It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my affectations had made me affectless.
I think this is one of my favorite ones ever. I really identify with double pointy-haired girl! I disavowed the grammar nazis, and before I knew it I’d almost completely stopped using fiction as entertainment. I do exercise a lot more, though.
I haven’t completed a book in a long time. I find that my trains of through go on increasingly tangential pathways as I progress, so that I can’t reach the end of the second page without having to put the book down for a while and wait for my mind to regroup. I’m not sure if this means I have a short attention span, or a rich inner life. Maybe those are the same thing.
I’m glad webcomics aren’t a universally accepted artform. They get to be Fringe. No one talks about a webcomic they like and expects to be taken seriously for it. It’s great.
Sorry Grrl, proper hygiene also “wasn’t even a concept until,” but I’m sticking to my guns on spelling and showers, both.
@DavidThomsen : You mean that the silence I get when I bust out my AU Cat/Nice Pete Femslash isn’t reverential?
I still try to sling to proper spelling of things, though I’ve stopped even trying to correct other people unless that spelling could cause a disaster.
I do a lot of work with HTML and CSS, where spelling something wrong can create an extra half hour of work, so maybe it’s my inner coder reminding me that one wrong letter means half an hour finding it.
I still do read. But I have to stop every few pages and wrestle my mind off its latest tangent. I have a very bad attention span for anything other than coding and thinking.
As someone who has little sympathy for the concept of proper spelling, I still can’t help but think that the next time I hear someone about their short attention span I will punch them in the mouth until they die.
That should read “someone BRAG about their short attention span.” I apologize for the lack of clarity in my communication.
The concept of proper spelling is heavily tied in with the concept of proper meaning. Words like police and polite have the same origin in the Latin, thus similar connotations. This stuff is important, despite the fact that we’ve become a society that prides itself on its flaws. Your ignorance in grammar and spelling as well as your short attention spans are not points of pride. We keep going full circle and acting like we’re original. Maybe it’s because people don’t know history like they should. I don’t know. But there was a movement for phonetical spelling around the turn of the 20th century, which was thoroughly crushed by those with common sense.
I haven’t completed a book in a long time.
my trains go on increasingly tangential pathways
and wait for my mind to regroup
universally accepted. They get to be Fringe.
in the mouth until they die.
with the concept of proper meaning
acting like we’re original
thoroughly crushed by those with common sense
Thank you DT, J and J.
it’s the high school english teacher signing in again.
while i am not fanatic about spelling, the basic concept is simple: consistent spelling leads to consistent understanding. it’s one thing to recognize that we all have flaws; it’s another to lionize them above common sense. people who tell me that spelling isn’t important are essentially saying that communication isn’t important. and why, if we’re going to be misanthropic, do we need to dance around it? just say it: i don’t want people to understand me.
and also, i believe i misspelled ‘consistent.’
and also also, i love that little found poem, especially the “Fringe in my mouth until they die.” visceral!
I both weep and rejoice that something as silly as billboard advertisement has a place in our literary culture. It’s the same feeling I get from email subject lines. It’s like a convergence of language, commerce, and bodily functions. A semantic enclave devoted to hawking beer and legal advice and big, floppy tits.
Literacy is totally bourgeois. But that doesn’t depreciate just how wonderful the abilities of reading and writing are. We are all a testament to that. Promoting literacy promotes liberation.
That said, spelling errors in writing I don’t mind. Grammar errors in writing, however, indicate a lack of understanding of the meaning of those words.
Says the person who just chained three prepositional phrases. That’s, like, almost a bad grammar tetris.
if spelling really was tied to meaning that much, how come words were spoken and distinguishable before their spelling was fixed? spelling seems to be pretty arbitrary to me.
that being said, i agree that consistency helps understanding. perhaps some or many languages could do with spelling reforms to remove the inconsistencies.
I think any “movement for phonetical spelling” would be crushed for the same reason the movement to switch to the metric system has always been crushed. Changing any system involves significant short-term chaos, and we just don’t have the will to go through all that.
Besides– we have an entrenched educated class to protect! If you’re born in the inner city and go to a bad school and your parents don’t use proper grammar… sorry, we’re going to pretend we don’t understand what the hell you’re saying, because you’re not communicating in compliance with our traditional rules. Good luck being born into a higher class next time!
