Monday, February 20, 2006
Bush on Top
Bush is on top, and the grammar cops are out. No health care for the poor, no drug care for the elderly, no choice to the ladies. But sure as hell no comma splices, no run-on sentences. And fragments! Crucify Faulkner. Heaven forbid. Grammar matters. How else can we distinguish rote learners who believe in arbitrary standards from everybody else? Too many funny tongues out there not to detain them in rules. People speak Spanish and Arabic and German and Slavic. Grammar matters. Just look at those Appalachian folk, nestled in woods where banjos still duel. They speak the King’s English. All those double negatives of Shakespeare never went out of fashion. They maintained the standard. They don’t know no different. Hooray for Shakespeare! Give me my own tongue. 2006. Grammar books on The New York Times best-seller list. Check out the authors. Any of these books by persons of color? Who’s clamoring for the maintenance of the old guard? It just rubs me the wrong way when folks start bandying about rules of grammar. Sure (ly). Business letters need to be as clean of grammatical unconvention as possible. They’re directed to one of the most conservative elements in the United States of American: Business. An industry that works in cliché: judges everything by the cover. Not to sound like an anarchist but grammar is not organic: grammar is made by usage. So what if your English grandmother said “Give the cup to John and me” and you say “give it to John and I.” But like much in this predictable life, an emphasis on grammar in 2006 is not surprising. Grammar cops work in cahoots with Homeland Security.