Last year, I scored a in a very high percentile on the verbal section of the Graduate Record Exam, a test taken only by serious applicants to American graduate schools. My score was higher than most students who will go on to become English professors, journalists, top-notch editors, and often-published academics. I say this not to boast, but rather as an example of how absolutely screwed we are when it comes to using English properly. For, you see, I can barely spell my name right (hence the initials). Sometimes I make mistakes in basic grammar and punctuation, too. My point is this: I’m horrible, and I’m confidant nine out of ten people are significantly worse.
Given that, I have come to two related conclusions about language skills. First, they’re harder to obtain and maintain than most of us would initially believe. Second, in the modern world, it’s pointless for us to take the time necessary to even get half our population to truly respectable language skills. Therefore, I propose that we do away with language and return to a system of caveman-like grunting, moaning, pointing, and facial expressions.
Let’s face the facts, the language ship is sinking and there’s no way we’re going to rescue it. Changing this world’s language habits would involve an overhaul of which no media company’s shareholders want any part. If we want our people to use proper English, it isn’t enough for our schools to mercilessly attack the problem. This, of course, would be objected to by teacher’s unions, political action groups, and others whose agendas come before educating our children, but worse, it would do no good. For every hour a child learns the proper uses of “irony” in an English class, they are flooded by hundreds of improper uses in the media or online or by friends and neighbors. Same goes with the thousands of other possible and common errors seen on a daily basis (we could go a hundred years and the average high school graduate still would have no clue when to use a semicolon). In fact, there are probably quite a few grammatical and usage errors in this article, but, as the abstract says, I’m too lazy to correct them, or maybe I’m just doing it to be ironic.
Either way, every necessary piece of communication to be a well-adjusted human being can be expressed through nonverbal noises and gestures. The cavemen, did it, after all. And if we did away with language, throwing away our computers and our books and our newspapers, communication would be simple. The murder rate would probably go up, but on the plus side, we wouldn’t have to deal with misspellings and all-too-common abuses of Dr. English like “their going to they’re party.”
Just think of the possibilities for a communication based on grunts and moans! For one thing, lame pick up lines would be no more. Instead of a guy walking up to a gal in a bar and trying to sweet-talk her into the bedroom for two hours, he would just wink, grunt suggestively, and point to the bulge in his pants. At that point, the woman the woman could either laugh or investigate the matter further, and time is saved. Guys would also never have to “talk about our relationship.” Instead of reading you a laundry list of supposed “rights,” the police officer could just cut to the chase and beat you over the head like you deserve.
And here’s the kicker: no more Rosie O’Donnell, no more Rush Limbaugh, no more anyone who talks more than they should. I’ll admit I like some people in the entertainment world, but if all they do is grunt, there’s no real value. For as much value as language and talking seem to have, there are also a number of drawbacks.
This brings me to my next point. If any of our basic and necessary desires can be met through pointing, grabbing, moaning, and using facial gestures, why did we ever talk in the first place? Linguistic anthropologists tell us that talking was a breakthrough in human evolution that caused a variety of technological improvements, but they chose to study linguistic anthropology, so what the hell do they know? Do you know who requires language? Philosophers and writers. Try as you might, you cannot spell out Aristotle without using language. Linguistics are the only reason Nietzsche and Strindberg and Rimbaud and Tolstoy exist and have importance to us today. Then do you know what my answer to why we have language is? Smart people invented language to make the stupid people feel stupid. Language only exists for the highly intelligent to prove they have worth. This, of course, explains why our language has so many ridiculous rules, such as “i before e, except after c, unless dealing with a situation where the word in question is spelt like ‘weigh.'” A moron would not come up with such needlessly complex structures. Only a bright person would do something so dumb, and it’s time we stopped them.
So when Suzanne Donahue writes that we should take the time to learn and use proper English, I scoff with a growl and give in an animalistic thumbs-down. She claims that no one wants to use a dictionary anymore, but I have news for her: dictionaries are a gimmick produced and maintained by brilliant people who don’t really want to do any work. They want to market them to inane people on the fallacy that we should all spell properly. It’s time we stop the shenanigans and start grunting again! Let “brok brok brok” mean “I had a really rough at work” again! “Ghraaaaaa” is the new way of saying “My God, her dress looks like a tie-dyed rag that crawled out of 1971!” And if you want to buy something at a store, just flash some cash and point at what you want. Heck, I had a pyschology graduate student tell me once that nonverbal communication is really what fuels success in the world anyway, so why do we still bother with spouting endless hours of bull and asinine literature and arguments and telling people how we sort-of feel but not exactly?
So we just need to give up! There’s nothing in this world worth having that can’t be had with a wink or a nod or a smile or a moan or furrowed brow. Stop talking and start gesturing, because the lazy, idiotic slobs of the world must end this silly language game now! Death to English! Pull its life support plug with a loud, triumphant roar like that ape in 2001: A Space Odyssey!
This makes me wonder, though…why am I writing this, and why are you reading it?