key word -- "naturally" -- applies. From the New Orleans idiom of "yamammanddem" in place of "everyone" (as in "How's yamammanddem doin'?"), or the "going postal" and "total Monet" that Cher and Amy Heckerling gave us to the izzling that Snoop popularized, new words, phrases, meanings, idioms and uses enrich the language. And I do celebrate that. One of the most satisfying elements of (good) hip-hop is its joyful use of language. Ludacris brought puns back, which is waaaaaay harder than bringing sexy back. (Justin.) Remember that overly complicated, somewhat belabored Elizabethan wordplay running through Shakespeare's scripts that teachers assured us the audiences of the time found funny? I remain doubtful, but I will concede that it's a lot more enjoyable with a good track behind it.

But a shameless attempt by a corporation to coopt a slang word (long after its sell-by date, which only heightens the stupidity of it) in an attempt to sling its product is just gross and vexing.

Blinging =/= adding cheese and enchilada sauce. I **hate** the marketing person who came up with this idea so much. Like, want to fnd them so I punch them hard in the face and neck hate. Haaaaaaaatttte.

*most gallingly occuring two weeks back in our writers' room by someone being paid six figures for their ability with the English language. sigh.


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