Nope. We tried that “movement for phonetic spelling” thing once and it was called Middle English and it friggin’ blew. There’s a reason why English spelling became detached from the phonetics nearly 700 years ago. I mean, the Latin alphabet doesn’t even contain adequate phonemes for English (it’s a weirdly reduced version of Anglo-Saxon futhorc), and once you start to read things everywhere it becomes pretty much ideographic. There’s a reason increased literacy, state size, and ideographic writing go hand in hand: so everybody can communicate good.
For a long time I felt that my lack of ability to finish a book was a point of shame. That I was failing, or letting society down, or whatever.
A few years ago I noticed that being unable to finish a book had failed to impair my intellect or knowledge in any way. Somehow popular wisdom that my cognitive ability should decline had not held true. I still get new ideas from places like New Scientist and and the internet and general observation of the world around me.
Now I like to challenge people’s assumtions by telling them that I haven’t read a book in five years, that I’ve tried very hard to but haven’t been able to focus for that long. Occasionally I get pity, occasionally contempt, occasionally a threat to punch me in the mouth until I die… and then there are some people who recognise this as the basis for a whole host of interesting discussions. Like, why would someone threaten to punch you in the mouth until you die just because you’re open about being unable to read books?
For the record, I’m not bragging… and it’s interesting that you should perceive it that way. It’s like bragging about being unable to eat chocolate when you really love the taste.
Ugh… I come across as a troll. Threatening to punch someone in the mouth is much more direct.
The second row of panels is exactly what I’ve been trying to tell people for the past few years.
“It’s a very poor mind indeed that can only think of one way to spell a word” — Zachary Taylor
True. The poor speller thinks of one, and uses it. The good speller thinks of two or more, and *chooses.*
I suspect that words did phonetically match their spelling when they were first created, but time and regional differences have caused the written and verbal forms to diverge. Plus if we spelled phonetically we would all be eating ‘sammiches’
lol… fiction really is a middle class affliction…
This is Book Club.
The first rule of Book Club is we don’t talk about books at Book Club.
David: The fury, it comes from the fact that I deal with writers, many of whom brag about how they refuse to read any books other than their own. You don’t deserve that fury.
The contempt, yeah, you deserve. Humans do not learn well or thoroughly by cultural osmosis, and for those of us who’ve read the books from which cultural buzzphrases like “authenticity” come, it is irresponsible to tolerate the half-assed, shallow form of cultural education that comes with… well, with faking it.
THOUGHTS happen to you, as a sentient organism. THINKING is an active process, one that cannot occur with a short attention span. I interpret your words as “bragging” because I know that attention spans can be cultivated and refined. It’s like when I say, “oh, I’m so out of shape!” Since I do not have a disability that would prevent me from getting into shape, I’m really bragging that I think too much of my indoor activities to bother with proper physical exercise. You think too much of your thoughts to learn the art of thinking.
Scott: You put that amazingly especial beautiful-hot.
Oh, blah blah blah. What the fuck do I care. I like “fringe in my mouth until they die” and believe idkrash should canonize it.
I’d have thought Grrl would care emphatically about proper spelling just to play up the irony of her bastardized name. Don’t hip people care about actual irony any more? Or is it just that it’s meta-ironic to only celebrate fake irony?
ahem, “the mouth”. it is a universal mouth.
By the way, I find it *REALLY* confusing when Girl and Grrl switch places like they do in the second row.
“the mouth”, my apologies. caught that immediately but didn’t do anything about it. apathy, thy name is fringe in the mouth. :)
Great things come from misreadings.
The Fisher King reference?
I can see spelling and grammar as points of contention (although, try to read anything written in middle-english phonetic spelling and see if it doesn’t take three times longer), but why is fiction getting dished as bourgeois? Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater: since the invention of brains, every part of society has had its form of fiction, be it legends, folk tales, or even jokes and ballads. I could see Grrl arguing that novels are middle class affectations, but even those bilboards contain a bit of fiction (“drink our beer and ladies will want to make love to you!!”).
That being said, Grrl’s book club sounds like an awesome way to spend an evening.
it gets old. rather quickly sometimes.
or like spraying yourself with some disgusting aerosol deodorant..
The first rule of Book Club is, you do not talk about book club.
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