Monday, 22 August 2011

I Less Than Three You

I, for one, am looking forward to the inevitable atheist wars as depicted by popular television show South Park. In my mind, it makes infinitely more sense to engage in a vicious conflict for lexicographical reasons than to fight over whose vision of a deity is the definitive one. After all, language is important – more so than belief in a mystical force whose best argument for existence is that you cannot disprove its existence. The reason for my being as wrathful as Travis Bickle in a brothel is due to the fact I was reading an article regarding some of the new ‘words’ added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Like many I regard the tome as an authority on the English Language; though apparently not as much as they do, the smug fucks. So like a murderer waking up secured to a table and witnessing a power tool wielding Dexter Morgan stood over them, I was horrified to discover that the following was being added to the dictionary - < 3

"This is just like 'Nam all over again."

At best that is a symbol or a character. Claiming it is a word is like rolling a man around the floor in a barbershop and then parading him around as the missing link. Firstly how do you even pronounce that? Would one say it as what it appears to resemble – a HEART? Or would we be expected to take it on a more literal basis and pronounce it as its components - lesser than three? It is settled then. In 2012, for a beautiful romantic Valentine’s Day message that appears to have been written by Isaac Asimov, you could tell your partner that you less than three them.

Obviously, I understand the need for language to evolve, I’m not a literary equivalent of an Alabama redneck brandishing a rifle at anyone who dares to suggest my favourite words evolved from a dirty primate of a word, and not a part of some intelligent design set in motion by a Word Wizard. But if the supposed ‘evolution’ of the language adds nothing but reasons for opening up the nuclear football, then it is more of a mutation or retrograding. Now I realise that I shall sound like Glenn Beck for stating such ludicrous tosh, but it vaguely resembles Newspeak: the idea of removing all shades of meaning from language to leave nothing but simple dichotomies is very 1984. Clearly that very notion is fantastical, but the idea of < 3 equalling language death does make sense; it serves no purpose beyond a very specific context, and cannot be used outside of that context the way any other word can. It is language at its most debased. And ultimately, what is the point of a word if it doesn't bring anything to the lexicon?

I also don’t agree with internet terms such as such as ‘LOL’, ‘BRB’ and ‘WTF’ being added to the dictionary. They are more at home in a colloquialism or slang database. The reason being is that they have limited application in the real world since they usually serve to portray human behaviour or emotion that cannot be displayed via text-based communications – therefore they have as much use as a grass-court specialist on a clay court. Some could serve as a quick explanation, such as WTF, but frankly if you are in the actual presence of another human being and have the desire to enquire about something you find shocking, blurting out WTF seems to be an inadequate way of achieving this. Which is why - in my humble view - they will never be little more than internet slang, tools vital for quick and easy communication on a medium where preventing a friend’s impending suicide may very well depend on your typing speed and resilience to carpal tunnel syndrome.

"I saved a friend's life and smashed a world record for typing out a 5,000-word speech. Worth it."

Though I admit that I do personally know someone who religiously uses such acronyms in his day to day speech, and do actually tolerate being seen with such a creature. Some of his inane utterances can almost be forgiven, but his usage of LOL/variant - an initialism for expressing laughter when texting or instant messaging - in a situation where he is physically capable of actually producing laughter, well that cannot be forgiven. I would rather spend the remainder of my natural life trapped in a Michael Cera simulation. Mind you, he does prefer the 2001 version of Planet of the Apes over the original, so that should have served as a glaring warning sign.

Some things are simply unforgivable...