Thursday, July 16, 2009

Smart People

I read an article the other day about the concerns of proper grammar usage and spelling in everyday life in relation to texting. The main theme of the article was sort of rhetorical, but did pose the question of whether or not we, society in general, were becoming stupider more stupid due to the frequency in which we use slang, acronyms, abbreviations, and phonetics to communicate through text messaging.

The author of the article interviewed a few experts, one being in language and communication, who ultimately believed that our intelligence would go on unaffected and that the proficiency of our written and spoken language would not be ill fated. [using a pretentious British accent] I, however, vehemently disagree with that assessment. As a matter of fact, I think that stupidity has become pandemic and the ever growing popularity of hip techno devices is eventually going to create generations of dimwitted morons. Uh, did I say eventually?

Look, I like texting for a myriad of reasons (it's more challenging to drive that way) Mainly, because making a phone call requires very specific protocols, which ultimately take up valuable time. Customary salutation, determining if current moment is appropriate to continue verbal communication or if another time would be preferred, transfer of meaningless data, polite responses, possible awkward silences, promises and/or excuses, exit strategy, and termination of transmission.

Now, since time is such a precious commodity and because I am such a thoughtful person, I figure it's faster (and more polite) to just send someone a text. This process is even more poignant if all you have is a quick question, or are unable to talk. This way, the person can determine the importance of the correspondence, and respond accordingly, or as time permits. Furthermore, I like to be even more efficient, by shortening words,and leaving out some punctuations. Otherwise, if I have to spend too much time texting, it becomes self defeating.

Being that this is the case, my two most aggravating pet peeves as of late, are people who despise improper grammar in text messages and people who speak as though they are text messaging. To address the former, as long as you are intelligent enough to understand what I am texting you, then the process through which I send the information is irrelevant. If I shorten words or leave them out entirely, I'm doing so for the sake of time, not because I can't spell. God forbid you have to use your brain for a moment.

The latter is much more frustrating because once this form of communication has infected your speech, it's quite difficult to overcome. For instance, I don't mind when my sister texts me a word like "whatevs", "latr", or "cuz". However, what I can't stand is when people start chopping words in half or fusing words together whilst speaking. One of my friends does this so incessantly that if you were eavesdropping you would think he was a "motard". (moron + retard = motard) See how that works? Yeah, I think it's stupid too. He'll say things like, "Damn she's hidi!" As if adding a third syllable would expend too much energy. Dude, you're 40 years old, don't be an idiot.

Many people see this as a process of social evolution, where I think it's more indicative of a nation that will continue to lose its competitive potential in the global market. We are breeding fatter and dumber offspring and people think this isn't a problem. Most European kids speak multiple languages, are well traveled, and know where Papua New Guinea is on a map. I bet if you ask an American kid, he'd probably think Papua New Guinea is a rapper. Damn shame.


Fleas said...

In my teenager, I have noticed that texting has improved communication between kids, however, once the cell was taken away during a punishment, communication shut down, as if she could no longer pick up the land line or verbalize face to face. It was sad. She started IMing on her laptop as a final nonverbal outlet.

Mr. Poopie said...

Fleas - prime example, although Sam is really smart. I can only imagine such ramifications on a lesser human child. Just the tip of the iceberg!

Amy xxoo said...

I agree Mr Poopie.

I'm happy to use abbreviations when "txt "-ing ( ha, see what i did there ? )but it really irks me when people start abbreviating their speech out of sheer laziness. Or worse, just because they think its cool. MY younger sister was in the habit a while ago of saying P-L-Z instead of saying " Please". Eg:

" Hey Amy, could you drive me to the mall PLZ ? " Grrr.

Mr. Poopie said...

Amy - love it when you call me Mr. Poopie! Makes me all tingly . . . lol.