Stern and Price? Total dicks.
If you ever find yourself driving north on long stretches of dark Vermont highway, I can’t recommend Stephen Fry’s podcast strongly enough. Seriously: a cultured British baritone musing on the history and evolution of language pairs very well with hurtling through dropping temperatures and rising altitudes. You know. In case you were wondering.
So, right. Stephen Fry. While traveling northbound at speeds both illegal and unwise on I-89, we were listening to him outline a treatise on language, both its evolution and what can be considered “proper” usage (also transcribed to his blog, if you have a half hour to spare). It’s all fascinating, mind, but the bit I especially liked was his rather extended rant on linguistic pedants:
The free and happy use of words appears to be considered elitist or pretentious. Sadly, desperately sadly, the only people who seem to bother with language in public today bother with it in quite the wrong way. They write letters to broadcasters and newspapers in which they are rude and haughty about other people’s usage and in which they show off their own superior ‘knowledge’ of how language should be. I hate that, and I particularly hate the fact that so many of these pedants assume that I’m on their side. When asked to join in a “let’s persuade this supermarket chain to get rid of their ‘five items or less’ sign” I never join in. Yes, I am aware of the technical distinction between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’, and between ‘uninterested’ and ‘disinterested’ and ‘infer’ and ‘imply’, but none of these are of importance to me.
I am so one of the assholes he’s speaking of. Especially when it comes to blog “memes,” one of which was recently passed to me by the esteemed Aaron Mentele. Given that half of my blog entries seem to be equal parts awesome and inane, I realized that I have no reason to rock the elitism. Plus, if it’s not obvious, I could do with the excuse to write some shit down.
So with that, the eponymous Rules.
- Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
- Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
- Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
- Let them know they’ve been tagged.
- I am a former literature student approaching year ten of “taking a year or two off before grad school.”
- I belonged to an a cappella group in college—and for a year, frickin’ directed the thing. (And no, I’m not showing you the URL.)
- I once played a ten mile-long game of Frisbee golf with two close friends.
- I’d put Soul Coughing’s Ruby Vroom at the top of my “Best Album” and “Best First Track” lists.
- I worked as a church organist for a number of years. If you’re looking for a good way to break into atheism, kids, I’d highly recommend the gig.
- I have read Paradise Lost eight times. I wish I was kidding.
- The long-distance Frisbee golf friends, a half case of Jolt, and I once drove nine hours for a TMBG show, which ended after a half hour when some Mensan chucked a baseball at John Flansburg. Cue caffeine-fevered nine-hour drive home, roll credits, fade to black.
And there we are. So now, the people to which I would like to
transmit pass this along (who likely won’t respond, but you know their responses would be stellar):
- Jeffrey Zeldman
- Dan Cederholm
- Meagan Fisher
- Annie (of @shoesonwrong fame)
- Tim Waring
- Bronwyn Jones
- Greg Storey